Last updated: Thursday 12th April 2018  Time Zone:  GMT   

Thursday is the last day of science work in the vicinity of St Helena.  The final few days have seen the James Clark Ross working in the vicinity of the Boanaparte seamount and late this evening the ship will head to Jamestown,  St Helena,  arriving for 07:00 on Friday morning.  The day will be spent at anchor whilst the scientists complete the packing of their equipment and they depart the vessel at about 16:00.  Once the ship is ready to sail,  it will then head north for the UK.

There have been a number of encounters with dolphins today.  The problem that we have is that we move too slowly and the dolphins tend to lose interest in us very quickly and disappear from sight.

Following further communications with King Neptune a date has been set for His Court to visit the ship and deal with the Pollywogs on board.  The following is a bit of history into this tradition:

The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the British Merchant Navy, Dutch Merchant Navy, Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, Russian Navy, and other navies that commemorates a sailor's first crossing of the Equator. The tradition may have originated with ceremonies when passing headlands, and become a "folly" sanctioned as a boost to morale, or have been created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the Equator are nicknamed (Trusty/Honorable) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs (in 1832 the nickname griffins was noted).

Equator-crossing ceremonies, typically featuring King Neptune, are also sometimes carried out for passengers' entertainment on civilian ocean liners and cruise ships. They are also performed on the Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross.

Captain Robert FitzRoy of HMS Beagle suggested the practice had developed from earlier ceremonies in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian vessels passing notable headlands. He thought it was beneficial to morale: "The disagreeable practice alluded to has been permitted in most ships, because sanctioned by time; and though many condemn it as an absurd and dangerous piece of folly, it has also many advocates. Perhaps it is one of those amusements, of which the omission might be regretted. Its effects on the minds of those engaged in preparing for its mummeries, who enjoy it at the time, and talk of it long afterwards, cannot easily be judged of without being an eye-witness."
"Deep was the bath, to wash away all ill;
Notched was the razor—of bitter taste the pill.
Most ruffianly the barber looked—his comb was trebly nailed—
And water, dashed from every side, the neophyte assailed.

Once the scientists have departed tomorrow afternoon there will just be the ship's company on board.  This does not mean that it will be a quiet period on board,  far from it as the ship will be prepared for the Arctic cruise and maintenance work that can't be carried out during science cruises will be completed.  It will be  a busy time for all on board.

Previous updates from this trip can be found HERE

Noon Position Report Thursday 12th April 2018

Latitude: 15° 41.4 S
Longitude: 006° 57.4 W
Bearing: 281 °T, 73 Nm from Jamestown, St Helena
Cruise Number: JR17004
Distance Travelled: 124
Total Distance Travelled: 816
Steam Time: 20.1
Total Steam Time: 125.5
Average Speed: 6.2
Total Average Speed: 6.5
Wind: Direction SE, Force 5
Sea State: Moderate
Air Temp: 23.9 °C Sea Temp: 25.1 °C
Pressure: 1014.1 Tendency (3hrs): Falling

Mike Gloistein
gm0hcq @ gm0hcq.com