Since leaving London on Thursday we have had a variety of weather conditions. In the Straits of Dover we were hit by a force 9 (severe gale) from the South West which slowed us up. Despite the strength of the wind and the lumpy sea, The ship remained very stable and the expedition team on board (Anton Bowring, Jill Bowring, John Parsloe and Heather Webster) all slept soundly and comfortably. The days leading up to the ship’s departure were frantic and everyone was working flat out to be ready for our Royal visitor and the ship’s planned passage under Tower Bridge at 15.20hrs on the dot! As a result, we were completely exhausted and sleep was essential.

Since leaving the English Channel, the weather has quietened and the infamous Bay of Biscay has not lived up to expectations. It is calm apart from a modest northerly swell.

We are slowly setting up our office (just behind the bridge). Our Iridium communications equipment is working perfectly and we now have internet and telephone facilities. Soon we shall be sending out material for schools. To start with, we shall be looking at navigation and how the ship’s route and progress are planned and monitored. Also, we have some meteorological data buoys on board which we shall be deploying further South for the Meteorological Office. These buoys record weather data and send information back to the Met Office at Bracknell.

But, for now, we are still settling in. We have inspected the cargo and all is secure. Today is Sunday and Captain Dave Hall will shortly be doing his rounds to inspect everyone’s cabins and work spaces. It is a good way of ensuring that standards are maintained and the ship is kept tidy and in order.

The Captain, crew and cadets have all been wonderful. They have worked extremely hard on our behalf and without a murmur of complaint. It is one aspect that gives me great pleasure – knowing that we can all work well together. This will be so important when we get to Antarctica and start to unload the ship in, what will very possibly be, testing conditions.

It’s getting warmer. Since leaving London, the wind has been very cold. But now it is calmer, we are warming up and enjoying a bit of sunshine. It won’t be long before we are sweltering in the tropics!

We all send best wishes. I shall write again in the near future.


(expedition co-leader)