Sunday 18 November 2012

Full steam ahead

We arrived at Hartlepool docks at lunch time on Friday 16th November to join our home for the next two weeks, the RV Cefas Endeavour. After going through both a safety briefing for the dock yard and the ships safety induction we had a bit of time on our hands to familiarise ourselves with the ship and settle into our cabins.

RV Cefas Endeavour at Irvines Quay, Hartlepool

After dinner we sat down to review existing data for the areas we plan to survey over the next two weeks and further refine the survey plans. We also went over possible contingency plans if the weather offshore gets too rough for data collection. Those of us who have landed the night shift 00:00 – 12:00 tried to have a late night in an attempt to start to become accustomed to the unusual working hours.

The next day commenced with an early start casting off from the docks at 07:00 in hope of reaching our first destination, Swallow Hole (a geological feature), by the afternoon, where we planned to calibrate the multibeam equipment. The weather was good with a calm sea, light winds and a slight swell. En route we received a talk by the ships Master, followed by a drill in which the ships general alarm was sounded (seven short blasts followed by one long blast on the ships whistle) and we all had to muster as if it was an emergency. We were then taken though the steps to be followed in an emergency and how to launch the life rafts.

We finally arrived at Swallow Hole at 14:00 where Cefas staff proceeded to carry out the calibration. Carrying out these checks on the equipment will reduce any error when using this acoustic technique within the study sites. After the calibration checks were completed, we recommenced the journey to our first survey site, Braemar Pockmarks cSAC.  This was going to take until midday on Sunday and so the ship’s crew continued to take the boat full steam ahead.