Thursday, 23 June 2016

HMCS SACKVILLE returns to the Waterfront

SACKVILLE spends late fall, winter, and spring within HMC Dockyard, in a more sheltered berth under the watchful eye of the Navy. It is therefore a sure sign that summer is coming when she returned to the Halifax waterfront and her summer berth in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. 

Ville class tug Granville wears an apron to avoid marking SACKVILLE's new paint, while Glenbrook is barely visible in the background on her port side.

Glenbrook is now in the usual position starboard aft, with Granville a little ahead of midships. 

Glenbrook and Granville shepherd SACKVILLE along the waterfront, with the new buildings at King's Wharf in Dartmouth in the background.

Glenbrook and Granville ease SACKVILLE into her berth. Theodore Too's stern can be seen to the left. Granville dropped off shortly after this was taken to avoid hitting Theodore Too.
This year threw a few kinks into the movement. SACKVILLE is normally kept port side to the jetty, but was rotated this spring for what I suspect was some painting work. The Glen class tugs normally secure starboard aft during a movement, but this time around Glenbrook had to start on the port side before shifting to starboard out in the harbour. The second kink was that Theodore Too was already berthed within the camber (the basin between wharves) where SACKVILLE berths, though on the opposite side. Normally the Ville class tug stays on the bow right into the berth, but this time left around the time the first lines were put onto the wharf.

Theodore Too sits on SACKVILLE's starboard side as she comes into her berth.

Granville showing off her apron, while SACKVILLE has handed off the first line to the wharf.
The water was nice and calm during SACKVILLE's transit, and her reflection shows up particularly well here. I might have cheated a bit in my post processing of the image, though, to make the reflection stand out better. As an aside, the best time for reflection photos of SACKVILLE (indeed, any ship along the waterfront) is during the early morning before 8:00 am on a calm morning. Bonus points for fog to simplify the background of the image:

Coincidentally, I have just such an image. Taken a year or two ago, the tugs weren't quite as gentle as can be seen from the scuff marks under the ship's pendant number.
The reflection can be especially impressive if you can get down low, for instance from the small boat floats. The camera here was just inches above the water's surface.
I usually find that the light transmission loss from the reflection off the water means that I have to apply a gradient filter to the image in post processing in order to balance the exposure from top to bottom of the image, in order to make the reflection really stand out. You could do the same thing (and retain slightly better image quality) if you had the forethought to pack a graduated neutral density filter to mount on your lens when you take the image, but I seldom have one with me.

But I digress. Back to the docking maneuver:

As SACKVILLE pulls into her berth in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, a volunteer with the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust hauls the bow line to a bollard. No, not that bollard - the next one!
The Navy usually contributes personnel to aid in SACKVILLE's transits to and from Dockyard, and this time around HMCS HALIFAX provided some of her ship's company. I've carefully selected some images to imply much more drama on the foc'st'le than there actually was. Otherwise, what's the point?

Diving for a rope.

Hauling the bow line through the bull nose. 

Admiring handiwork.

Taking a small break while ashore personnel make lines fast.
As the work of tying up SACKVILLE came to an end, but before the brow (gangway) could be lowered to the pier, a few breaks appeared in the clouds above and some sun appeared.

Space in the camber was a bit tight with Theodore Too on the opposite side, but SACKVILLE slid in easily with no major issues.

The Navy pilot gives instructions to the tugs via a handheld radio, while SACKVILLE's CO looks on.

A view from the other end, with Glenbrook still tied up alongside. SACKVILLE's ensign (the flag flying from the stern) is shown to good effect - it was flying during the entire transit.
Once SACKVILLE was properly alongside, and everything put away, it was time to raise the ship's jack on the jackstaff (the flag pole at the bow of the ship).

The raising of the jack, with the main mast of Bluenose v.2.5 in the background.

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