The Ernest Shackleton departed Rothera on 22nd March with the last of the 2006 winterers and summer visitors on board. It was an emotional time saying goodbye to everyone after such a brilliant summer. The final ship (the JCR) is due in April bringing a few supplies and collecting 30 builders who have been working on the new Bransfield building all summer. Once she leaves we 22 winterers will be left to fend for ourselves for about 6 months until the planes arrive at the start of the summer season.
The departing winterers stuck religiously to the age-old tradition of playing pranks on the new wintering team. The previous night many had returned from the ship to locked rooms (none of the rooms have keys but can be locked from inside, this had been done then the windows closed from the outside meaning use of ski-poles to unlock the windows!). After the ship had left we discovered all the spoons and 3 pool balls had been hidden. The 500m of CTD rope had been wound around the corridor of the Bonner Lab and inside mine, Birgits and Dicke's offices, tying in the kettle, mugs, chairs and all manner of objects along the way. Roger's favourite mug wound its way into the aquarium and the web-streamed radio had been tuned into a foreign station with the password changed. Still, we got our own back with hidden speaking alarm clocks and strategically placed ball bearings which would roll with the ship and no doubt be highly annoying!