Sunday, June 27, 2010

Holy Ship !

This week the harbour in Halifax is home to over 25 warships of varying sizes and shapes who are here as part  of International Fleet Review Week .  A Fleet Review is a large gathering of warships who assemble to celebrate an important event, in this case, the Canadian Naval Centennial. This weekend at least 17 of those ships are open to the public for tours.  Brazil, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and the U.S. are sending vessels to participate in the review, which follows an international exercise off the eastern seaboard.

Yesterday I sauntered along the waterfront to see what the big "to do" was about.

The Canadian ship, The HMS Toronto and the Brazilian ship, "Independencia"  (below) were tied to each other so that a tour of one automatically lead onto the other.  Farther down the quay, two U.S. warships can be seen awaiting visitors.  Interestingly, it was necessary to show photo ID before being allowed on the U.S. ships  while there were no such requirements on other ships.

We were even allowed to stroll through the Canadian ship's bridge.

There were big ships and little ships.  There were so many ships that some had to be docked at Alderney Landing on the Dartmouth side of the harbour.

For all you "Dr Who" fans out there, doesn't the weapon above remind you of those diabolical Daleks ?  "Exterminate !  Exterminate !"

The Toronto is reflected in the windows of a nearby building under construction in the above photo.

The pièce de résistance of the fleet was a pair of aircraft carriers the HMS Ark Royal and the famous USS Wasp moored up past Casino Nova Scotia.  I wandered in that direction.  It looked like there might be a bit of a line up but I was keen enough that I didn't mind standing in a line up for half an hour or so.

Boy was I wrong !

The line up really wound down the street and was two hours long.  Sigh.  So I settled for seeing the ships from a distance.

 From the media release:

The ceremony on Tuesday will follow a review of 28 international vessels from eight countries that are in the port city with an estimated 5,000 sailors to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian navy.

The Queen will lead the fleet review on board HMCS St. John's, which will carry her down the centre of two rows of anchored frigates, destroyers, tankers, assault ships, a British aircraft carrier and a Canadian submarine.

She will be accompanied by Prince Phillip and Prime Minister Stephen Harper as they pass through the Bedford Basin, under the city's two bridges and out to the harbour to a line of Canadian vessels.

During the procession, which dates back to 1773 when King George III reviewed the British fleet, crew will salute the Queen, give three cheers and wave their caps as her frigate sails past the flag-draped ships.

Canada's aerobatic team, the Snowbirds, will be part of a multination flypast that will include vintage aircraft, Hornet fighter jets and helicopters.

Unless it's raining like heck I plan on parking my car and walking onto the Macdonald Bridge to watch it all. 

I'll tell the Queen you said "hi".


  1. Yes.

    And she's still in therapy as a result of that meeting !


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