Sailor spends ‘summer’ in the southern hemisphere

Leading Seaman Richard Walton on board HMS Protector
Leading Seaman Richard Walton on board HMS Protector

A seasoned sailor from Aylesbury is visiting parts of the world some of us can only dream of aboard the Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship.

Leading Seaman Richard Walton, 29, is deployed on the HMS Protector on the Antarctic Peninsula as a hydrographic surveyor.

He supervises the collection, processing and rendering of data gathered in survey operations relating to tides, depth, gradient and seabed textures.

The data is then used for civilian purposes to create and update navigation charts and publications for the UK’s Hydrographic Office.

As well as this responsibility, Richard is trained in first aid, boat navigation and fleet protection, as well as being part of the ship’s firefighting and damage control teams.

The former Aylesbury College student, who has been part of the Royal Navy for five years, said: “Although I’ve only been on the ice patrol ship for two months. “I’ve already seen some amazing things in the Antarctic Peninsula, especially the wildlife.

“Seeing huge colonies of various species of penguins on land and swimming through the sea is spectacular.

“The smell, however, is not!

“I’ve also seen humpback whales for the first time.”

Richard has been previously deployed on HMS Enterprise in the Mediterranean and Gulf regions.