17 February, 2011 RRS Ernest Shackleton
After a rather long leave of absence the “Shackleton Blog” is once again back in action.
With a crew change completed on the 29th January in Stanley, behind us, we departed in fine weather and headed in south-easterly direction towards Halley base. The weather God’s smiled on us all the way and our cruise south was pretty uneventful. We came up to the ice shelf just north of Stancomb Wills on Sunday the 6th February and made our way down the coast encountering little ice. On Monday morning we arrived off Creek IV at Halley but the weather had turned a bit and there was a blow on which was not conducive our working cargo. The forecast for the next few days was not too good, a decision was therefore made to go ahead with our science cruise. This we duly did and headed off west into the Weddell sea in search of Weddell seals to tag.
We headed back towards Halley for the final time this season. We are about a week ahead of our program at the moment but will have to wait until the Halley personnel are finished their work for the season are ready to embark.
When we arrived off creek III we were surprised to see that a substantial amount of ice had broken off in the week that we were away. The good news is that the fresh break was pretty straight allowing us to tie up closer to ice. This helps when doing cargo work with cranes over the side and vehicles and sleds on the ice not having to get too close to the edge.
The Radio’s were soon crackling with activity and arrangements being made to start getting the return cargo down to the depot on the ice shelf.
News from the base is that things have gone pretty well with the build this year and they now have four modules up at the new location about 10km from Halley. They completed the move of the huge 200-ton Red module yesterday. They are hoping to have all the modules up there and in position prior to departure.
Next post in week or two.