As well as posting about what I’m getting up to I’d also like to write about my employers the British Antarctic Survey or BAS, who they are and what they do. I’m going to try to write about them as much as I can before I head South because my updates will be a little bit more limited when I’m on the ice. The internet down there is a little slower than it is here in the UK and lots of it will be taken up by the science research that will going on, though hopefully there’ll be enough for me to post pictures of penguins!
The RSS Ernest Shackleton
When I travel South I’ll be flying from London Heathrow to Capetown in South Africa and from there I will take the RSS Ernest Shackleton, one of BAS’s research ships. The Shack, as it is known, is named after the Famous polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and was built in 1995, she was acquired by BAS in 1999. As well as carrying out scientific research the Shack also takes supplies and people out to the Antarctic bases.
I will be traveling on the shack from Capetown and should arrive at the sea ice near Halley on Christmas eve this year. I am told that sea-sickness is almost a certainty for those on board for the first time!
The Shack sails some of the roughest seas in the world and is strengthened to deal with the ice on its journeys to and from Antarctica, I’ll be posting more about the ship when my long voyage starts, with some pictures and video of the ship breaking through the ice.
The RSS James Clark Ross
The other ship in the BAS fleet is the RSS James Clark Ross, The JCR was built in the UK and launched by H.M. the Queen in 1990 and is named after the explorer James Clark Ross.
Like the Ernest Shackleton the James Clark Ross is a reasearch vessel that also serves as a logistics ship. It can steam through ice 1 metre thick and is designed to make very little noise as it travels to limit interference with the sensitive acoustic equipment it deploys.
You can find out more about the two ships by visiting the British Antarctic Survey website here