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It has been another lovely day in the South Atlantic and very unlike what we are used to.  Working in the Tropics is so much nicer than the Antarctic,  there is no need to put on layers of clothing every time that you step outside to take a picture,  the sea is remarkably calm and the wind light.  The only downside is the lack of wildlife,  at least above the sea surface.  There is a lot below us.....more on that later.

On Sunday night I decided to nip outside and take some pictures as the ship was carrying out a deployment of the BAS Shallow Underwater Camera System,  known as SUCS.  The ship was in shallow water,  being above the Grattan Seamount and the water depth was less than 100m.  This is the view looking towards the Stbd Aft of the Bridge,  which is where the Dynamic Positioning System is located and when the ship is working a science station it is where the Officer of the Watch will stand.  From here he has a good view of the Working Deck Stbd and also the Working Deck Aft.  In addition he has easy access to the CCTV system for a better view of what is happening and for working with the SUCS he has a video feed of what the camera can see.  A bit of excitement as we saw fish and sharks along with a lot of seabed.

The SUCS is operated from the Underway Instrument Control Room and has an operator who is in charge of keeping a close eye on the monitor.  The camera frame is lowered to the seabed and when it has reached the bottom and settled,  a picture is taken.  The camera frame is raised and lowered by another operator who is out on the deck driving the winch,  which is a much nicer job here that around South Georgia!  Once a picture has been taken the frame is lifted of the sea floor and the Bridge is instructed to move the ship in a particular direction 10m.  Once in position the Officer of the Watch tells the two operators that the ship is in position,  the frame is lowered and the next picture is taken.   The sharks were spotted swimming beneath the frame whilst the ship was moving position,  which takes a few minutes as it is done slowly so as not to damage equipment.

I just happened to be in the UIC when the SUCS camera came across this fish.  The frame sat over the fish for a while and the fish did not flinch,  even when other fishes swam past it.  I guess it thought if it did not move we would not see it!  Besides the fish this picture is full of colour and other beasties. Picture BAS.

Looking down at the Mid-ship Gantry which is used to get the SUCS camera system over the side and clear of the ship.

Looking down from the Main Mast as the CTD was being deployed this morning.  One of the perks of my job is that I get to go places very few on board have the chance to visit.  The Main Mast is one of them and I had to climb up there this morning to change a lamp.  This picture was take from the platform that is just over half-way up the mast.  From the base of the mast to the top it is 22m and the distance from the top to sea level is about 36m.  One gets a cracking view but the top section of the mast does have a tendency to sway a bit!

The view looking down from the mast to the Aft Deck.

The view looking up,  with me at the top of the mast.  Climbing this mast is very safe as there is a good ladder all the way and wearing the correct harness means that when aloft it is easy to work on the various things that are located up there.  There is a lot of navigation lights,  several VHF antennas,  a Sat-C antenna and a Fleet77 dish.  Conditions do have to be good with the wind speed below 20kts and the ship not rolling much. Picture Andy England

This morning two small drop cameras were deployed.  These are newer versions of the cameras that I showed being deployed a few days ago and are much smaller.  This afternoon they released from the weights holding them down and all we had to do was locate them and bring them back on board.  They had not drifted far from their deployment position and were easy to locate and bring back on board.  A flag on top does make finding them a lot easier than some recoveries we have carried out in the past.

This is the sunrise this morning.  I don't get to see sunrises that often as I rather like my sleep.  However sunrise at the moment happens to coincide with after falling out of my bunk and preparing the daily newspaper,  at which point I wander to the Bridge to see what is happening and it was the sunrise this morning..

Tomorrow I will have pictures of beasts from the deep as  I did not have the time or capacity to upload them today.

The National Geographic Blog can be found HERE

Previous updates from this trip

Noon Position Report

Latitude: 9 54 S
Longitude: 12 49 W
Bearing: 137 T, 140 Nm from Ascension Island
Distance Travelled: 134
Total Distance Travelled: 1168
Steam Time: 9.95
Total Steam Time: 85.1
Average Speed: 13.4
Total Average Speed: 13.7
Wind: Direction E, Force 4
Sea State: Moderate
Air Temp: 27.4 C Sea Temp: 28.1 C
Pressure: 1012.5 Tendency (3 hrs): Falling


Previous updates from this trip

Mike Gloistein
gm0hcq @ gm0hcq.com