Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Underway at last

I left the UK in the late hours of Saturday night (28th) on the RRS (Royal Research Ship) Ernest Shackleton. It is one of two ships operated by BAS (British Antarctic Survey) and is used mainly to transport cargo down South. Apart from the crew of 23, there are a further 10 passengers, of whom 4 are going only as far as Vigo (Northern Spain) our first stop. The plan is to trial some science equipment in the Bay of Biscay, hence the early stop.

RRS Ernest Shackleton

See the link left for more info about the Shackleton and our current position.

As we slipped down the Humber in the middle of the night though I have to admit I am going to miss the UK along with family and friends, given that it is a year tomorrow since the job interview, it is great to be finally underway. The Antarctic is still a couple of months away however and we are will not arrive at Halley around late December, giving me plenty of time on the ship. She has a reputation as a 'Vomit Comet' due to her movement; I have never been seasick and have no intention of changing!

The other BAS ship, RRS James Clark Ross, left around two months ago and is carrying out science cruises in the South Atlantic. Winter sea ice in the Weddell Sea (the area around Halley Bay) precludes an earlier departure for the Shackleton. Most of the Halley team, for both the winter and summer seasons, fly into Montevideo (Uruguay) and we will pick them up when we arrive there towards the end of November.