Friday, 30 September 2016

Photos this week: September 26-30

The week started off sunny, and there was nice warm lighting from the morning's rising sun. HMCS ST. JOHN'S was still on the Syncrolift where I last saw her, although a bit higher out of the water. The blue antifouling is showing through a bit better now, and the black may just be harbour scum. Having a similar colour of blue antifouling on my own boat, I am well familiar with the boat not being quite the same colour when she comes out of the water as when she went in.

Looking further out the harbour, there was a procession of three cruise ships on their way in, along with some naval traffic.

Rotterdam, Norwegian Gem, Disney Magic, with HMCS VILLE DE QUEBEC is just visible to the far right.
Norwegian Gem and Rotterdam.
As always, it was a challenge to get them all lined up just right, but I managed a variety of combinations.

Norwegian Gem, Disney Magic, and Rotterdam.
Monday also saw two separate species of cormorant circling the harbour.

This guy was diving for fish in front of Bishop's Landing.
And this guy (RCAF CH-148 Cormorant) was circling overhead. It didn't catch any fish that I am aware of.
The Coast Guard's Sir William Alexander returned to port in the rain on Tuesday.

CCGS Sir William Alexander.

Wednesday brought a new group of ships, including what I assume is the one and only cruise ship ever built in Halifax.

Pearl Mist and Crystal Serenity. The former was built by Halifax Shipyard and delivered in 2013.
Anthem of the Seas was also a return visitor. The ship features a viewing pod mounted on the end of a long crane arm, seen deployed here.
Friday brought another procession of cruise ships, this time comprising of Serenade of the Seas, Azamara Quest, and once again Disney Magic as tail-end charlie. Celebrity Summit arrived later in the day, and I missed her.

Serenity of the Seas, Azamara Quest, Theodore Too, and Disney Magic
As usual, Theodore Too was greeting the cruise ships as they arrived. HMCS SHAWINIGAN also put in an appearance.

Azamara Quest, Theodore Too, SHAWINIGAN, and Disney Magic.
Azamara Quest fortunately turned and allowed me to catch her with some sunlight on the starboard side.
Cruise ships these days are not often what one would call beautiful, but occasionally you get one that makes up for the rest. Queen Mary 2 is one that I approve of, and the Disney ships (despite the Mickey Mouse flourishes) also do the trick. I might even go a step further, and say that Disney Magic and her sisters are probably some of the best looking of the bunch of modern cruise ships.

Disney Magic.
Broadside view of Disney Magic.
The Disney and Queen Mary 2 designs seem to me to harken back to earlier ocean liners of the 20th century, which is probably why I prefer them to the rest.

Theodore Too.
HMCS SHAWINIGAN returning from a successful arctic cruise.
Also on Friday, SPS PATINO returned to Halifax.

SPS PATINO, Spanish Navy replenishment tanker.
As I was rushing to take pictures of the ships arriving this morning, I glanced aside to see what another of my fellow commuters was taking pictures of - and saw a Great Blue Heron standing in the water just to the side of the boardwalk.

Great Blue Heron. I am not used to getting this close.
I was able to change my angle slightly to fill the background with reflections of the Halifax skyline.
I will finish off with this dramatic sky from yesterday afternoon.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Photos this week: September 19-23

I don't have much time to write today, so I'll just share some of the photos I took this week around the harbour.

Norwegian Gem arriving in the fog on Monday morning.
If you look closely, you can see HMCS SUMMERSIDE sneaking in behind Norwegian Gem.

Norwegian Gem turned 180 degrees before coming alongside.

A large crane on a barge has been stored on the Dartmouth shore next to the Macdonald Bridge. It looked particularly interesting in the fog on Monday.

Bluenose v2.5 was in port this week, and the calm harbour on Monday made for nice reflections.

The Navy was also busy this week too, starting on Monday when GOOSE BAY and SUMMERSIDE emerged out of the fog. The Navy's paint scheme blends well into the fog, and I had to resort to manual focus for many of these shots, as there was not enough contract to use the autofocus. 


HMCS GOOSE BAY passing the George's Island lighthouse.

The fog thickened up a little bit before SUMMERSIDE could make her way in.
Friday provided two special treats, with GOOSE BAY and SUMMERSIDE anchored in formation at dawn, and HMCS ST. JOHN'S being hoisted on the Syncrolift for maintenance.

The Syncrolift was originally built to handle the OBERON class submarines purchased for the RCN in the 1960s, and there was originally a tent-shaped shed that the subs could be rolled into for long term maintenance and refits. In the mid-1980s, the Syncrolift itself was upgraded to handle up to 6000 tonne "NATO" frigates, and it could then handle the destroyers of the day. With the purchase of the VICTORIA class submarines in the late 1990s, the old shed was no longer big enough, and while the Syncrolift platform could lift the new subs, it could not support them to be rolled inshore as the VICTORIA class have a larger load density (e.g. higher tonnes per length) and the inshore portion of the platform (and associated winches) had to be upgraded once again. Around the same time, the sub shed itself was torn down, and replaced with the new structure shown in the photos below which can handle the VICTORIA class.

Blocked up on the Syncrolift, ST. JOHN'S is hoisted out of the water. 

The blocking under the ship has to be fairly tall in order to accommodate the ship's propellers, which draw considerably more water than the hull. If you look closely, you can see some of the old blue antifouling paint peaking out from underneath the current black colour. Prior to the blue, I believe a grey colour was used. You could probably write a short paper on the procession of different colours of antifouling paint used by the Navy over the years. 

The heaviest part (or greatest load density) of the ships and subs is the middle part of the ship, and the platform and winches under that portion of the ship have to be able to handle the larger load. You can see the smaller winches on the harbour side, with larger winches located under the ship's funnel (and machinery spaces). 

I got a good chuckle when I zoomed in on images of what I presume is one of hte Navy's boarding teams heading out on Friday, with several members holding what appeared to be Tim Horton's cups in their hands. 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Exercise Cutlass Fury Sailpast

What better way to kick off the Royal Canadian Navy's Cutlass Fury exercise than a good old fashioned sailpast of the Halifax waterfront? Apart from the few times that RCN vessels have deployed in task groups in recent years, this has been the first proper sailpast in many years. After scouting several locations, I eventually decided on the wharf at Sackville Landing. It wasn't my first pick, but was a useful trade-off in that it was less crowded, and I had the option of running for the boardwalk south of the tug wharf to get shots of the ships departing in a line.

Overall, it was a a beautiful day for the sailpast, even if the light was a bit harsh (and the photos required a bit of Photoshop help).

Of the ships participating in the exercise, the two supply ships (USNS Robert E Peary and SPS PATINO) left early and did not participate in the sailpast. Peary left too early for me to catch her, but I did manage to photograph PATINO as she left.



Unlike the later ships, PATINO headed out using the eastern channel.

The Eastern Canada Towing wharf was in the way, and I had to crop this photo severely to hide it.

While we were waiting for the ships to depart, there was also a fair bit of air traffic.

A CH-148 Cyclone and a CH-124 Sea King in the same shot.
CH-148 Cyclone. I'm cheating with this one, as I caught it from the ferry on the way home from work.
The ships participating in the sailpast had departed the Dockyard earlier in the morning, and headed into Bedford Basin where they could form up for the sailpast. The departed the Basin in time such that the lead ship, FREDERICTON, could make it to be in line with HMCS PRESERVER for 1300. Alongside in the Dockyard, PRESERVER acted as the review ship. Soon after, FREDERICTON appeared from behind Cable Wha....errrr....DOWN IN FRONT, THEODORE!

Pesky Theodore Too and other traffic in the Big Harbour.
Where was I? Oh, right - FREDERICTON emerged from behind the Cable Wharf.

FREDERICTON was followed by USS BULKELEY, an Arleigh Burke Flight IIA class destroyer.

Apart from the ships, there was some smaller naval traffic in the harbour as well.

What I assume to be an RCN Boarding Team in a RHIB (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat). Either that, or a harbour tour gone wrong.
As the ships passed Sackville Landing, each ship saluted HMCS SACKVILLE, at which time the CO of SACKVILLE returned the salute.

(Correction: A previous version of this post suggested that SACKVILLE was saluting each passing ship, when in fact, the reverse was occuring. SACKVILLE is the senior ship.)



Following BULKELEY was USS GONZALEZ, an older Burke Flight I class destroyer.

Next after GONZALEZ was the Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS MONMOUTH.


The French destroyer LANGUEDOC was next in line. What a difference 20-25 years makes in warship design! As mentioned in a previous post or two, the AQUITAINE class (of which LANGUEDOC is a member) is presumed to be a contender for the Canadian Surface Combatant program to replace the RCN's current destroyers and frigates.


NH-90 helo on FS LANGUEDOC.

A CH-148 Cyclone flies in the background of FS LANGUEDOC and her NH-90 helo.

After the last of the foreign warships, it was back to Canadian Content with HMCS ATHABASKAN. 


Crew manning the rails of ATHABASKAN.

Next came the two MCDVs, HMC Ships GOOSE BAY and SUMMERSIDE.




Finally, after I announced that I didn't think WINDSOR was participating, guess who appeared? Submariners are sneaky that way.

It was at this point that I made a mad dash from the Sackville Landing wharf to the boardwalk by Bishop's Landing in order to get better pictures of the ships heading out in a line, cameras and backpack bouncing, and I suddenly remembered why I don't ever run anywhere. If anyone saw this sad sight, you can keep your opinion to yourself.


The two MCDVS, GOOSE BAY and SUMMERSIDE, as well as WINDSOR, all turned around and came back into the harbour on the east side of George's Island. Presumably the MCDVs won't be participating in the main ASW portion of the exercise, and WINDSOR may make her way to the exercise area on her own.

It took a while before all the tugs and sailboats cleared the way so I could get this shot of the main fleet of surface combatants departing the harbour.

The fleet departs with Holland America's cruise ship Rotterdam to the right.
To finish, I present a photo of another of the contenders for the Canadian Surface Combatant program, which was also present in the harbour this afternoon:

Kite Surfer.

I also have a previous blog posting with photos of the ships alongside and, in some cases, as they arrived last week.