Sunday, April 5, 2009

While prowling about the harbour on Saturday April 4 I came across the veteran workboat Halmar back in the water at Dartmouth Cove after several years on land. Her owners, Dominion Diving, have been working away on her for some time, and she is now showing signs of returning to service.

The boat was built by Halifax Shipyards back in 1960 as a general purpose workboat. She sometimes assisted ships in the Dartmouth Marine Slip, but more often she worked around the Halifax installations.

Dominion Diving took over ownership about 1992 and did a major refit on her at that time. However her cabin was very small, she was underpowered and had many other deficiencies. (Rumour has that she was built by apprentices at the shipyard.)

In the photos above, you will see her as she appeared March 2, 1996 and today (on the left.)

Alongside in the contemporary photo is fleet mate Big Steel, the former navy launch YFU 116, YMU 116, built in 1955 by Russel Brothers of Owen Sound, ON. Dominion Diving also rebuilt her back in 1992.

Tern again

The heavy lift ship Tern moved to anchorage late this afternoon. With HMCS Chicoutimi securely cradled on deck, the ship is ready for sea. However she will wait in port until the predicted gales pass by. She will then begin the long trek to Esquimalt.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Banner Day

April 1 was a banner day for shipwatching in Halifax. In addition to the submarine loading, and the visit of Raold Amundsen, there were great opportunities for shots of the autocarrier Don Carlos leaving Autoport. Because Atlantic Compass was leaving at the same time, Don Carlos held off and made a wide turn to fall in behind Compass . She heeled over a bit, making for a more interesting shot than the standard autocarrier view.


What do ship watchers do while hanging around the piers waiting for ships to come by? I think quite a few boatnerds watch the birds! Particularly in winter, there are many interesting birds waiting around for spring. You can see a variety of ducks: wigeons at Seaview Park; mallards, blacks and mergansers at Point Pleasant, not to mention gulls of various sorts, and even a loon in winter colours.

The most common are the common eiders that flock together off Halterm in rafts of twenty or so birds.

On April 1 I was birdnerding out at the end of the breakwater waiting for ships when the pilot boat set out in advance of Atlantic Compass and Don Carlos. Suddenly the boat veered off course right toward me, scattering eiders in all directions and made a fast pass off the end of the breakwater.

I guess they were trying to scare the eiders, but they startled me enough that I only got a few quick camera shots.

April 4

The new cruise ship Pearl Mist returned to Halifax Shipyard early this morning after 24 hour sea trials off Halifax. Rumours persist that the ship will go to another port for finishing work in order to meet her (much revised) delivery date.

She is pictured here on March 14 at the shipyard.

HMCS Chicoutimi, safely on board Tern, moved to pier 27-28 over night April 1-2, where work continues on securing her to the ship’s deck. Expect a departure soon.
The bunkering tanker NT Dartmouth is alongside topping up the fuel tanks, while a worker in an orange suit works on the deck of Tern.

April 1, 1979 HMCS Margaree sank the bow portion of the tanker Kurdistan about 200 miles south of’Halifax. Here’s what the stern looked like anchored off the Canso Causeway in Chedabucto Bay.

Alos on April 1 the Norwegian naval vessel HMNoS Raold Amundsen made a very brief visit to HMC Dockyard . This striking looking vessel is the second of five Fridtjof Nansen class frigates built between 2004 and 2008 . Modules built in Norway were shipped to Spain where the frigates were assembled at Navantia in El Ferrol. I recommend Wikipedia’s biography of Amundsen if you need a little history refresher course! The ship and her sisters are also well covered there.

April 1, 2009 No joke - heavy lift ship Tern loaded the submarine HMCS Chicoutimi in Bedford Basin today. Although I didn’t get to see the whole operation (it took hours) it seemed to go off like clockwork

March 31

The heavy lift ship Tern is moving tonight to an anchorage in Bedford Basin. When she is in position, and all fitments have been secured, she will submerge her main deck. Then, weather permitting, she will load HMCS Chicoutimi, and pump out her tanks to return to seagoing draft. The damaged submarine will be transported to Esquimalt for permanent repairs.
Chicoutimi , the former HMS Upholder, experienced a serious fire on her delivery trip to Canada, October 5, 2004, that killed one sailor and injured several others. The sub was towed back to England and finally delivered on another semi-submersible ship, Eide Transporter, arriving in Halifax February 1, 2005