7th – 12th March: Time to Go Home

We are forced to abandon the EM log sphere; the current meters are lost; but we have a party; the tide gauge is laid on the way home…

Saturday (7 March): Having had no success with dragging for the sphere the pinger was turned off and the sphere abandoned at 0800 hours and we steamed over to the current meter mooring.

Bob Spencer prepares the Tide Gauge for deployment on the way home.

The Dhan buoy was recovered and the surface buoyancy brought aboard but it was found that the trawl floats had not had enough buoyancy to prevent the cable snagging around the subsurface buoyancy. In trying to lift this, too much strain was put on the cable which parted and the current meters sank to the bottom ~£7000 worth 1 only?. Since there was no time to drag the mooring had to be abandoned and we set off for home.

Party in the bar that night was a great success so…

Sunday (8 March): Spent day in bed – exhausted.2 bonding

Monday (9 March): Off Finisterre in morning – many ships, misty valleys, rain squalls and sunlight. Sea is fairly calm, weather a lot colder. Spent morning washing the water bottles and thermometer tubes and emptying oxygen bottles. Afternoon was just about warm enough to sunbathe. On watch in evening looking after the [sea] temperature recorder and TS profiler, little to do.

A day of ships and dramatic Blake-like lighting. A great skua accompanying the ship.

My best photo of a gannet!

Tuesday (10 March): A calm night in which we made good time put us on station off La Chappelle bank by 0800 hours. Free fall probe was launched and successfully recovered but the main object of interest was the large numbers of gannets – 40 or so at least which would take to the air in a given period and plunge into the water, wheeling, dropping and folding their wings just before impact – a fantastic sight. Also fulmars and a petrel.

Deploying the Tide Gauge

The asdic plate was lifted and the blank without a pitot replaced, the TS profiler brought in and the echo sounder and Decca 3 nav aid used to find a suitable place for the tide gauge [which was] laid without incident in the afternoon.

By 1600Z heading for home – no echo sounders, thermometers or profilers, in short no watches; films tonight.

Wednesday (11 March) Spent day crossing the Channel slowly – ahead of time due to the good weather and by evening of Portland Bill – can see the loom of the lighthouse and the glow of Bournemouth (?). A day spent packing [(i.e. all the scientific gear)] and the evening in the bar.

Thursday (12 March): Woke up at approaches to the west Solent, picked up a Pilot and docked by 0930. Not off ship until 1400 however when signed off and given a lift to the University traffic lights – by Plessy car! 4 Plessey Radar

Photo Gallery: Tide Gauge deployment…

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