Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

30th November 2009

December 2, 2009

Tomorrow the season officially opens, we have spent the last 2 days searching the fishing grounds for the best spot to start and we reckon we’ve found it.

It’s around 65s, there isn’t too much ice about and the ice that is here is melting fast.

This morning, for the first time since we left Timaru, the sun has come out in full force.

And, when Hamish decides it’s a good looking day for a BBQ, it’s all on. In his book, there is no point coming all this way to the edge of the world on a 3 month boat trip unless we can kick back a little when the sun comes out (even though it is -3 degrees), I happen to agree with him there.

The boys around the Barby, smoke and all.

Check out the grill, I think it’s a piece of deck plate from the factory !

You don’t need to be mad…but it sure helps.

Rgds: John B.

27th November

November 29, 2009
We had 2 rolly days while steaming south, W-NW 35-40kts with rough sea. Thankfully the weather was mainly on our stbd beam and didn’t slow our speed too much.
We entered CCAMLR at 60 00s 172 30e, from there we enjoyed a slight S-SE breeze with calm conditions. Sea temp 2, Air temp -3.

Now that we’re through the worst weather between 45s and 60s it’s a good chance to get the fishing gear ready on deck before the temp really starts dropping.

In the photo the boys are rigging the ice fender, it’s used to keep ice away from our line while were hauling. The ice maps are looking quite good this year and I expect the northern quota will be taken sooner than last season. After that we follow the maze of leads and tracks that will eventually give us access to the Ross Sea.

For now we search about the fishing spots to find the best area to start. The trick is, to find somewhere with good fishing and the least ice. Even though we can fish through scattered floes of broken ice, doing so slows us up considerably. It’s much better to be in clear water working more lines if we can.

From bottom left: Richard, Sandy, Sam, Ronan, Dwane, Blain. Top left: Brady and Jamie.

Rgds: John B.

1st August 2009

August 3, 2009

There are some days you would rather not be here. Today we have a Southerly storm blowing 50kts and 8meter seas with sleet and snow straight off the pack ice. We know, from satellite images, that the winter pack ice is now only 200 mile to the South of us.

The air temp is -8 outside and water temp 0.

Crew in the hauling room have to rotate every 2 hours so they can thaw out with hot coffee and get dry gloves before going back on deck to finish their shift.

On the bridge it gets difficult for the driver to see through the icy windows and keep the ship on the line without letting too many big buggers (waves) pore in on top of the hauling crew.

Sam, the observer, is doing his line observations for this line from inside today. Meanwhile, in the factory and hook room, the rest of the crew are getting on with their jobs while holding on with one hand as the ship rocks, pitchers and rolls through another rough day.

Shane, the 2nd mate, driving on the line. He must concentrate on every wave and anticipate every move the ship makes. It is so easy to get it wrong and fill the hauling room with water, or worse, he could break the line...that's not a good look. Sam in the back ground recording everything caught on this line segment,shortly he will go down to the factory and collect the biological datahe needs from the fish we've caught off this line.

Shane, the 2nd mate, driving on the line. He must concentrate on every wave and anticipate every move the ship makes. It is so easy to get it wrong and fill the hauling room with water, or worse, he could break the line...that's not a good look. Sam in the back ground recording everything caught on this line segment,shortly he will go down to the factory and collect the biological datahe needs from the fish we've caught off this line.

 

From the driving position the driver has a good view of the hauling room and the oncoming weather. You can see the gaff man with orange wet weathergear at bottom of the picture.

From the driving position the driver has a good view of the hauling room and the oncoming weather. You can see the gaff man with orange wet weathergear at bottom of the picture.

When the windscreen wiper stops working we can't see, there is a mad panic to cut the line and buoy the end off. Then we drag the chief out of his warm engine room to fix the problem while we give helpful instructions from inside.

When the windscreen wiper stops working we can't see, there is a mad panic to cut the line and buoy the end off. Then we drag the chief out of his warm engine room to fix the problem while we give helpful instructions from inside.

Rgds: John B.

27th July 2009

July 28, 2009

The weather hasn’t been that great lately. We’ve had a series of frontal systems passing through bringing gales from all directions. This morning, an occluded front brought a period of heavy snow with reasonably calm conditions and patches of blue sky behind it. This is the first time we’ve seen the sun for, at least 2 weeks, maybe longer.

Someone mentioned building a snowman.. it took 1 minute to get volunteers.

Shane, Juliet and Jake built something and called it a snow Penguin…

Anyway, it was welcome relief from below decks when the crew came up for the photo. It’s a pity I didn’t get a good shot of the snow fight that happened next. As you can imagine there were no holds bared – resulting in one decapitated snow Penguin.

It started snowing just on daybreak.

It started snowing just on daybreak.

All crew from the port watch, left to fight; Aaron, Grant, Jesse, Adam, Jake, Shane, Sandy, Dave (at the back), Chevy, Juliet and Penguin with Noel's hat on.

All crew from the port watch, left to fight; Aaron, Grant, Jesse, Adam, Jake, Shane, Sandy, Dave (at the back), Chevy, Juliet and Penguin with Noel's hat on.

Rgds: John B.

19th July 2009

July 21, 2009

When it’s blowing a 45kts Sou’wester with 10m swell running and the hauling room bilge pump stop pumping, its time to stop fishing and close the hauling doors to keep the water out while the chief fixes the problem.

There are several pumps through out the factory, the hook room, line deck and the hauling room. The hauling room is the only working space open to the sea for long periods of time, (hauling lines occupies about 70% of the
day) and is designed to be a wet area.

When water comes in the hauling room, it comes in fast. Sandy is somewhere amongst that lot.

When water comes in the hauling room, it comes in fast. Sandy is somewhere amongst that lot.

The hauling room pump is the biggest pump aboard, it can shift 4,100 liters a minute, and in bad weather with water pouring in every few minutes, we can’t operate without it. The vessels stability is not affected by having water in the hauling room.

These big pumps do not normally fail, for that reason we don’t carry a spare. We could use a smaller pump but that would limit the amount of weather we could work.

The chief will just have to repair that pump.

Greg with the repaired pump impellor, note the brazing work around the boss.

Greg with the repaired pump impellor, note the brazing work around the boss.

Greg tells me the cast iron impellor was shattered in two places around the boss or where it connects to the shaft. He was able to make a support ring and braze the shattered bits together around it, then fill the gaps with plastic steel, machine the impellor to fit the shaft and put it all back together with lock-tight. We have now removed the smaller standby pump and put the big feller in and we’re back in action.. thanks to some classic engineering skill from the Chief.

Rgds: John B.

24th June 2009

July 1, 2009

The San Aspiring is a 52m purpose built auto long liner (built in 2004) she has a 2,000hp Caterpillar main engine, can carry 400,000ltrs fuel that allows her to stay at sea for about 85 days. She has accommodation for 33 crew, scientists and observers. She also has a good sized sauna, a gym with exercycles, cross trainer and weights. In 2006 we converted the solarium to increase the size of the boson’s locker and also removed the 8 person spa pool. We felt they were a little too extravagant for Kiwi fishermen.

Freezing down in South Georgia

San Aspiring with moderate freezing on deck 25nm south of Cape Disappointment, South Georgia.

There is no doubt this vessel is one of the safest and most comfortable fishing vessels of her class in the world today. For us to operate in remote southern ocean reigns and comply with the stringent requirements from CCAMLR and MSC, we need to be confident that the ship can handle the conditions we encounter. When the sea temp drops to -1.2, the air temp is -12 and we have 20 ton of ice on deck and in the rigging, we need to feel safe. Aspiring is built for these conditions….all we have to do is maintain her to a high standard and keep it there.

Rgds: John B.

1st January 2009

January 2, 2009

All the best for the new year.

We have finally made our way through the maze of ice fields and into the Ross Sea.

It has taken us 6 days to cover 300 mile of longitude to the south. In that time we probably traveled around 1,000 nautical miles as we weaved our way along leads, around ice bergs, between ice floes and through broken melt ice as we searched for the safest track in.

1 of the 100's of ice bergs we're seen in the last few weeks.

1 of the 100's of ice bergs we're seen in the last few weeks.

But it’s all worth while now that we are on the fishing grounds and enjoying some good calm weather conditions that are typical in the Ross Sea for this time of year.

When the ice bridge finally thaws, in another 2 or 3 weeks, the weather pattern will change again and allow some of those Southern Ocean low pressure systems to track further south. Until then, we are quite happy with sea conditions that you are more likely to find on a lake than here in Antarctica.

I find it difficult to describe the many different sights we see in these waters, even though its all just ice. Anyway, we all just keep clicking off photos and hope a good one comes up now and then.

An ice flow with shattered ice piled on top. This is a small scale example of the pressure the ice fields come under when it all starts to thaw in spring. I wouldn't like to be down here then.

An ice flow with shattered ice piled on top. This is a small scale example of the pressure the ice fields come under when it all starts to thaw in spring. I wouldn't like to be down here then.


Ice flow with shattered ice piled on top.

Ice flow with shattered ice piled on top.

I’ll have some fishing photos soon.

Rgds: John B.

Ps: There were 4 commitments to knock off smoking as a new year resolution.

We’ll see how that goes in the next few days.

28th December 2008

December 29, 2008

We are still searching for leads heading south but heavy snow and visibility, down to 500m, is making searching for anything difficult right now.

The weather is SW 20kts, air temp -2, sea temp -1.5, sea flat calm, sea ice drifting NE at ½ kt.

For now we have stopped and the chief takes the opportunity to shut the main engine down so he can check oil filter screens, change oil in the turbo and generally give the old girl a rest for a while. We will be back in search mode as soon as the snow stops, that can be while down here.

The rest of the crew are using this down time to check all the fire fighting gear, sharpen up their response times and generally be as ready as we can for an emergency – if we’re unfortunate enough to have one.

After that its time for the crew to chill out and please themselves what they do… reading, chess, cards, videos and play station challenges are a good way to pass the time until the fishing action starts again.

Rgds: John B.

Fire training drill. Theo, Ren, Grover and Shand checking out BA gear and fire suit.

Fire training drill. Theo, Ren, Grover and Shand checking out BA gear and fire suit.

Marli watching a video in her cabin. ( Yes...It is a small cabin and I agree... she doesn't look that comfortable does she...... But, she assures me she's quite happy, thank you).

Marli watching a video in her cabin. ( Yes...It is a small cabin and I agree... she doesn't look that comfortable does she...... But, she assures me she's quite happy, thank you).

27th December 2008

December 27, 2008

Today we are making our way south at about 1 to 2kts.

Weaving along tracks of open water and leads as we navigate through the ice bridge is a long slow process.

Frequent banks of thick fog rolling in help to make life even more interesting for the watchmen who are constantly searching for the clear tracks ahead.

Yesterday we made another 30nm toward the south.

We have about 240 mile to go now and conditions are looking good whenever the fog lifts.

 

Open ice in the fog. Looking forward from halfway up the mast.

Open ice in the fog. Looking forward from halfway up the mast.

 

 Looking astern from halfway up the mast

Looking astern from halfway up the mast

Photo 1 and 2: Looking frwd and aft from half way up the main mast. (one day I’ll get to the top!)

Rgds; John B.

26th December 2008

December 27, 2008

Day 33 . Boxing day.

Mike serving xmas dinner

Mike serving xmas dinner

After a good meal and some R&R its back to work, weaving our way south toward the fishing grounds.

We all take turns at lookout searching for good leads that will take us south.

Me searching for leads through the ice

Me searching for leads through the ice

We are now 80nm south of the ice edge with around 250nm to go before we exit the ice bridge and enter the Ross Sea.

When we finally get there we could have traveled over 600miles weaving back and forth, in and out to find the safest track.

Today we have a long low swell from the NW, this is good news for us. A big swell (next to the warm water currents that thaw the Ross Sea from the inside out) is probably the next strongest force that breaks the sea ice up and speeds the thawing process. While we stopped for dinner 3 leads opened up that weren’t there before. We’re heading down one of them now.

Rgds: John B.