HMCS ATHABASKAN's final week was an active one, with two family and/or previous crewmember cruises on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then her final sailpast and paying off ceremony on Friday.
I was otherwise occupied on Wednesday, and would have become very wet indeed had I attempted to document her cruise that day in the rain, but I did manage to time my trip to work on Tuesday with ATHABASKAN's departure for her family cruise. Thankfully, the sun was out on Tuesday and there was a bit of blue sky in the background.
On her final day in service, ATHABASKAN left the jetty just before noon, and headed down the Halifax shore with her battle ensign flying and her paying off pennant rigged, but not deployed.
|ATHABASKAN backing out on Tuesday before heading out on a family cruise.|
|Passing the lighthouse on George's Island.|
|ATHABASKAN heads out under a clear(ish) blue sky.|
|Heading out on her final trip.|
|Battle ensign flying, and the paying off pennant, not yet deployed, barely visible and hanging down over the port hangar door.|
|She was pursued by a total of three Sea Kings, a two-ship formation, and this one which I believe was the camera platform.|
|The other two Sea Kings were the actual "ceremonial" helicopters that appear in most of the official photos.|
|All three Sea Kings flying together in formation.|
|The wind wasn't cooperating, and the paying off pennant was only visible for short periods during the final sailpast. You can see it here, along with multiple balloons, hanging down to the water on the ship's port side.|
|By the time she cleared the bridge, her paying off pennant was hidden behind the mast, funnel, and hangar.|
|Here is the end of ATHABASKAN's 386 foot long pennant hanging down past the stern and into the water.|
|ATHABASKAN starts her turn to port with her pennant streaming out behind her.|
|This is probably the best image I captured of ATHABASKAN's paying off pennant, flying for its complete length and not hanging into the water. She is turning to port in this photo, and I believe the pennant was stowed right after this photo.|
|ATHABASKAN approaches the jetty.|
|Cdr Couillard (third from right) keeps close watch from the port bridge wing as ATHABASKAN makes her final jetty approach under her own power.|
|Naval Jack flying once again, the crew mans the port rail on the foc'st'le.|
|Crew manning the port main-deck rail between the bridge and hangar.|
|Cdr Couillard addressed the crowd.|
|Her call sign has already been hauled down from the mast.|
|Caps were removed for reciting the ship's motto.|
|The crew departs the ship's foc'st'le.|
|The ship's crew gathered on the jetty.|
|ATHABASKAN's Naval Jack is lowered for the final time.|
|The ceremony wraps up.|
|VAdm Lloyd departs the jetty after the ceremony.|
|ATHABASKAN's crew leaves the jetty after the ceremony.|
|The now paid off Athabaskan, her port flag flying.|
For those interested in the finer details of paying off ships from Royal Canadian Navy commission, I recommend Colin Darlington's article on the subject on the RUSI(NS) website. Colin was also kind enough to give me some background on the "out of routine" flag, as mentioned above.