August 16-19, 2015
The challenges of fueling at sea
Standard operations continued in Simpson Strait for several days. Each morning, the CHS launches were dispatched to collect much needed data in an area characterized as a challenging narrow marine corridor dotted with many islands. This area is even more problematic when ice forces the vessels to deviate from the central (safe) navigation route.
Having last fueled in Victoria, we headed back towards Cambridge Bay on the 18th to rendezvous with the Island Tugger. We anchored offshore, and the Tugger’s fuel barge came up alongside the Laurier to begin the transfer. Fuel transfer at sea is quite a procedure, and after the 5-hour operation, we were re-supplied and ready to continue our activities.
In the interim, Gannet and Kinglett teams used the time to collect new survey data to widen a safe shipping lane into Cambridge Bay while hydrographers Arthur Wickens and Mike Black returned to shore to collect more water level observations to add to the tidal information.
As we started our way back towards Gjoa Haven on the 19th, CHS surveys continued to expand the navigation corridor from Jenny Lind Island eastward to Requisite Channel. The Laurier deployed her pole-mounted multibeam sonar for the first time this season, and several hours of data were amassed in parallel with the launches’ information.
In addition to service, the CCG maintains a number of emergency fuel and equipment caches for helicopters across the Western Arctic that can be used to support search and rescue and other operations. Each cache is regularly inventoried, and fuel is replaced every three years to ensure its quality. One of these caches is found at the south end of Jenny Lind, and a helicopter and crew were dispatched to conduct the inspection. Chief Officer James Garrett employed the helicopter’s sling to replace one of the fuel barrels, and returned the older container to the ship.
Following dinner, we begin steaming throughout the night, surveying as we went, timed perfectly to arrive at Gjoa Haven for tomorrow’s morning tea with the hamlet elders.
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