HMS Enterprise’s highly successful survey activity in the South Atlantic has now drawn to a close as the ship and her crew commenced the long passage back to the UK at the beginning of March
The work however does not stop as the bows of the ship are turned northward.
The plethora of data (majority of it digital) collected in the 3 months on task has to be processed and interpreted to ensure spurious noise is removed, wrecks and features are accurately and fully described and our efforts documented in the Report of Survey to allow the UK Hyrdographic Office to correctly analyse the data to then update the affected charts.
That said, the return passage does allow a few activities over and above the regular routine.
National No Smoking day fell while the ship was at sea which gave the Leading Medical Assistants on board the chance to promote a healthier life style to the Ship’s Company offering advice on quitting smoking via a light hearted game of human monopoly.
However the most welcome event was our port visit to Bridgetown in Barbados primarily to allow the regular rotation of the crew to occur but also served to further support the UK and RN presence in the region.
While alongside the ship hosted a variety of island dignitaries including Mr Paul Brummell, the British High Commissioner to Barbados.
There was also the opportunity for some of the crew to meet and rub shoulders with cricketing legends such as Sir Garfield Sobers (former West Indies Captain 1965-1974), Mike Gatting OBE (England Captain 1986-1988) and 6 current County cricket teams who were in Barbados for pre-season training.
The “R’n’R” was most welcome and gave the crew an opportunity to view the wonderful sights and update the Ship’s Company photo.
Our return to the UK is not so much a return from deployment but the closing of a chapter in the latest extended deployment regime.
The next phase will be to undertake training as part of an international task force in a major exercise before once more heading to warmer climates after a spot of maintenance for the deployment’s next chapter.