Monday, 8 August 2016

Reflections of HMCS SACKVILLE

I have probably mentioned here before that I like to take photos of reflections, especially ship reflections on the water. One day last week there was a nice imposing sky in the background, and nice smooth water to show off SACKVILLE's reflection.

In this particular photo, I faked a graduated neutral density filter in Adobe Camera Raw to make the reflection balance a bit better with the rest of the image, then played with the contrast and colours to make the image pop. The filter, plus some vignetting, helped to darken the sky a bit to make it slightly more imposing than it was in the base image.

RCAF CH-148 Cyclone

During my ferry crossing this afternoon, one of the new Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclones made a flypast of the waterfront. 

Ordered in 2004 to replace the CH-124 Sea King, with an expected in-service date of 2008, only some interim CH-148 models are currently flying in 2016 and Sea Kings still make up the backbone of the RCAF's maritime helicopter fleet. I'm not sure how many have actually been delivered to date. It has been some months since I last saw a Cyclone in the air, and I do not believe any of the new helicopters have deployed with an RCN ship in an operational capacity yet.

Hopefully the replacement program can be successfully completed at some point in the near future.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Revisiting Hebridee II

About a year ago, I was given the opportunity to tour the boat shed at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where the schooner Hebridee II is being rebuilt from the keel up. Last week I had the chance to revisit her and see how the reconstruction is progressing. While the hull itself doesn't appear to have changed much, the cabin and interior are progressing nicely and it is easy to see the difference a year has made.

Hebridee's cockpit.
A coaming has been built around the cockpit, and floorboards have been added inside the cockpit itself. The space under the deck on either side of the cockpit is unfinished, with the engine compartment in between right under the cockpit.

Belowdeck area starboard of the cockpit.
The cabin roof has been added and painted, and the cabin interior it being fleshed in as well. The galley is at the foot of the companionway on the port side, and will have a small stove top as well as a sink with a hand pumped tap.

Starboard deck looking forward.
Looking aft at the foremast step, cabin, and foremast boom (or gaff?).

I then headed to inspect below deck.

Companionway and galley.
Galley and sink.
Opposite the galley is often a small Forward of the galley is a midships dining and berthing cabin - I assume this will receive some sort of dining table at some point.

Hinged chart table on the left, to starboard of the companionway ladder coming down from the cockpit.

Midships cabin and looking forward into the cuddy (forward) cabin..Unseen at the moment is the step for the main mast which is in the middle of the cabin. Presumably a floorboard has to be cut up to make room for the mast.
Midship berth.
I didn't pull out the hinged shelf in the middle of the image all the way, so I didn't think to check if there are meant to be one or two sleeping berths on each side of this cabin.

Underside of the cabin roof.
Between the miships cabin and the cuddy is the head.

Forward of the head is the cuddy cabin, where two bunks and storage are arranged on either side of the step for the foremast.

Cuddy cabin.
Up on deck, the bowsprit is made, but can't be installed yet due to the small size of the shed.

I can only imagine Hebridee II looks longingly out the windows of the boat shed at the other museum boats in the water, anticipating her own launch which is currently scheduled for 2017.

The view out of the boat shed.
The full gallery of these images, plus the images from 2015, are on my Smugmug site.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

HMCS TORONTO leaves Halifax Shipyard graving dock

As of Friday morning, HMCS TORONTO was still in the Halifax Shipyard graving dock undergoing her FELEX refit. 

TORONTO in the graving dock just prior to being floated out.
As of Tuesday morning, I noticed that she had left the graving dock and had been moved to the machine shop wharf as part of the next stage of the refit. 

TORONTO at the machine shop wharf.
As can be told by the amount of staging surrounding the superstructure, she has a ways to go before the refit is complete. TORONTO is the last ship on the east coast in the FELEX refit process. The previous ship, VILLE DE QUEBEC, appears to have just begun sea trials after the completion of her own refit. In February 2015, TORONTO was still alongside in the Dockyard, beginning the disassembly process prior to entering the shipyard. 

These refits are modernizing the weapons and sensor systems of the RCN's HALIFAX class frigates.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Colombian Navy sail training vessel GLORIA

The Colombian Navy's sail training vessel GLORIA arrived in Halifax earlier this week, and after receiving some repair work at HMC Dockyard, moved to Cable Wharf to allow the general public a closer look. This let me get close-up photos on three separate morning so far, and as well I took advantage of the free public tours on Tuesday afternoon. This post will be lighter on text, and focus mostly on the photos I took.

My first sight of GLORIA this week was of her berthed in HMCS SACKVILLE's normal winter location within HMC Dockyard, from the ferry.

GLORIA in HMC Dockyard.

Tuesday morning - the rising sun breaking through the morning cloud made for a particularly dramatic photo. Vertical panorama taken with an iPhone, processed with Lightroom Mobile. I got right down to the water's surface on a floating dock for this shot, as well as the following one below.

Similar photo taken around the same time, this time with a 12mm lens on a Sony A6000. Can't quite decide which I prefer.

Wednesday morning - clear skies provided a different look. Another vertical panorama taken with an iPhone, processed with Lightroom Mobile.
At 0800 hours each morning, the ship's ensign (a variation of the national flag) is hauled up a halyard from the tip of the gaff on the mizzen mast. The ensign is huge, and requires a number of crew members to deploy.

Raising the large ensign is a lot of work, and requires more than a few crew members.

As large as the ensign is, it doesn't fly very well without a fair bit of wind. The ship also has a much smaller ensign to fly when the larger one shown here isn't practical.

GLORIA is rigged as a barque, which means three masts - the foremast (left), mainmast (middle), and mizzen mast (right). The forward two masts are square-rigged, while the after mast is fore-and-aft rigged. The early morning wind isn't doing much for the ensign, but the lighting from the early morning sun was nice.

OK, that's better, but the lighting isn't as appealing. Guess you can't win!

The ensign also made interesting reflections on the water, and I'm a sucker for reflections. I had to take this photo from onboard, looking straight down from the deck.
GLORIA was also wearing a bunting of Maritime Signalling Flags (alphabetical and numerical flags used for signalling) that ran from the tip of the bowsprit to the stern over the tops of all three masts.

A crewmember stands at the tip of the bowsprit, ready to raise the ship's jack.
On Tuesday afternoon, I was able to take advantage of the free deck tours being offered by the ship. One of my favourite subjects is details and rope-work on deck, and GLORIA didn't disappoint.

The ship's name is engraved on all the stair nosings on the upper decks.

I wouldn't want to have to coil these ropes just so, but I do appreciate the effect.

I also wouldn't want to be responsible for keeping the deck buffed and varnished.
Colombian Independence Day is observed on July 20th, so I had the added opportunity to photograph members of the ship's crew gathered on a nearby wharf for a small ceremony.

The ship's crew recognized Colombian Independance Day on July 20, and gathered on a nearby wharf for the raising of the ship's ensign and the playing of the national anthem. The rising sun and reflections off the harbour made for some nice shadows, and the image just begged to be converted to black and white.
Finally....did I mention I'm a sucker for reflections?

After GLORIA left the Cable Wharf on Thursday morning, she returned to HMC Dockyard, possibly for more repair work although I don't know for sure. She was still in port as of Friday afternoon.

All these, and more photos are available in my Smugmug gallery.

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.