4th September 2009

September 8, 2009

As the wharf space in Port Stanley is limited, when the catch verification process is finished, and we have loaded the stores and supplies we need for the trip home, we must move away and allow the next boat in line to start their verification process.

The last thing we need is about 154 ton of fuel to top up our tanks before we head home. Usually we do that from the wharf, but at this time, shore supplies were low and we had to go alongside a small trading fuel tanker in Berkley Sound, just around the corner from Port Stanley. That went well, and we were finally on our way by 02:30hrs on Friday morning. First waypoint is for Cape Horne, about a day ½ South-west from the Falklands.

Home boys

This shot was taken just before we left the wharf at Port Stanley.
From left, Grant, Masa and Shooter have been aboard since April and are looking forward to the flight home on Saturday, it’s been a long haul for them, 5 months at sea. Migs (from Sulivan Shipping) has been our agent for the last 4 seasons and he takes care of coordinating customs, port authorities, stores, equipment and just about anything we need while we’re at the Falklands. Dean (on the right) is our vessel manager, he has flown over from NZ to meet the ship. Dean is kept busy during the verification process working alongside the MSC people that weigh our fish and eventually issue the very important  “Catch Documentation” paperwork.

Rgds: John B.

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2nd September 2009

September 8, 2009
Port Stanley when the sun comes out looking South West.

Port Stanley when the sun comes out looking South West.

We have been alongside the wharf in Port Stanley for 3 days now and the crew have just finished reloading. This is called the “catch verification process”, we must unload all of catch and have the weight checked by inspectors from the South Georgia government. This has to be done to satisfy requirements for MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) accreditation. Without this we can not sell our fish anywhere in the world.

Each fish is wrapped in a plastic bag, the big fish go into sacks and the smaller fish are packed in 20kg boxes. Each sack and box has a barcode label that is scanned during the unload. At the end, our reported catch figures must be the same, or very close, to the figures the inspectors have before they will officially verify our catch. This season we had a difference of 0.08%. To the best of our knowledge nobody has come close to that level of accuracy in this fishery before. We’re patting ourselves on the back for that.

Unloading in the snow, FIPASS wharf, Stanley.

Unloading in the snow, FIPASS wharf, Stanley.

Reloading from the holding containers, into the cargo nets to be lifted back aboard.

Reloading from the holding containers, into the cargo nets to be lifted back aboard.

Tomorrow we take bunkers (Fuel) and start heading for home.

Rgds: John B.

31st August 2009

September 1, 2009

It’s a 26 hour day today as we turn the clocks back 2 hours to Falkland Island local time. We have been steaming west from South Georgia into a force 8 gale with sleet and snow for the last 3 days and the prospect of laying still alongside the huge floating barges that form the Port Stanley wharf, and a stroll on the beach after 72 days at sea in the Southern Ocean, is much like anticipating a summer holiday or the start of a long vacation.

But it’s not over yet, we still have to unload and reload out catch for the verification process, (That all takes about 3 days) take on fuel and stores and make ready for the long haul home.

A small Patagonian Toothfish.
A small Patagonian Toothfish.

Rgds: John B.

28th August 2009

September 1, 2009

Our South Georgia season is coming to an end now. Yesterday we hauled the last line and started steaming for Port Stanley. With reasonable weather conditions we should be docking on about the 31st Aug, right now we have 45kts NE, not so comfortable for steaming. It’s a good feeling to finally be on the way home, but the work isn’t over yet, now we have the big clean up. During the trip the processing factory is cleaned regularly and kept up to standard for our fish pack house license. But now, everything to do with the fishing operation is dismantled, checked, repaired if necessary and then put back together and made ready for the next fishing operation, whenever that may be.

From now on, it’s the long haul back to NZ from ½ way around the world.

A shift change, from left, Juliet, Jake, Sandy coming on shift while Sue and Shane knock off and head to the mess room for dinner.

A shift change, from left, Juliet, Jake, Sandy coming on shift while Sue and Shane knock off and head to the mess room for dinner.

Jake doing his cleaning duties. Jake and Aaron are responsible for keeping the changing room tidy. The rest of the crew are all allocated different parts of the ship on their cleaning roster.

Jake doing his cleaning duties. Jake and Aaron are responsible for keeping the changing room tidy. The rest of the crew are all allocated different parts of the ship on their cleaning roster.

Rgds: John B.

22nd August 2009

August 24, 2009

As part of our licensing requirements in the South Georgia & South Sandwich fishery we must undertake to tag and release a percentage of the Toothfish we catch.

This season we have tagged almost 800 fish from both areas. At US$18.00 per kilo that equates to about NZ $75,000 worth of Toothfish we have tagged and returned to the water. It is a high price to pay but necessary for the proper, effective management of a sustainable fishery.

So far this trip we have recaptured and recorded details off 106 previously tagged Toothfish, 14 of those fish were tagged by us during the last 4 seasons we have fished in South Georgia.

Masa measuring TOP

 

In this photo, Masa has carried this fish from the hauling station to the live fish holding tank where it will calm down for a while before being measured, weighed, tagged and then released.

 

 

Sandy tagging

In the second photo, Sandy and Juliet are tagging Toothfish. There are about 6 more fish in the tank waiting to be done. Then we have to choose our moment to put them in the water otherwise the Seals will get them before they’ve gone 10 metres. Sometimes we have to hold them in the tank for hours before letting them go.

Rgds: John B.

20th August 2009

August 21, 2009

For today’s comment it is worth looking at a website of an organization that is committed to stamping out Illegal and Unregulated Toothfish Piracy.

A large number of companies that operate in the CCAMLR Toothfish fishery, along with gear supplier and fish wholesalers, are members of an organisation called “COLTO” (Coalition Of Legal Toothfish Operators).

If you check out  their website you can read all about the hard work that goes on behind the scene to combat illegal fishing on the highseas.

Sue and Noel in the galley holding my "COLTO " T shirt. These shirts are hard to come by. They will have their own one day.

Sue and Noel in the galley holding my "COLTO " T shirt. These shirts are hard to come by. They will have their own one day.

Rgds: John B.

19th August 2009

August 21, 2009

It’s only 12 more days until the end of August and the close of the South Georgia Toothfish season. All 10 vessels must have their last lines out of the water before midnight on the 31st August. Then its time to start heading home. The first port of call is Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands where we must unload, weigh then reload our entire catch before bringing it home.

This has to be done to satisfy the MSC requirements so our fish can be sold to international markets. It’s an interesting time with all vessels heading for port at the same time and everyone needs to get their catch unloaded and verified by the South Georgia fisheries then reloaded as soon as possible so we can finally be on our way home after 5 months of fishing. Some of our crew will fly home but many of us will stay on and bring the ship home to NZ, that takes about another month!

Masa and Jamie in the hauling room, thinking about that nice warm fire and cold beer at the local Stanley Pub.

Masa and Jamie in the hauling room, thinking about that nice warm fire and cold beer at the local Stanley Pub.

Rgds: John B.

16th August 2009

August 18, 2009
The hook room is a hive of activity for around 18hrs a day while lines and hooks are coming aboard.

When a line is hauled it comes in through the hauling room, around the main hauler, and then pulled to the hook room by the combi hauler. The combi hauler catchers the hooks and hangs them on the magazines as the line is pulled from the hauling room.

If the bottom is rocky, or there are big tangles, the crew can replace up to 1,000 hooks on each line that comes aboard.

Thao on combi

 

Thao working the combi hauler, to his right is the CCTV monitor focused on the main hauler, 20m further forward in the hauling room. Operating the combi is the most stressful job on deck. If it’s not set up properly the combi will simply drop the hooks and miss the magazine guide… then they end up on the deck.You can’t wear gloves while doing this job and the water temp this line has just come from is -1 degree, it can’t get much colder without freezing.

Juliet is hanging new hooks on the repair rail and getting things ready along "Skid Row" as the next line is about to come aboard.

Juliet is hanging new hooks on the repair rail and getting things ready along "Skid Row" as the next line is about to come aboard.

The hook room in top gear with Grant on the combi, Shooter backing up,Aaron (pulling a... I'm a zombie on the combi face), and Shane splicing the 4 strand lead core back bone where a large tangle had been cut out and was still in the hauling room waiting to be un-tangled, de-hooked then re-hung on the magazines for shooting latter that night.

The hook room in top gear with Grant on the combi, Shooter backing up,Aaron (pulling a... I'm a zombie on the combi face), and Shane splicing the 4 strand lead core back bone where a large tangle had been cut out and was still in the hauling room waiting to be un-tangled, de-hooked then re-hung on the magazines for shooting latter that night.

Rgds: John B.

15th August 2009

August 17, 2009

It’s been a while since I have Blogged..

Life aboard ship is busy with the steady fishing routine that occupies most of our time. But, there are no complaints, as without that steady routine the days drag on…

Sad news: One of our crew has had news of the unexpected passing of a close relative back home. In my experience it’s never easy to deal with these situations on the long trips, and in this case we are still 2 months from home. But, when it does happens, it is a relief at times like this to have a family team that understands just how far away we are, and the best we can do from here is stay in touch by satellite phone and e-mail as trying to get home is simply not an option. In this situation there is very good family support and everyone is working through their grieving process without too much anxiety.

We would like to dedicate this photo to Pam's memory.

We would like to dedicate this photo to Pam's memory.

Our thoughts go to Deanna, Shane, Bella and the family.

Rgds: John B.

9th August 2009

August 9, 2009
Hi there Jack, Lilee and the crew from 1JG, its great to hear from you all.

It is true the sun does not set during the summer months in Antarctica while we are fishing in the Ross Sea. But over here in South Georgia, during the middle of winter, we have about 15hrs of darkness every day and only 9 hours of daylight. I think you should ask Miss Juanita to explain how the change from summer to winter goes from 24 hours of daylight to 24 hours of darkness in Antarctic winter.

Sandy driving

The photo is of me driving the ship as we haul a line. It usually takes 7 hours to haul one line that is 13 kilometers long with about 10,000 hooks.

You can see the clickers for counting the fish alongside the main engine and bow thruster controls. The radar, chart plotter, echo sounder, line controller, 3 radios and CCTV controls are all in easy reach of the driving seat.

Keep up the good work with the homework Jack, it won’t be too long and I’ll home to help you with it.  Love Dad.

Rgds: Sandy P.