Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Lunenburg Waterfront

I had heard that a schooner was being launched this past Sunday, and figuring that they would launch on the high tide, I headed over to see if I could photograph the launch. Unfortunately, I was too late, but there were still some picturesque scenes for me to capture.

David Westergard continues to build schooners in the historic Smith & Rhuland shed on the Lunenburg waterfront.

The launching ways lead into the water from the old Smith & Rhuland shed.

A more modern version of the traditional fishing dory.

The schooner whose launch I missed on Sunday, already tied up at a nearby wharf.

Further along the waterfront, other boats prepare to take to the water. Wooden boats often need to allow their planking to swell up at the beginning of a season, and to prevent them from sinking, they often need to sit on the shore while this occurs. This may be what was happening here. 

Not all the boats in Lunenburg were sitting alongside or on the shore - the tour boat in the background was taking passengers around the harbour.

It started out overcast, but the sky cleared and provided some beautiful light on the waterfront.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Portuguese Navy's SAGRES II and Bluenose II

On possibly her first visit since the tall ships festival in 1984 (Shipfax suggests this isn't the case, and she has been here since), the Portuguese Navy's sail training barque SAGRES paid a visit to Halifax today, docking at Pier 24 just at after 10:00 this morning. I decided to put my Father's Day gift, a new fitness tracker, to good use and walked down to the ferry and then to the seaport.

SAGRES was fairly small on the horizon when seen from the ferry, and was carrying minimal sail.
SAGRES is one of a number of near sisterships that include the US Coast Guard's EAGLE, the German Navy's GORCH FOCK II, and Romania's MIRCEA. SAGRES is actually the second or third ship of that name in the Portuguese Navy, though online sources are unclear on whether she should be SAGRES II or SAGRES III - when she was here in 1984, it is my recollection that she was referred to as SAGRES II, and that is how I always think of her. 

On her entry to Halifax Harbour, SAGRES pulled up to the camber containing Pier 24, and two Ville class tugs of the RCN took up lines from bow and stern, and SAGRES was guided in stern first. Around this time, Bluenose II headed out with a load of guests.

Bluenose II heading out while tugs bring SAGRES into Pier 24.

The Navy's Ville class of small tugs often wear aprons over their bumpers to prevent marking the white hulls of certain visiting ships.

The lighting was not in our favour this morning, with the ship backlit for the entire approach.

Standing in the shadow of the ship's ensign yielded this image of the illuminated flag.

Members of what I assume was the Stadacona Band were on hand to greet SAGRES.

Pier 24 is not the most accessible or picturesque pier in the Port of Halifax - I personally would have preferred her to tie up further north in a more accessible portion of the waterfront. EAGLE has used the Cable Wharf in the past, however, the ongoing construction of the Queen's Marque development makes this impossible at the moment, and this may partly explain SAGRES berthing location.

After being securely tied up, the jack is raised on a staff midway along the bowsprit.

After finishing up with SAGRES, I headed north once more to catch the ferry back to Dartmouth. My walk was interrupted when I saw that Bluenose II was headed back to her own temporary berth in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Like SAGRES II, it is unclear what number the current Bluenose should be. Although formally called Bluenose II by her owners, the Province of Nova Scotia, the original Bluenose II (launched in 1963 as a mascot for the Oland Brewing Company) ended its life in a wood chipper, and the current Bluenose II is a complete new schooner from the keel up, and to slightly different lines. She should properly be called Bluenose III, and I have sometimes been known to refer to her as Bluenose v2.5. Regardless, she is an attractive sight when sailing the harbour, and without the original Bluenose II to compare her to, she is virtually indistinguishable from her namesake. 

Although "sailing" with the wind, her sails are hauled in tight, and she was making her way past George's Island under engine power when this image was taken. 

I managed this angle of her approach by kneeling on the floating wharf opposite Bluenose II's berth.

This early in the season, the floating wharf is unusually devoid of small boats, allowing this unencumbered viewing angle of Bluenose II and her reflection on the water. I needed a 12mm lens (18mm equivalent on my APS-C camera) to fit everything in.
Last year was the big tall ships festival for Canada's 150th year, so this year I will have to make do with the table scraps thrown my way with the occasional barque and schooner. 

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Refitting HMCS SACKVILLE - Progress Report

On Friday, I managed to make my way down for lunch in the Dockyard with the SACKVILLE trustees, and afterwards carted my safety equipment over to visit SACKVILLE herself to view the progress of her refit. Workers have spent several months surveying the condition of the plates and frames that make up the hull, and making plans to remediate the greatest problems in order to keep her afloat for the coming years.

As such, she is surrounded by scaffolding, and the entire hull is currently painted in "red lead". The photos below show her current status.

This was the state of SACKVILLE the last time I saw her, on the day she was hauled into the submarine maintenance building.

SACKVILLE on June 8, 2018. All the hatches are open to gain access, the whaler is missing, and the hull is painted red.

SACKVILLE is completely surrounded by scaffolding, so it is impossible to see the entire hull unimpeded.

My favourite vantage point, because it is such a unique perspective of SACKVILLE.

The scaffolding makes it difficult to get a good view of the hull.

View from the stern.

Repair and restoration work is scheduled to begin soon, and should be complete in time to allow SACKVILLE to return to the water this fall.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Battle of the Atlantic Sunday 2018

This is the 5th year that I have photographed the Battle of the Atlantic service and committal ceremony, so I will not go on at length about this year's edition, except to post the photos - especially where it is more than a week later and I have not even completed processing the photos yet!

This year, HMCS HALIFAX was assigned to take the families out for the service and committal ceremony off Point Pleasant Park.

A Glen tug approaches as we prepare to depart the jetty.

Sailors lined up on the quarterdeck with the ship's ensign flying.

Once HMCS HALIFAX was away from the jetty, the two Glen tugs dropped their lines and headed out to the west of George's Island while HALIFAX headed out on the eastern side.

As we approached the designated spot off Point Pleasant Park, the crew brought up the containers of ashes of those to be committed later in the morning, so that they could be arranged in order.

Trustees of HMCS SACKVILLE organizing the containers of ashes.

Trustees of HMCS SACKVILLE organizing the containers of ashes.

Commander Scott Nelson, CO of HMCS HALIFAX, stands in the centre of the flight deck during the service.

Battle of the Atlantic Service.

Battle of the Atlantic Service.

Commander Nelson and the ship's cox'n, CPO1 Gerry Doutre, prepare to deposit a wreath in the harbour.
It is difficult to find unique angles and images from year to year, but each ship does things slightly differently. This was something new that I didn't capture in years previous.

Saluting as ashes are committed over the side of the ship.

Committal of ashes.

A CH-148 Cyclone helicopter drops a wreath off the sailors memorial in Point Pleasant Park where another service was taking place. 

Piping of ashes during the committal ceremony.

Crew preparing lines prior to our return to the Dockyard.

The Canadian Coast Guard's Cape Roger heading out with an RCN sailor silhouetted in the foreground.

HMCS HALIFAX upon our return to the jetty.

The entire gallery of photos can be found here.

For previous years, please see the following:

Monday, 30 April 2018

Maiden Voyage of Norwegian Bliss

While not the largest cruise ship to visit Halifax, Norwegian Bliss is certainly getting up there, boasting 303 metres in length, 168,000 tonnes, and up to 4,004 passengers. She also boasts a more than 300 metre long go-cart track that spans two levels and large water slides that actually hang over the side of the ship.

Watching Norwegian Bliss pull out from behind George's Island in the fog reminded me of the opening gag in the movie "Spaceballs" where, in a parody of the opening of "Star Wars", there is a seemingly endless reveal of a space ship.

OK, I think that's all of her.

 No, apparently the fog bank was hiding the upper decks.

This angle isn't any better.

As impressive as these ships undoubtedly are, the artwork on the bow of these ships is presumably intended to distract the viewer from the fact that the age of beautiful ocean liners is long past.

Another look at the bow artwork.

Another "Spaceballs" type shot.

This is probably the most flattering angle on one of these ships.
One would trust that prices for cruises at this time of year are heavily discounted - for their visit today, passengers could look forward to heavy fog, heavy rain, and a chilly wind. Not exactly the weather for sunning oneself on the upper deck or taking in the water slides.

After leaving Halifax in the evening, Norwegian Bliss is headed to New York. 

Some information here was cribbed from this CTV story.