At 9:45am fiveteen minutes late the gangplank was pulled up and the Shackleton started to cast of the mooring lines. From 7:30am last minute loading had been going on down at the wharf. We were late because Chef Nicola had slept through her alarm but someone noticed she wasn’t on the ship so she was woken up and quickly made her way aboard.
As the lines were being removed from shore one of the 25 FIDS asked if I had seen Dave – I said no and asked a few others. Then I asked the Base Commander who asked the WBC (winter base commander) who was still on the wharf. The WBC said he had seen him at work at the wharf so he must be onboard.
Dave woke up to the sound of the ships horn as it steamed away from the 22 winters standing at the wharf in the snow. They were setting off parachute flares, red hand flares, smoke flares it was like a massive firework display. The problem was that Dave was still in his bed in Admirals! When he walked out onto the veranda one of the winters said – ‘you aren’t meant to be here’… The Shack did a hand break turn and returned to Biscoe Wharf to pick up Dave who had neither planned on nor wanted to winter! He was loaded on along with his bags up the pilot ladder.
It was so cold and the visibility was so poor no one hung around long on deck to see the point disappear in the snow flurries. There were some wet eyes amongst the 45 people lining either the wharf or the side of the ship. Three on the wharf were about to embark on their second consecutive winters which is the maximum BAS will allow without going home.
I had a two day hand over to Andy the boatman however, it was relatively easy seeing as he did two consecutive winters during 2003-2005. The number of boats has decreased from nine during his tenure to two this time as three were removed from service this summer and one is on the Shack coming home to be refurbished.
So not only an emotional farewell to Rothera now fully into the winter season but also an exciting one!
We are at 65S heading north at 13.6 knots. It was an exciting and emotional farewell with the 22 people remaining on base setting off flares like it was the 4th of July. First stop is Jubany the German Base to pick up a few people. Seas are relatively flat but the Shacks hull shape means she is moving around a lot – kind of like being in a washing machine cycle!
Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.