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The team on the James Clark Ross went into full science mode in the early hours of Friday morning and have continued throughout the day.  As I sit in my cabin looking for inspiration,  with the sun still high in the sky,  the scientists are deploying a trawl net.   We have spent the day working over the Harris Seamount,  one of thousands dotted around the oceans of the world and like most of them not mapped and little known about it.

The first task was to map the seamount and this was done during the night,  with the JCR circling around it and collecting the data that produced the map shown here.  The quality of data that the swath bathymetry system provides is very high and it is systems like this that are used for trying to locate wrecks on the seabed.  Our system is a deep water system and is ideally suited for the work that we do.  Photo:  BAS

It would not be a science cruise if we did not do a CTD cast or two.  This is to collect water samples from known depths and measures Conductivity,  Temperature and Depth.  Today it was deployed to a depth of 1000m and ten bottles of water were collected for sampling on board.  The weather has been excellent throughout the day,  with a fairly calm sea.

Mike,  from National Geographic and the designer of the drop camera,  seen on the deck beside him,  conducting some last minute checks.  The two reflectors on the outside are there to reflect the light from the internal floodlights ahead of the camera.  It has been designed in this way so that there is no need to have external lights,  which need to then have cable entries into the glass spheres and due to the depths that it can go to the less penetrations through the glass the better.

The drop camera was set for a five hour deployment.  It has weights attached to the base on a line,  which has a burnable fused link.  At the required time the link burns and breaks and frees the camera from the weights and then ascends to the surface for collection.  Mike's calculations were spot on and the camera surfaced right on time.  The ship was busy completing another science deployment at the time and so the camera was left to float some 3km from us before the ship went and picked it up.

Recovering the pelagic camera.  This is a device that has GoPro cameras on and it floats below the surface.  Both the pelagic and the drop camera had some bait,  in for the form of mackerel,  attached to try and encourage sharks to visit.  I have not heard what the results were from these two cameras but hope to report on the results tomorrow.

A good sailor always has a knife to hand and Frankie is not letting the side down.

Grappling hook will be used to catch the drop camera and bring back on board.

Meanwhile in the Galley the 2nd Cook,  Stephen,  is busy mixing up some ingredients which will likely end up on my plate tomorrow at some point as a pudding.

A rare picture of the author of this website,  sadly slouching,  in the Radio Room.  This picture was taken shortly after re-joining the ship and I am still getting some of my radio equipment set up.

This evening,  at about 20:00 the science work is due to be completed on the Harris Seamount and the JCR will continue to Ascension Island.  We are due to arrive for about 10:00 on Saturday and need to be on our way again by mid-day.  This mainly because it is Ascension Day on the island and all there will be celebrating the anniversary of the discovery of the island.

Reading the Admiralty Sailing Directions, Africa Pilot Vol 2,  it looks like the locals may be a week late!  Ascension Island was discovered on Ascension Day,  20th May 1501,  by Joo de Nova Gallego,  a Portuguese,  and was visited two years later by Alphonzo d'Albuquerque,  who gave it its present name.  In 1815 the British Government took possession of the island  and in 1821 it was garrisoned by a company of Royal Marines.  The island plays an important role as a military airbase and in telecommunications/tracking.  The runway was an alternative landing site for the space shuttle,  although it never landed there.  The population on the island was,  in 2012,  880 (not including the military).

Due to a problem with the runway flights from the UK to the Falkland Islands (the route we often take to and from the ship when crew changing in Stanley) are not landing on the island but stopping in Northern Africa to refuel before the long leg south.

The National Geographic Blog can be found HERE

Navmet screenshot

The Daily menu

Noon Position Report

Latitude: 8 28 S
Longitude: 16 59 W
Bearing: 91 T, 1034 Nm from Recife
Course Made Good 091 T
Destination 1: Ascension Island
ETA at knots is 07:00 on 26 May 2017
Destination 2: Ascension Island
ETA at 14 knots is 23:00 on 26 May 2017
Distance Travelled: 166
Total Distance Travelled: 1034
Steam Time: 13.6
Total Steam Time: 75
Average Speed: 13.7
Total Average Speed: 13.7
Wind: Direction ESE, Force 5
Sea State: Moderate
Air Temp: 27.8 C Sea Temp: 28.4 C
Pressure: 1014.9 Tendency (3 hrs): Falling


Previous updates from this trip

Mike Gloistein
gm0hcq @ gm0hcq.com