14 April 2004
Wednesday, 14 April 2004
A view from the crew
This is the second of this type of research programme involving iron fertilisation that this crew have been involved in, with the first being SOIREE in 1999. The knowledge accumulated then has been useful to us this voyage. This is probably just as well since this one has, in many ways, been far more challenging. Probably the most notable difference, least not from the crew perspective, has been the weather. This time the Southern Ocean has been living up to its reputation. The area we have been in isn’t called the “roaring forties” for nothing. A rapid series of depressions originating from the Antarctic region have flowed passed the area to the south of us causing big wind-driven seas constantly driving up from the south-west. On average the seas have been 4 to 6 metres high.
These types of voyages are most enjoyable for us. Most of the crew in our various capacities get involved with the scientific work as well as our routines in running the ship. We have a crew this voyage of 14, having one extra cook over and above our normal complement to assist the Chef in the galley. The bigger the science the bigger the appetites it seems. Of the 14, 9 are on shifts or watches; the remainder being on various work patterns. Repairs and maintenance are still attended to as well as carrying out the functions required to fulfil the research work.
We come from various backgrounds in commercial shipping. Some like myself started in the Merchant Navy. A period in the North Sea on Oil Rig supply ships piqued my interest in the type of vessel that goes to sea to work rather than just going from port to port and I eventually found myself with the former Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries on their fisheries research vessel James Cook. I have been Captain on this ship since it was commissioned in 1991. Others in the crew have a background in commercial fishing. This provides an all important set of skills as we carry a number of tasks involved with fisheries research. Predominantly this is concerned with catching fish, usually with trawls, in order to assess fish stock information to assist with the setting of total allowable catches for the commercial sector.
I am writing this on the last day of the voyage and characteristically this is the best day for weather we have had. It pays to be an optimist in this job!
Roger Goodison, Captain RV Tangaroa (NIWA)