HMS PROTECTOR conducted Deployed Directed Continuation Training (DDCT) with a team of Flag Officer Sea Training staff onboard from 12th to the 16th Oct 14. Consequently, opportunities for ‘birding’ were severely restricted as the Ship’s Company reacted to numerous training serials to ensure the ship continued to be operated safely and was prepared for any eventuality that might arise during the 2014/15 ice season. During DDCT the pipe ‘Attention on the upper deck’ was made as PRTR sailed pass the wreck of the Type 21 Frigate HMS ARDENT that was lost during the 1982 Falkland Conflict. The frigate targeted by several waves of argentine aircraft suffered multiple hits from bombs and canon whilst operating in Falkland Sound on 21 May 82. The ship sank the following day in Grantham Sound. The ARDENT’s foremast was no longer visible.
HMS PROTECTOR at DP off Newhaven – 19 Oct 14
After successfully completing DDCT a significant defect on the Survey Motor Boat (SMB) threatened to jeopardise the planned Inshore Survey Operations of the Car Ferry route between East and West Falkland that operates from Newhaven. However, despite the 19th of October being a Reverse Saturday Routine (morning off) Steve and I continued our investigation into the cause of the defect. Fortunately, we managed to rectify the defect literally just hours before the planned launch of the SMB for a ten day Boat Camp whilst PRTR conducted Operations elsewhere in the Falkland Islands. At 1400 I clambered down the pilot ladder to board the SMB in order to provide engineering cover whilst all the systems were tested afloat. The unexpected boat trial provided me with the opportunity to get a distant view of the Imperial Shag colony on nearby Praltos Island and to get ashore briefly at Newhaven.
Imperial Shag colony, Praltos Island – 19 Oct 14
Gentoo Penguins, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14
I was surprised by the complete absence of any buildings at Newhaven. There were just several chacons beside the new jetty.
New Car Ferry ramp, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14
Survey Motor Boat alongside the new jetty, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14
After successful propulsion and sensor trials the SMB set off to drop a sonar reflector that would be used to calibrate the sonar before the commencement of the survey. Consequently, we rendezvoused with the diving team tasked with confirming the correct orientation of the sonar target on the seabed.
Diving team in support – 19 Oct 14
Turkey Vulture, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14
Concordia Bay car ferry – 19 Oct 14
Other species spotted included Kelp Gull, Southern Giant Petrel, Kelp Goose, Southern Caracara, Falkland Steamerduck, Blackish Oystercatcher and Rock Shag. However, the most numerous species was the Imperial Shag.
Rock Shag, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14
Imperial Shag, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14
Several days later I got another unexpected opportunity to visit the Boat Camp at Newhaven. On my second visit I had sufficient time to visit the nearby Gentoo Penguin colony and enjoy the other local birdlife typical of Falkland Island coastal waters at much closer quarters.
Tony T BSc (Hons) GeoSci (Open)