The Royal Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise a ship we have seen many times in Falmouth for drydocking during her career is carrying out scientific research in Antarctica.
More than 7,000 miles from her home in Plymouth, the survey ship is spending the end of the Austral summer supporting British scientists and using her hi-tech array of sensors to update naval charts produced long before computers and underwater sonars.
The ship handed duties to her sister HMS Echo last autumn, then headed to the Falkland Islands to relieve regular patrol ship HMS Clyde.
The rare visit to the Falklands has allowed HMS Enterprise to update charts and survey the wrecks of RN ships in time for 35th anniversary commemorations of the 1982 conflict later this year.
Joining the ship for the three-day trip to South Georgia were the senior officer in the Falklands, Commodore Darren Bone, British Antarctic Survey (BAS) experts, troops from the Roulement Infantry Company and the island’s Rapier air-defence battery. BAS scientists recorded whales and dolphins en-route.
HMS Enterprise navigator Lieutenant Kyle O’Regan had to resort to using old-fashioned charts produced using lead lines to record depths many years ago when he guided the ship safely into harbour.
The sailors spent two days in the capital of the island using their small survey launch Spitfire to chart the shallowest waters, getting close to even more wildlife – fur and elephant seals, albatross and yet more penguins – and enduring every possible weather event: snow, high winds, rain, glorious sunshine.