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    Mv Datchet


    Some photos of Mv Datchet. Built in 1969 in Singapore, she was a dive support vessel for the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service (RMAS). She was crewed by the Royal Navy, and thus she was entitled to wear the white ensign. She was retired from the RMAS in the 1990's. For the last 15 years or so she has been used as a general purpose workboat. Duties include - Buoy and mooring tending, survey duties, guard duties, towage, various support duties - salvage, crew change etc. She also still serves from time to time as a dive support vessel. She is also used as a 'back up' supply vessel for Lundy island. Between 2002 and 2009 i worked aboard her in the role of general crewman and engineer.

    In this thread i hope to post many of the photos that i took whilst aboard her. Plus i shall write accounts of a few of the adventures i had in that time.

    I have also posted another dozen or so images of Datchet in the 'Ships in Drydock' thread. They can be found Here

    A couple of shots of her alongside the jetty in the landing bay on Lundy. I think i took these around 2004.





    The next few shots were taken a couple of years ago on the south coast of Cornwall. We were sheltering behind the Lizard waiting for a south easterly to blow through before continuing our tow to the Isle of Wight.



    Last edited by Steve.B; February 18th, 2012, 05:23. Reason: Additions
    Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

    #2
    A couple more shots from the same location.






    And a couple of shots of her alongside her tow after arrival at Cowes.



    Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

    Comment


      #3
      Another shot of her at Lundy.



      And a photo of her alongside her next tow job in Falmouth.

      Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

      Comment


        #4
        Just leaving the quay. Nobody to let go the final lines from the quay, so we volunteered Jason for the job. Of course we promised not to leave him on the barge for too long.

        Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

        Comment


          #5
          One job that Datchet had every summer from 2003 until 2007 was working with marine biologists studying the sea life around Lundy. Lundy is home to England's only marine nature reserve. One part of each years survey duties involved comparing various sea life in the protected area, to sea life that was just outside the area. For two weeks every year this involved laying lobster pots around the island, each day for the two weeks we would haul the gear aboard, record what was caught, then re-shoot the gear for the next day. This was followed by three weeks of under water studies by teams of divers.

          If the weather was nice this was a dream job, a few hours work each day in the calm crystal clear waters around the island, then back to our mooring in the landing bay - job done. In the evening we would take the rib for little trips along the coast, exploring the caves etc. Other evenings we would all be up in the little pub on the island, or simply enjoy a nice barbecue on the aft deck. All very relaxed and civilized in nice weather. The landing bay at Lundy is only exposed to easterly weather and is surrounded by high cliffs, so it could be blowing a force 10 south westerly but in the landing bay it would be as calm as anything. But if the weather threatened to come from the east you moved QUICK!

          Here is a little video i found on YouTube, it was taken by one of our passengers during one of the surveys during 2007. Be warned, the video stars 'Smutty Puff', the puffin, one of Datchets mascots.

          Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

          Comment


            #6
            That was so great--and so well done! Looks like a really fun summer!

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you for the pictures.

              Do you have an pictures inside Mv Datchet?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by pilotdane View Post
                Do you have an pictures inside Mv Datchet?
                For some reason i am having trouble finding any of the interior, i have got some tucked away on a back up cd somewhere, but my filing system is about as bad as it gets, i was looking through one stack last night, no luck yet, but i will keep on looking! If not, next time i am on the boat i shall get some.
                Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Steve, I so much enjoyed your account of Datchet’s activities at Lundy island. It brought back memories of visiting the island on a day trip when I was a child. Although the weather was wonderful, with the sea looking like the proverbial millpond as in your first photo, my mother started to feel really ill (though was not actually sea sick if you get what I mean). She was unable to land, and there was even talk about alerting an ambulance to meet the boat on its return to Ilfracombe. However, my Dad let me land on the island where I had a wonderful time exploring on my own.

                  It was all attributed to the peculiar swell you can get in the Bristol Channel, though it would be many years later before I got to see another manifestation of that complex tidal geography – the Severn bore.

                  The research activities evoked memories too – though there was always much discussion as to whether the biologists or the geologists got the better field trips!

                  As for Smutty Puff, I think he should be awarded an Oscar.
                  (But careful, pakarang, that video might be just a bit too adult for Lookchin Bear!)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Seagull View Post
                    It was all attributed to the peculiar swell you can get in the Bristol Channel, though it would be many years later before I got to see another manifestation of that complex tidal geography – the Severn bore.
                    The Severn bore is something i have never seen for myself, though i have seen it on tv a few times, so weird to watch breaking waves coming up river against the flow! I must admit i do not like traveling up the Servern estuary by boat - mainly the part that flows under the Severn crossings. The currents and tides are just so strong there. Any sort of mechanical breakdown and you know your going to have a big problem. I know they have lost a few boats on that stretch, for whatever reason they have strayed out of the deep water channel and run aground, then the strength of the tide as literally just rolled them over. No, certainly not a place i enjoy.
                    Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      So far i have only found a few photos of inside Datchet.

                      Main switchboard in E/R.




                      Port M/E. (Gardner 6LXCT)




                      Part of my workshop.




                      And a grease monkey!(Never seen him before in my life!)

                      Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Datchet with another tow. This time she is taking part of a tidal turbine to Strangford lough in Northern Ireland. Datchet has been involved with several tidal turbine projects over the last few years.


                        This is what the finished product looks like.


                        Bottom image from alt.energy.
                        See HERE for technical details.

                        In the details on that link you will have read about the previous version that was installed off the North Devon coast. That unit was called Seaflow, it was the first underwater tidal turbine to operate in the UK. Datchet was involved in this project right from the start many years ago.

                        One of Datchets Ribs dropping MCT staff onto Seaflow.
                        Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The following photo's of Datchet have been sent to me via e mail over the last year or so.

                          Datchet at home in Bideford.

                          Photo credit: Roy C

                          Datchet out playing off Cowes on the Isle of Wight.


                          Photo credit - MCDO Duncan Bridge from the R.N Clearance Divers Site.
                          Last edited by Steve.B; February 18th, 2012, 04:18.
                          Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Another photo that was e mailed to me.
                            Datchet in her Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service days!

                            This is another photo that can be found on the R.N Clearance Divers Site.
                            Last edited by Steve.B; February 18th, 2012, 04:23.
                            Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Waverider Buoys.

                              Another Datchet pastime is dealing with these things - Waverider buoys. These buoys collect and transmit real time data for Cefas. Cefas - 'Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science' is part of DEFRA.

                              The waverider buoys send this data via satellite to the 'WaveNet' department of Cefas. The information is in areas at risk from flooding. Data from this network will be used to improve the management of flood and coastal erosion risk for which Defra has policy responsibility. The wave data is also be used to validate the Met Office wave model which is run 4 times daily. Basic data from these buoys can be viewed on a map of the British Isles HERE. This basic data will only give you the current wave heights from specific monitoring locations.

                              The buoy pictured below is one of the ones that used to be stationed approx 25 miles to the west of Lundy Island. But on several occasions in it's first year and a half of operations it suffered from being hit by fishing trawlers. On one such occasion it was trawled down to a depth of over 50 meters causing the casing to crush under the pressure. Luckily it remained water tight. Once back on the sea surface the fishermen simply cut it free from their gear and set it adrift. It was damaged enough to prevent it transmitting data, so Cefas were unable to trace it. It was finally found washed ashore on the North Devon coast. When examined it was found that it was still recording data. From this data they determined that it had indeed been trawled down in fishing gear, one second it was reporting itself as being stationary on the sea surface, 5 seconds later it was travelling at 7knts heading rapidly down to 50 meters!
                              We deployed a replacement buoy from Datchet, but several weeks later this one was also hit, this time the buoy suffered no damage other than being cut from it's moorings. We were not available at the time to go and retrieve the buoy, but Cefas monitored it via GPS. On this occasion the buoy headed south and was eventually picked up by a Spanish fishing boat. Apparently the fisherman held it to ransom demanding a reward for finding it.

                              We redeployed another buoy on the same site, but once again, within a couple of months it had been cut loose again - and yes, before you ask, there was a large 'Guard Buoy' on station with it, and that never got hit once! My personal theory is that passing fishermen used to steam over to the Guard buoy to see what it was, and in the process they would run down the smaller waverider buoy that the Guard buoy was protecting. This time we were available to set off in hot pursuit of the buoy. The only problem being that the location data we received from wavenet was always half hour old by the time it reached us. Only about half a meter of these buoys show above the surface, so unless the sea is flat calm you do not stand much chance of picking it up on radar. It's also very difficult to spot by sight. We spent four hours on that trip knowing that we must have been within 500 meters of it, but could we spot it?? Nope. In the end we decided to wait until dark knowing that the buoy had a light on it. So we left it and headed into shallower waters to drop the anchor for a few hours. Once it was totally dark we got a new position fix for the buoy and headed off towards her. We spotted her from over a mile and a half away! Once we had it on deck we examined the rubber bungie that connects it to it's moorings, it had been cut with an Hacksaw blade!
                              Once more we deployed the buoy in that particular location. And once again, within a couple of months it was adrift once more. This time it was merrily making it's way up the St Georges channel into the Irish Sea. We eventually caught up with abeam of Holyhead. And this time luck must have been on our side, because despite being very foggy, we found the darn thing in daylight 5 minutes after asking for a position fix. Just happened to look out of the side window of the bridge and there it was, right beside us! Thank god for that! Once we had it safely on deck we worked out the tides for our return trip. We trundled back slowly south waiting for the tide to turn in our favour, once it did we had worked out we would not make the next high tide at Bideford (Can only cross the bar at high water), so we decided to stop in one of the lovely bays on the Welsh coast. We would resume our journey the next morning and go across the bar on the afternoon tide. So with that the rescue boat was lowered into the water, and off we went for a nice pub meal and a pint.
                              On arriving back at the quayside in Bideford the next afternoon the guy from Cefas was waiting on the quay for us with a van to take the buoy back to base. He looked at us with a grin on is face as we tied up and said, 'Enjoy your evening in the pub last night lads?'. Uhh, how did he know that?, we certainly had not told him because we were being paid for all the time we were out! Then it dawned on us.... that darn Buoy had been reporting back to Cefas where it was all the time. And when Dave - the guy from Cefas watched it pull into the nice little bay in Wales, he soon sussed where we were going! 'Dont blame you he said, I would have done the same'!

                              This is the Buoy we chased up the Irish Sea - the one that snitched on us!


                              Anyway, after this final escape, cefas decided to reposition the buoy. It now lives in safety further up the Bristol channel. Since it's move it's not broken free at all, though on one occasion we did have to go over to Ireland to retrieve it's guard buoy from the Harbour Master at Rosslare!
                              Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

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