Saturday, 24 November 2007

Pleased to be delayed

Not because it gives us more time to explore the Falklands (though it does) but rather that the alternative was turning round and coming home on the next flight!

The problem we have is that the ship hit an uncharted rock off the base at Signy, South Orkney Islands. It didn't pierce the outer hull so the previous cruise continued as planned but once in port it was possibly to carry out further inspections (divers on the outside, emptying a fuel tank on the inside). This revealed damage to the second skin of the ship, within the hull. It was thought likely that this would lead to a dry-dock call in South America which would cost at least 2 weeks of ship time. This would have lead to the science bits of the cruise being canned and the guys at Rothera being increasingly worried about supplies. A Lloyds inspector was flown out from Chile on the BAS Dash Seven and his verdict was that temporary repairs were possible and sufficient for the ship to continue with the Antarctic season. The repairs will take until at least Thursday and will consist of packing the affected area with concrete.

In the mean time I've been making use of the extra time - a walk out to Gypsy Cove and a day at Volunteer Point. Gypsy Cove is a small Magellanic Penguin colony about an hour's walk from the ship - a new species of penguin for me and some good range of other species on the way. Volunteer Point holds a few hundred pairs of King Penguins, along with Gentoo and Magellanic. Some good photos (to follow) after a considerable amount of 'walking' around on elbows and toes to avoid scaring the penguins away - I think it makes you short enough and silly enough that you are accepted as a penguin. We have also had Commerson's Dolphins around the ship on and off since we've been here (we're staying on the ship).

The travelling to the ship went smoothly, a few Ascension Frigatbirds were visible from the holding pen.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Glad to hear you were accepted as a penguin. It would be a proud moment for any hedgehog :)
Definitely good that the ship was ok to be patched up too.