Tour of the ship - 28 January 2008
About 41 deg S
The RRS Ernest Shackleton was built in 1995 and is approximately 80m long. It is arranged on three bridge decks, three service decks and two engine room decks. Each deck has a different coloured ceiling to help you orientate around the ship:
From the top there is bridge deck level three, which contains the main bridge and wheelhouse, where all of the navigation and steering of the ship is done. It’s the place in the ship where the best views from inside can be gained because of the continuous angled windows all the way round. It is one large open plan space with screens, illuminated banks of control buttons (some of which flash), and coffee making facilities. I can’t help thinking how much it reminds me of the Starship Enterprise bridge, but that probably demonstrates just how few ship’s bridges I have been on.
Below bridge level three is bridge level two. Here are the cabins for the core of the ship’s crew, including the Captain, Chief engineer and Comms Engineer. Conveniently for the officers it is also the level at which the life boats are housed. You have to be quiet on this level as the crew are always sleeping - actually I mean to say there are always some crew members sleeping.
On Bridge level one, below that, are the cabins for the main crew and other important people.
Below this is Deck A. Here are the remaining crew members (including stewards, cooks, engineers), ourselves (Andy and I) and some of the steward’s stores. This is also the level at which you would board the Shackleton from the dock side. Most of the cabins have views out but some are positioned within the ship and do not have a port hole window. Further back from this area are the hatch doors to the cargo holds and right at the back, elevated, is a helipad. We are currently not carrying a helicopter, but a Caterpillar D9.
Below this is B deck where the lounges (smoking and non smoking) and TV room and bar are. It also has the galley and mess room. This is all situated towards the front of the ship. Towards the middle is the upper level of the main cargo hold, the aft cargo hold behind that, and the rear open deck right at the back (under the helipad). At the back here are also the wet and dry science labs.