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Captain's Log: Getting ready to say goodbye

September 11, 2012 12:01 PM
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Partners in the Franklin search project gather on the Laurier on the final day of this year's expedition.

(Bill Noon, a 31-year veteran of the Canadian Coast Guard, is a captain on the icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier as it completes its 2012 Arctic mission and offers a two-week support stint to the Parks Canada-led search for the missing ships of explorer Sir John Franklin.)

Day 19 Sept. 10, 2012: 1400h


Today is officially Laurier's last full day supporting this year's expedition.

By tomorrow, we'll be saying goodbye to many of our guests.

Some will transfer to the Martin Bergmann to continue their work, while others will be flown to Gladman Point in Simpson Strait to catch a charter flight to Cambridge Bay.

Most of the hydrographers will remain behind to continue sounding work onboard CCGS Laurier, and will leave instead with the upcoming crew change on Sept. 18. 

The early weather report sounded good this morning; however, the fog horn announced the arrival of fog shortly afterwards, which disappeared and reappeared in patches throughout the day.
 
The Gannet, Kinglett and Bergmann were on their sonar lines early this morning, and the 733 zodiac was dispatched to retrieve a second water level gauge near Racon Island. 

We weighed anchor early and steamed towards Gladman Point (where we will anchor tonight) on our new charted passage.
 
Late this afternoon, the Environment Canada team was able to take the helicopter to the south side of Simpson Strait to video their final coastline this season.

The terrestrial archeologists used their last day to conduct a show-and-tell session with guests and crew onboard, and Parks Canada's marine archeologists are planning to follow suit with group discussions on the HMS Investigator found in 2010. 

To have been a part of both the charting and the sailing of a new shipping route has been a career highlight.

Few mariners or hydrographers will ever enjoy this combined honour. My wife, Megan, has strongly suggested that the new passage be named Pooky Passage after our 21-year-old white cat (except that that is no longer how place names are selected, but I'll let someone else tell her).

Honestly, I can't think of a better way to experience discovering our own Canadian history.

Our final dinner to celebrate the many successes achieved in these past weeks will involve a big barbecue on deck, where we'll be joined by the team on the Martin Bergmann.

After that, I suspect that we will have a tightly packed crew's and officers' messes where the big screens have already been fully prepped for a viewing of The National.

Update: As of last night, the Gannet, Kinglett, Bergmann and the AUV had sounded over 3,198 kilometres, with multibeam/sidescan sonar coverage of over 232 square kilometres.

Environment Canada's coastal surveyors filmed even more coastline to add to the 500 kilometres collected last week. That is in addition to the earlier reported 879 square kilometres of LIDAR conducted at the beginning of the mission.


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