Cruise diary

Monday 4th August 2003

Dave writes...

"Hi there! I have had an email from my parents who have just been on holiday. They said they were going to post a question on the net but were to shy. Ahhhh. I thought the questions were quite pertinent so they wil be published on the cruise Q & A page.

Today we are deploying four 'Apex' sensors that will float (and sink) around the ocean following the currents. All the time measuring temperature, salinity and location then beaming the information back to a satellite. They look like metre-long yellow torpedoes. The hope is that their paths will reveal much about the ocean currents and any changes that are occurring. "

Tina writes...

Today has been very mellow (and not just because I have slept like a dormouse all day). The team are getting back to paperwork, writing cruise reports, catching up on reading and processing data. It’s like a floating library in the lab at the moment.

Sunday dinner was good (a choice of pasta, salads, steaks and a Chantilly chocolate trifle for dessert). Traditionally the crew wear their uniforms to sit down and eat with the Captain on Sunday, and ladies change for dinner. Sadly, the ladies on board didn’t bring their posh frocks and tiaras, so the best we could do was clean clothes.

Captain on deck

Since it was Keith’s last Sunday as Master (he retires after this trip), the atmosphere was jovial and many salty seadog stories were told. Capt Avery is looking forward to his retirement (Mrs Avery will be joining him on Mahe Island), he has many interests including golf and steam trains. He also has a home in Portugal, where last season he and Mrs Avery grew enough grapes to make four bottles of decent wine.

Everyone’s feeling relaxed and well-rested and looking forward to getting home. We dock on Wednesday morning (depending on the wind speed and currents between now and then) and fly out Thursday morning, via Paris to Southampton. The crew are changing over at the same time (most serve a 3 or 4 month trip), leaving only Phil Gauld (First Mate) and Pete Dooley (3rd Engineer) of the original team on board. Then the Darwin sails to Muscat (Oman) with the new crew, ready for the next research cruise program.

After dinner, the science team took a walk on the aft deck with our cups of coffee and watched a most beautiful salmon-pink sunset over calm waters. Bram looked very thoughtful as he surveyed his empire.

Tina: sleeping for at least 8 hours a day now

Lt Chetty, our Seychelles Observer

We are making 7-8 knots tonight, with hopes of being back to Mahe Island on time to pick up the pilot. The pilot guides the ship into Seychellois waters (we also have a Seychelle coastguard observer on board to monitor our activities). The waters are calm now we are closer to the Equator, and at night there is only a gentle rocking and the low hum of the engines..."

Bram surveying his empire

Science team relaxing on deck

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