Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Hiatus....and fancy yachts

I'm on a bit of a hiatus from posting to the blog at the moment, due to a busy summer and a few other projects that I have on the go - some of which I hope to announce soon.

In the meantime, check out my Smugmug website for photos of some of the yachts that have visited Halifax this summer: Hetairos, Marie, and Satisfaction.

Also, there was a sailpast by the Cunard ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth on Friday night last week.

That's all for now.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Container Ship CMA CGM Orfeo

Container ships are getting larger and larger, and CMA CGM Orfeo is one of the larger vessels to call in Halifax these days (though there are much larger ships out there). Seeing her alongside at Halterm  last Sunday with several cranes working her cargo of containers puts her into some perspective.

Loading is almost complete in this photo.

Tugs are present, and the ship is preparing to depart.

Orfeo left the pier and headed out as we were heading back to the jetty in VILLE DE QUEBEC.


Based in Halifax since 2017 after a long stint on the West Coast, HMCS ORIOLE first arrived in time for Tall Ships 2019. She underwent a refit in Lunenburg over the winter of 2017/2018, and then did a Great Lakes tour in 2018, and I believe is due for another in 2019. ORIOLE is the oldest RCN vessel in commission.

After an event at the Royal Nova Scotian Yacht Squadron on Saturday, ORIOLE sailed past HMCS VILLE DE QUEBEC during the Battle of the Atlantic service on Sunday, May 5.

Although initially under sail flying her spinnaker, possibly with wind filtered down through the northwest arm, light wind caused the spinnaker to collapse several times and she gave up on sail and reverted to engine power. Without her sails up, she rolled a fair bit in the swell to which both ships were presenting their beam.

Hopefully I will manage to catch her properly under sail before she heads to the Great Lakes.

ARM Cuauhtémoc

While we were out for the Battle of the Atlantic service on Sunday, we caught the arrival of the Mexican Navy's sail training vessel, ARM Cuauhtémoc. A sister-ship to Gloria, Simon Bolivar, and Guayas, the barque is similar in design to the Blohm & Voss designs such as Gorch Fock, USCGC Eagle, and NRP Sagres (the latter visited about a year ago).

Cuauhtémoc appearing out of the fog.

If you look closely, you can see the sailors manning the yard arms.

Beam to, with the tugs hidden behind.

The lighthouses on Georges and McNabs Islands to the left.

Cuauhtémoc pulled into Pier 24.

Cuauhtémoc was open to the public over several days, and I managed to get onboard on the final day, Wednesday, before her departure. 

As with many similar vessels, Cuauhtémoc was flying a huge ensign from the mizzen mast.

Each stair tread bears the ship's name.

One of the ship's boats.

The rest of the photos can be found here.

Battle of the Atlantic Sunday 2019

As a trustee with the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust (CNMT), the group that looks after HMCS SACKVILLE, I try to head out each year for the service and committal ceremony on the first Sunday in May. Although partly out of self interest because of the different perspective on the harbour, I am ostensibly there to take photos of the service and ceremony for the Trust, in particular to ensure that families unable to make it for the committal have some photos of the event. This year we were hosted by HMCS VILLE DE QUEBEC.

Padres giving the service.

The ship's Executive Officer (XO), LCDR Hodgson, stands on the flight deck during the service.

Crew "fall in" on the flight deck during the service.

A bell is rung as the name of each ship lost during the Battle of the Atlantic is read.

The ship's Cox'n, CPO1 Dan Savard, and CO Michael Eelhart salute during the service.

The ship's Cox'n, CPO1 Dan Savard, and CO Michael Eelhart throw a wreath over the side during the service.

During the service, we received a flypast by one of the new CH-148 Cyclone helicopters based out of CFB Shearwater. 

In the foreground is the wreath thrown over a few minutes before by the CO and Cox'n.

The Cyclone flies in front of the lighthouse on McNab's Island.

The Cyclone hovers in front of the sailor's memorial in Point Pleasant Park and the Battle of the Atlantic service being held there in order to drop a wreath.

After the service, the ashes of veteran's are brought out onto the flight deck for the committal ceremony.

The containers of ashes are placed on a board under the flag of their service, and slid over the side.

The first container of ashes slide over the side.

Ashes and a wreath just after hitting the water.

The monkey's fist and messenger line are thrown to the jetty in order to pull across the larger mooring line.

Two messenger lines have made it to the jetty.

The service and ceremony were once held onboard SACKVILLE herself, but in recent years the Navy has provided a frigate for this event, which provides much more space for families, catering facilities, the availability of medical staff if necessary, and generally greater flexibility in the event of poor weather. This has been much appreciated over the last five events.

The 2019 event benefited from beautiful sunny weather, and I left with a considerable sunburn on my neck and face. I'll never learn, it appears.

The entire gallery can be found here

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Return from Operation Projection

By heading down for lunch on board HMCS SACKVILLE in HMC Dockyard, I was just in time to catch the return of Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDV) KINGSTON (MM 700) and SHAWINIGAN (MM 704). Both ships participated in a 5-month long cruise to Western Africa as part of Operation Projection. 

KINGSTON was already alongside when I arrived, and the crew were seeing their families for the first time in months.
Also alongside, and their crews manning the rails (of the outside ships at least), were VILLE DE QUEBEC (background), GOOSE BAY (left and aft of KINGSTON), and GLACE BAY (right and aft of KINGSTON).

SHAWINIGAN making her first appearance from my position.

Tugs alongside, SHAWINIGAN enters the camber.

The crew of GOOSE BAY doffing their caps to the arriving SHAWINIGAN.

Tugs easing SHAWINIGAN alongside KINGSTON.

Though small and under-armed (currently with only a pair of .50 calibre machine guns on the bridge wings), these ships still manage to provide useful service, and seem to be ideal for coastal missions showing the flag such as Operation Project along the coast of Western Africa.

Formerly armed with 40mm Bofors guns on mountings that could trace their direct lineage to the Second World War (the legendary "Boffin"), these ships were designed and built to be manned by the Naval Reserve and provide a notional mine warfare capability (or, at least, mine warfare training) along with other utility functions. While the 40mm gun has been removed from all the ships, and a remote weapons system trialed on GOOSE BAY not adopted for permanent installation, these ships have been deploying fairly widely in recent years, with the African coastal trips probably the most ambitious.