Wednesday 30 January 2008

On The Move

Just a couple of pics from the journey so far...

The Shackleton cutting the South Atlantic waters, the red hull reflected in the spray

We have been joined by some other guys - this ones called 'Albert Ross'

Monday 28 January 2008

Changing Views

My Shackelton Cabin - No 408 for those that know

View from the porthole leaving CT - The Twelve Apostles

View from the porthole a day later, guess there will be a few like this!

Away at Last

On the Waterfront in Cape Town, our Shackleton hotel in the background

A final send off by the local gulls

The last views of Cape Town as the Shackelton leaves

Lots of water, just lots and lots of water

Well we finally managed to get away from Cape Town, the delay being receipt of the generator part that needed to be fitted. This came via Jo'berg and arrived with box but no part. Eventually it was found, fitted and trialled overnight, allowing the ship to sail the next day.
The temerature was pushing 30DegC in the shade, so all the crew were not too happy at having to leave that to head for 5 weeks against the ice in Antarctica, shore leave didn't seem so appealing there.
A pilot boat saw the Shackleton safely out of harbour and into open seas, there were a few seeing the ship off on shore, mainly tourists watching from in front of the posh Cape Town waterfont Hotels and Malls, next to which we had been berthed for a few days.
The views of Table mountain, the Lions Head and Rump, the Twelve Apostles and Cape Point (the so named mountains, hills and final most south westerley point of South Africa) were stunning as we turned due south to head for the Ice.
We are now a few days at sea and that is pretty much all there is, lots and lots of sea to see. We have had some pretty good weather since leaving, with some sea swells causing the Shackleton to bob and sway around quite a bit. I have so far managed to keep everything down with the aid of pills, although my travelling companion - Phil Wells of HBA Architects, hasn't faired so well to date, but suffered an initial bout sea-sickness. The forcast is for us to be running into some pretty rough weather late tonight/tomorrow morning, which we will aparantly be in for around 3-4 days! I just hope the pills continue to work.
Due to the restrictive environment and repetative nature of the days on board, we have begun to start the day over breakfast (7.30 to 8.15am) with lines such as..
'Day 3 on the Big Brother ship, today the shipmates have again managed to keep their breakfast down..'
The similarities to the BB house (not that I particularly watch the mind numbing programme) are there, its just not as confined. It makes you wonder how on earth they manage to survive at all for so long.
Well that is it for now, I don't expect to be posting much more over the forthcoming days unless something presents itself, it will more time at sea. Hopefully when we reach the ice there will be some more exciting pictures to post. Bye for now.

Wednesday 23 January 2008

Cape Town Waterfornt

The Ernest Shackleton at Berth in Cape Town

Still in Cape Town

I arrived in Cape Town at the start of the week expecting the Shackleton to be sailing pretty shortly afterwards, however, the late arrival of the temporary tents (to see the Halley modules through the winter without cladding), repairs being carried out to one of the Cats brought back from Halley and a part needed for the generator have delayed the sailing date.

It now looks like we will be sailing late Thursday/Early Friday. Feedback from site seems to be that there will be lots to do when we ge there. Still, the temperature yesterday was around 35degC with unbroken sunshine. This morning seems to be going the same way. I guess there are worse places to be waiting!

Thursday 3 January 2008

The Start

Just received confirmation of the tickets to get me to Cape Town today along with a sudden realisation that I will actually be heading off to Antarctica in 2 weeks time!!

Apart from the sudden desire to go and buy loads of thermal underwear, I need to get my head around what I do need to take. Some good advice to be sought from Dave (Windy Miller) Mitchell on this I think.

So the last 18months of hell in getting Halley VI to the point of being able to be built, now means that it needs to be built. I'll try and post regular photos of my trip (short though it is) and let all know how things are going.