Spa days for Silurian


This week our much loved research vessel received some mid-season maintenance, Bruce Crawford who joined the team to lend a helping hand tells us what they’ve been up to on board…

As Volunteers we all know how hard Silurian works for us, and for HWDT, to give us a great experience while we sail the Sea of the Hebrides and The Minch collecting vital data on cetaceans, and wonderful personal memories. The elements and the seas give us all a bit of a battering, and suntan, chapped lips, and the odd bruise is par for the course. In a like manner the conditions take their toll on Silurian as well, and once in a while she needs a break for a bit of ‘spa treatment’ which is masterminded, and managed by Emma.

Some jobs are best done with more than one pair of hands so Rod (valued relief crew, and very experienced HWDT volunteer) and I (relatively new volunteer) were delighted that we both had time to spare to help Emma get a bit of maintenance and improvement work done this week. Rod and I are both keen amateur yachtsmen, but really, as with survey volunteers, more important than knowledge is a good attitude to a bit of hard work. Emma gave us the benefit of her experience, and taught us the best practice to get jobs done.


Together the three of us scraped, sanded, taped, and prepared the upper deck, and repainted all the blue ‘grippy’ areas. We were in a race against a forecast of rain. Luckily this time the forecast was wrong, and we gained an extra hour or two to allow the deck paint to dry and harden before the rain came. The luck with the weather also allowed us a break or two for the food that fuels all Silurian’s best work: cake. I think I can safely speak for Emma and Rod when I express hearty thanks to the bakers and suppliers of cakes (Becky and the Curleys) that kept our energy levels topped up.


The deck now looks like a beautiful tropical swimming pool, good enough to paddle in. That was the ‘dream’ job, and was followed up by several smaller jobs. The ‘to be done’ list on a working yacht like Silurian will never be completed, and definitely not in 3 days, but I think we made a decent dent in it, and had a good time working together. Once the day’s work was as done as it could be the three of us repaired to the Mac Arms where we had the opportunity to meet other permanent members of HWDT staff, who are all great company, and to hear more about other aspects of the Trust’s work.

For me, as well as the satisfaction of being able to see Silurian a little bit brighter, and newer is the joy of having met and made more new friends now we have shared a day or two of hard work, and jobs well done, and that for me is so much of HWDT is all about.

There are still a few berths remaining if you’d like to join a research expedition this summer or autumn, come on board and see the new paint job for yourself!

Alison Lomax