September 2, 2015
A day of mechanical repairs and collaboration with the Royal Canadian Navy
The morning featured light winds, sunny skies and small wavelets, perfect for a full day of operations. For our senior engineer Tavis Nordstrom, it also began at 5:30 am with swapping out the Kinglett's uncooperative starter for a new one so that CHS's hydrographic surveys would continue uninterrupted.
The CCG engineering crew are to us what highly trained pit crews are to racing teams. Led by Chief Engineer Randy Morford, the 8-person engineering crew comprises marine engineers, oilers and electricians, who oversee regular care and repair to nearly every part our ship - including our fresh water systems, electrical systems, sewage systems, waste management, engines and propulsion - ensuring that everything works properly and runs smoothly. As a ship at sea, it is critical we are self-sufficient, and these crewmen are vital in that effort.
Following briefing, all three survey launches were sent away to their survey blocks to continue their multibeam data collection. CHS also deployed a temporary water level gauge from Kinglett as part of its tasks.
Invited for lunch by Captain Aldridge, we were joined by HMCS Moncton's Commanding Officer Captain Eelhart, along with the CHS lead hydrographer on the Moncton, Dave Bazowsky, for discussions on the current status of planning and survey coordination. The Navy is equally eager to expand Arctic charting, and similar to the Laurier, the Moncton is carrying a pole-mounted multibeam sonar with a CHS team of hydrographers aboard processing collected data.
Thick fog developed about 4:00 pm along with churning whitecap waves. The helicopter attempted to return from land, but, due to the low visibility, did not attempt to land on ship but returned instead to land to wait for safer flying conditions. By 5:30 pm the fog broke just as abruptly, the waves relaxed and operations resumed. The pilot took immediate advantage of the clearing to return the Nunavut archaeology team to the ship, and launches returned to the ship on their normal schedules. Our bridge watch crew and the hydrographers assigned to the late shift conducted soundings from the Laurier throughout the night. As ice conditions have now improved to the point that the Laurier can safely leave the multibeam pole in the water, the plan forward will see our icebreaker conduct soundings 24/7 until the end of the mission.
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