Week 1

August 12, 2015

CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier

First report from the 2015 Arctic Mission

We changed crews yesterday in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, relieving the Red Crew who left Victoria, B.C. nearly six weeks ago to sail the ship to the Arctic. Along with Captain Stuart Aldridge and the White Crew, seven staff members from the CHS including Hydrographer-In-Charge Tim Janzen came aboard Canadian Coast Guard ship (CCGS) Sir Wilfrid Laurier to continue charting Arctic navigation corridors. The CCG collaborates closely with these surveying and charting experts as they share a common mandate: safe and efficient navigation.

Crew preparing to board in Kugluktuk, Nunavut

Captain Stuart Aldridge

Tim Janzen, Hydrographer-in-chief

Already aboard ship were three survey vessels: the CHS survey launches, Gannet and Kinglett (specialized vessels for conducting hydrographic survey work); and Parks Canada’s research vessel Investigator, all of which were loaded in Victoria before the ship headed north. Dr. Douglas Stenton of the Government of Nunavut and Dr. Robert Park of the University of Waterloo also joined the ship as they plan on conducting terrestrial archaeology throughout the mission looking for both Inuit and Franklin artifacts.

Although the search for HMS Terror won’t begin for another two weeks, those aboard the ship are already busy with their own operations. Today, we conducted required safety drills, and while we transited eastward, CCG crew serviced three navigation beacons positioned on nearby islands. The helicopter assigned to the Laurier is a key asset for us, transporting crew members to various sites to conduct annual maintenance and to ensure that beacons are in good working order.

Navigation beacon

CCG helicopter

CHS staff combined efforts with CCG crews today to assemble the ship’s multibeam sonar, secure it to the side of the Laurier, rotate it into position into the ocean waters, and calibrate its sensors. Adding a multibeam system to the Laurier allows the hydrographers to collect bathymetric data while the ships transits, thereby augmenting the amount of information being collected in addition to that collected by Gannet and Kinglett. This use of multibeam technology results in total ensonification of the areas it surveys and allows for a three-dimensional representation of the arctic seabed, revealing shoals, crevasses, ice scours and sometimes even shipwrecks. This ability to distinguish underwater topography and shapes along the seabed make it a valuable multi-purpose tool for hydrographers and archeologists alike.

Installing multi-beam to CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Installing multi-beam to CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Installing multi-beam to CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier

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