Friday 26th March

We left our bunkering position at around 3 a.m. this morning. The ship's Master, Captain Roger Chamberlain, had a busy night leading operations from the Bridge, so we'll catch up with him another day.

At last we are underway, with all food, fuel, people and equipment aboard - anything missed, we will manage without.

Travelling at an average speed of 11 knots thanks to a following current, we have started the 1300-mile journey to the Cayman Trough. John Mitchell, the 2nd Officer, has explained some of the tools used to ensure that we arrive safely - for example, navigational equipment similar to the Global Positioning System (GPS) used in cars, along with paper maps, for plotting our route.

The Bridge has a superb 360-degree view of the surrounding seas. The officer on the Bridge also keeps an eye on other information such as water movement, other vessels around us, and our exact position - all displayed on a bank of monitors.

We start our watches at 0800h ship's time tomorrow. There will be three scientific watches: 0800h to 1600h, 1600h to 0000h, and 0000h to 0800h. Each watch is a multi-disciplinary team of biologists, chemists, physicists and geologists, which allows science to progress around the clock.

During our watches, there will be several key instruments, and various tasks, that need attention all the time. Mick Myers, from the Network Facilities Management team, gave us a tour of the equipment we needed to keep an eye on - for example the ship's gravity meter and multibeam sonar systems. Running these systems during our passage to the Cayman Trough should help to improve understanding of the wider geology of the area.

We rounded the day off with a presentation from Doug, the Principal Scientist, on the hydrothermal vents we're hunting for. Doug tempted us with some of the sights we hope to see when we reach our target area.

March 2010


April 2010



Find out more about the Cayman Trough, undersea volcanoes, deep-sea vents,
and the inhabitants of the abyss.
What are we investigating?


Take a tour of our research ship and our undersea vehicles, sensors and systems for exploring the ocean floor.
What are we using?


Meet the people aboard the ship: biologists and geologists, professors and students, engineers and mariners.
Who are we?