Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CALIFORNIA LOST AND FOUND


There was an interesting report yesterday from NASA/NSIDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center. For years we have been hearing tragic stories from Al Gore et al, who has two huge errors in his latest slide presentations, about global warming and environmental losses. This really of course upsets the wildlife warriors. Mostly these are fairly accurate and sadly many are all too true. However NAUTICAL LOG has always been puzzled about the loss of sea ice in the Arctic Region. Starving polar bears are not a good thing. Knowing a bit about the behaviour of ice from service in icebreakers something did not seem to match up. A report from NSDIC would tend to confirm our suspicions. Faulty sensors gave an inaccurate picture to the amount of 500,000 square kilometres or 193,000 square miles. Yes it IS quite an amount, actually it is the size of the State of California (United States not Austria). Now that really IS an error, we guess nobody thought to go up there and have a look. Well someone eventually did, found that technology had screwed up and 'humint' is the first thing to use when making assessments.

So you see even in the 21st. Century of mind boggling technology in electronics those impish bugs are busy little guys and equipment can say 'no' when its truly 'yes'. That can happen with all monitoring equipment really, it might register, oh! lets say a transponder for example, but then again it might not. Always that element of doubt with technology isn't there.

Anyway all is now well again, Arnold is there - California lost and found.


Good Watch

Monday, February 16, 2009

NEW ZEALAND - 1960 COASTAL VIEWS











From Picton Sound out to the Cook Strait entrance from Bridge of TSS "Tamahine" on evening passage from Picton to Wellington.

NEW ZEALAND VOYAGES



From 1959 to 1961 I sailed for the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand (USSCo.). Our voyages took us on occasion across the Tasman Sea to Australia, and Tasmania also up to the Pacific Islands of Tonga, Western Samoa and Fiji. My first ship was the "ferry" from Wellington to Picton TSS "Tamahine". It was a daily one way trip across the Cook Strait which separates the North Island from the South Island of New Zealand. In TSS "Tamahine" it took about five hours and with each night in port it was more a pleasure cruise than working for a living. I am sure many Kiwi's of my generation have made this trip. I hope you have as many enjoyable memories of this beautiful little ship as I do. We used to arrive at Picton Wharf at 1805 (6:05 pm) do you know why? Answer by sending us a comment.

Good Watch

Friday, February 13, 2009

NORTHERN EXPOSURES

























MS "Frank Broderick" and barge
MS "Banksland" and barge
USNS "Pinnebog"
Few more photos from Canadas northern frontier which gives a view from 1967. Local Dad and his children and the lady in dark green parka wearing glasses was the local schoolteacher.
The Canadian flag is flying over the RCMP post and the building on the left is the officers (2) living quarters.
Good Watch

Thursday, February 12, 2009

COLD WAR - COLD Wx.
























While in the North during WAP 67 we called at Cambridge Bay a remote Arctic town situated on the northern frontier of Canada. This was the Canadian base point for a string of radar stations monitoring the Soviet Union. Known as the DEWline that is Distant Early Warning line it ran across north-western Canada centered on Tuktoyaktuk Canada. In series of four stations they each had a Main and three linked stations CAM Main, CAM 1, CAM 2, CAM 3. The other series were PIN, BAR, POW and LIZ covering all the way across northern Alaska a total distance of 1740 miles. All this area up over the North Pole to the Soviet Union lashed by radar waves. To supply this area there were three ships on Summer service in 1967 these were, a tanker, USNS "Pinnebog", cargo ships, MS "Frank Broderick", and MS "Banksland" which also towed a barge. If I remember correctly this was the Hudson's Bay Company ship. Also on WAP 67 was the USCGC "Northwind" W282. If any readers served in any of these vessels NAUTICAL LOG would be delighted to hear from you. We hope to publish some photos in later Posts.


Good Watch






A VOYAGE NORTH






















While working in Canadian shipping I had an opportunity in 1967 to make an interesting voyage to a unique part of the World. This was Canada's Confederation Year and The Marine Board of Canada was changing to the Canadian Coastguard. Since the Canadian Coastguard Academy did not exist at that time officers with Foreign-going Certificates of Competency were being recruited. So it was that I received an appointment as 2nd. Officer (Deck) in the Canadian Coastguard Pacific Region based in Victoria, BC out on Vancouver Island. At that time Canada manned Ocean Station "Papa" a floating weather station in the North Pacific. Two vessels alternated on Station both former Her Majesty's Royal Canadian Navy World War 2 class vessels. CCGS "Stonetown" and CCGS "St. Catherine's" they were, to say the least, rather battered and sea weary. The North Pacific is somewhat misnamed and both ships had cracks just aft of midships, not really a very comforting fact. So it was that two replacement ships were built CCGS "Vancouver" and CCGS "Quadra". I was assigned to the CCGS "Vancouver" based at the Royal Canadian Navy Base Esquimalt,BC. It was an interesting experience as sea trials were still being completed and there was lots going on. It was my first ship with a flight deck, a bow thruster and flume-tank stabilization system for starters. Lots to learn and set-up systems for all hands. In conversations in the Wardroom I learned about Arctic ice breaking and the result was I applied for a transfer to icebreakers. Within a month I found myself as a Watchofficer in CCGS "Camsell" a buoy-tender/icebreaker. After some Patrols around Vancouver Island servicing some thirty light stations and lots of small boat work we prepared for the Arctic. On Wednesday July 05, 1967 on WAP 67 we headed North from CCG Base Victoria,BC. This was The Canadian Confederation Year's Western Arctic Patrol 1967. Our voyage took us up the Inside Passage then out into the North Pacific through the Aleutian Islands. Then up the coast of Alaska via the Bering and Chukchi Seas to the northern Alaskan and Canadian Arctic coasts. We returned to Victoria, BC on Tuesday October 03, 1967 after 91 days at sea. During our Patrol we flew our helicopter, escorted supply ships servicing the DEWline stations, gave health care to Inuit villages, transferred RCMP dog teams, built radar reflector towers, laid out disposable navigation buoys (made out of oil drums) and placed weather buoys. So we were kept busy enough, not overly so, but definitely no boredom set in.

Good Watch

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

SUMMER SAILING

Leaving Cork, Ireland - Summer 1964

Alongside working cargo Cork - Summer 1964

In 1964 I came home from deep sea sailing in June to study and sit for Masters Foreign-going. The course started in September and the opportunity arose to sail as a relief in the coastal fleet. My Chief Mates Foreign-going covered for Master Coastal Trade. It was a great experience as unlike deep sea there were no Radio Officers and Pursers. Therefore the Master did all his own communications and paperwork - excellent on the job training. The run was from Ireland East and South coast ports to Breman with cattle. The ship was then cleaned by German muck-out crews, spotlessly I might add, moved from the cattle walk berth to load general cargo. After that it was round to Hamburg to complete loading general for Ireland. In addition of course the big attraction was that, except for Breman and Hamburg, we did all our own piloting and ship handling. This was experience a foreign-going officer did not really get hands-on much. The crews were really good guys, had been aboard for many years, and always on that trade. Since everybody knew what to do the Bosun ran things virtually without instructions. Feeding was first class as the Cook bought all the food with the Company's stipend supplemented by contributions from each crew member each month. Plus of course there were extras from the mom's and wife's. So pretty nice Summer sailing. Oh! and yes I did start the Masters Foreign-going Course in September.
Good Watch
Photos converted from 35mm slides by "Keep it Simple - Slides to Digital".

Monday, February 2, 2009

REELING and SLIDING - REVISITED


MS "City of Cork" at sea English Channel summer 1964

"Cork" at Cork, Ireland summer 1964


Some of you may remember a Post last year about finding nearly 900 35mm slides in the closet. These were some 40 to 50 years old. It has been possible thanks to www.Slidestodigital.com to have some 837 of these placed on DVD. From that NAUTICAL LOG has made up files covering many years at sea and many voyages. In the months ahead we shall place a few so that todays seafarers can see life at sea all those years ago. So look in the weeks ahead for some photos'
No doubt many of you would agree this makes far more fun reading than the complaining about that anti-whaling crowd. Besides no one, other than the Japanese cares to do anything about that Dutch ship pirate thug. Sorry couldn't resist a comment!!
Good Watch