As time permits, and as we locate notes from years past, we are listing many of the branch presentations from the past. This section is intended to act as an archive of past activities. For the Upcoming Programs and recent meeting notes, check the section "MEETINGS & EVENTS"
► NOVEMBER 2009 MEETING — Wednesday November 11th, 2009 — Our November meeting opened with a reminder from the President Syd Heal that the December meeting will begin with the AGM and that since the organization has an aging profile he expects younger people to take over more of the responsibilities of the organization. If this does not happen there may have to be changes to the organizational structure of the branch and to the monthly meetings.
The November speaker was Mr. Cary Dicerni of Subsea Solutions Alliance, an underwater ship maintenance company specializing in significant repairs to ships while they are still in the water rather than in the dry dock to reduce the loss of production time. All-Sea Enterprises group (est. 1978), the Vancouver branch of Subsea Solutions Alliance (est. 2002), and its sister organizations around the world are able to mobilize to any part of the world in 24 to 48 hours. The group currently has standing contracts with Rolls Royce and Wartsila Propulsion and fulfills warranty repairs for other companies.
All-Sea Enterprises offers four main innovative underwater service repairs: Stern seal replacement and repair, permanent shell plating replacement and repair; machinery replacement and repair; and underwater inspection and maintenance. The company uses a variety of airlift bags to do dry repair to propellers and inserts Transhabs (air balloon environments) to repair the aft propeller shaft seals. The company custom fits the Transhab around the shaft and a trained technician descends into the secure air environment to conduct repairs just as if the ship was in the dry dock. Attention is paid to safety at all times and all environmental controls are observed.
Mr. Dicerni stressed that ship maintenance is very important to the performance and cost of running ships and All-Sea is able calibrate the propellers with the engine, and eliminate cavitations and harmonics on older ships. Members and guests of the WSS received the speaker with great interest and there were many questions both during and after the presentation. Don Brown, June Etchell, Syd Heal, Anthon Dekkers, David Chamberlain, Robert Etchell and others in attendance raised pertinent points for discussion and Mr. Dicerni answered each question with attention to detail. [report by Ellen L. Ramsay]
► OCTOBER 2009 MEETING —Wednesday October 14th, 2009 — Just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong! We lost the power cord to the projector. So we borrowed another projector—only that one wasn’t working well. With no other choice, Syd Heal went ahead with his talk about his latest publication “Canadian Capers” . Syd gave us a very interesting in-depth history of the author, Svein Stokke, and his maritime activities over the years, including his involvement with the Washington Marine Group of companies. Near the end of his talk, we did manage to get some of the images shown, but hopefully we can re-run the slide presentation part of the talk on another night.
► SEPTEMBER 2009 MEETING —Wednesday September 9th, 2009 — The September meeting at the Vancouver Maritime Museum featured an illustrated slide show presented by Ray Warren. The subject was the wartime standard ships taken after the war at Vancouver. For those of us able to remember when the wharves and docks around the harbour here often full with American-built Liberties and Victories, Canadian-built Forts and Parks and British Empire types, it was a journey into nostalgia. In those days ships looked like ships with funnels amidships and a gracefulness that today's ships have difficulty in emulating. Today's ships too often look like barges with an exhausts so far aft that they look like they are ready to fall off over their broad transom sterns. Thanks Ray for an interesting presentation‡ [SCH]
► MAY 2009 MEETING — Wednesday, May 13, 2009. — This month’s presentation was the Snowbow Production of the history of the US-based Matson Line which was set up in 1882 by Captain Matson.‡The DVD began with a few clips of the final journey of the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 on her last world voyage to Dubai where she is to be set up as a hotel, museum and restaurants. [Publisher’s note: It now appears the ship may move to South Africa—stay tuned for an update.]The Matson Line was presented beginning with some vintage movie clips of their ships in Hawaii in the 1930s and the ports Matson served between the US West Coast and the Hawaiian Islands. The line carried manufactured goods and farm produce and returned to the Mainland with cargoes of fruit products and sugar.Some of the Lines’ cargo ships seen were the HAWAIIAN PLANTER, HAWAIIAN BUILDER, HAWAIIAN LOGGER, HAWAIIAN CITIZEN, HAWAIIAN BANKER, HAWAIIAN EDUCATOR, HAWAIIAN PILOT, HAWAIIAN FARMER, and HAWAIIAN CRAFTSMAN. We saw them on visits around the islands on Matson’s cargo-passenger ships.The Matson Liner LURLINE was featured in the passenger ship sequences. There were segments with views from onboard the ship showcasing passenger activities and ship interiors on her sailings from San Francisco.The LURLINE became popular and Matson ordered the MARIPOSA and MONTEREY for service across the Pacific to Hawaii and Australia. A segment traces a Matson Liner voyage across the Pacific, with 365 First Class passengers, to Papeete/Tahiti and New Zealand, with all the stops along the way.A most interesting segment of one of Matson’s first ships, the sailing ship FALLS OF CLYDE which is now in Honolulu as a museum ship Some vintage sequences of P&O and Orient Line ships and their and Matson’s loss of tourist business to the airlines to Hawaii.The loss of passenger traffic to the airlines meant the Liner’s were employed on cruises rather than regular passenger service.
► APRIL 2009 MEETING —Wednesday April 8th, 2009 — After a few false starts, Syd Heal was able to give his long-awaited presentation featuring historical photographs of Coal Harbour. (For those not familiar with Vancouver, Coal Harbour is a relatively small area located between Stanley Park and the downtown area. It served for many years as a local “marina”, but also had a lot of ship building history attached to it.) Most of the images were taken from one of Syd’s recent publications, “Coal Harbour Recollections”, by Martin J. Wells. For old-time Vancouverites, the images brought back fond memories of an interesting and vibrant part of Vancouver which unfortunately now comprises mainly multi-million dollar yachts. All the waterfront activity is now gone, with the exception of some harbour cruises and float planes. In its heyday, Coal Harbour was bustling with small shipyards, ship repair and marine supply depots, along with a myriad of small craft of all sizes and shapes. All this has now disappeared.We had hoped to present a special program by world-renowned historian and writer, Bill Miller, but the Maritime Museum could not accommodate us on the only day that Bill was in town. Hopefully, Bill will be back to Vancouver in the near future.
► MARCH 2009 MEETING —Wednesday March 11th, 2009 — Glenn Smith presented images from two CDs provided by WSS member Michel Tremblay of Québec. The photographs were taken in the Gaspé area of Québec. The photos were taken as the ships were at anchor or entering the bay or at the dock at Sandy Beach.MARCH MEETINGThe first disk presented us with images taken during 2008. Many Canadian coast guard ships, the sailing ships BELEM and BLUENOSE II, fishing vessels, tugs, and naval ships of Canada and France.The second disk included images from the 1970s with the EMPRESS OF BRITAIN as the cruise ship QUEEN ANNA MARIA and the ALEXANDR PUSHKIN and other cruise ships in later years up to 2008. Many fishing vessels, coast guard ships (buoy tenders and ice breakers), tugboats, cargo ships employed in Canada’s Arctic, bulk carriers, motor yachts, and ferries.
► FEBRUARY 2009 MEETING —Wednesday February11th, 2009 — We were scheduled to have a presentation by our President Syd Heal but he had to decline due to illness. This was replaced by a DVD presentation provided by Director Glenn Smith. This was from the Great Liners Series from Snowbow Productions, the Fifteenth in the series. — Southampton - Port History
We saw a photographic history of the Port of Southampton with archival film of many well known and less well known liners which were home-ported or visited the Port. We saw liners, ferries, tour boats, cargo ships — deep sea and coasters — tugboats. Also a selection of work boats which keep marine traffic moving. Some of the liners we saw were NORMANDIE, QUEEN MARY, QUEEN ELIZABETH, ORIANA, ARCADIA, FRANCE, FAIRSEA, CARONIA, CHUSAN, CANBERRA, MAURETANIA, FRANCONIA, ROTTERDAM, UNITED STATES, ORSOVA, STATENDAM, MAASDAM, SOUTHERN CROSS, CHITRAL, COLUMBIE, ANDES, and IBERIA.In the 1970s the effects of a prolonged marine workers strike proved devastating to the Port of Southampton. Many shipping companies went out of business and their ships went elsewhere. Later the growth of the cruise ship industry saw a return of newer cruise vessels and some older liners continued to visit the port such as EUROPA, FAIRSEA, ORIANA, VENUS, SUNWARD, ARCADIA, NORWAY, PRINS DE NEDERLAND, CARIBIA, QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, VICTORIA, and ARCADIA.Passenger / cargo ships were regular visitors such as the ENGLAND, ARGENTINA, S.A. ORANJE, S.A. VAAL,PENNDENNIS CASTLE, BRAZIL STAR along with pure cargo ships such as tankers and container ships.The Liberty ship in the news recently and now in Greece — ARTHUR M. HUDDELL was a visitor.A most interesting history of the greatness of the port in the past and its resurrection with the development of the cruise ship industry.
► JANUARY 2009 MEETING — Wednesday January 14th, 2009 — Captain Don Rose, Senior Master with Rivtow Marine/SMIT, presented a selection of images of a variety of vessels he has seen in his years working on tugboats on the BC coast for some 40 years. The selection included some current views and some from the past—tug boats, pilot boats, motor yachts, rail car carriers, tour boats, log barges, cargo and passenger vessels. Captain Rose has worked for Island Tug & Barge, Straits Towing, RivTow and finally SMIT. He was Senior Master on the RIVTOW CAPT. BOB for 14 years—he has retired now and has gone into Marine Consulting and Surveys. Captain Rose has CDs and DVDs of his vessel images for sale. The CDs are CDN$10 and the DVDs are CDN$20 [jackets with accompanying thumbnail prints and information]. Contact Captain Rose at telephone 604.596.4389, e-mail: email@example.com
► DECEMBER 2008 MEETING — Thursday December 11th, 2008 was the Annual General Meeting of the Vancouver Branch of “The World Ship Society of British Columbia”. The usual presentations of reports and election of Branch Officers took place. The Executive of the Branch remains as the previous year:President: — Syd Heal; Vice-President: — Ray Warren; Recording Secretary: — Joan Thornley; and Treasurer/Membership Secretary: — Glenn Smith; Director & Editor of Ship’s Log: — Cecil Woods. Following the AGM we began our Christmas Meeting tradition of member presentations: A most enjoyable evening and many thanks to the presenters and providers of the ‘goodies’ ● First up, Bill Etchell presented a selection of slides from the collection of Andrew Kilk, US Representative of the WSS. Included were photos of cruise ships—exterior, and interior and European river cruisers. ● Followed by Robert Etchell who presented a photo journey of the trip he and his father, Bill, took to northern Vancouver Island to Port Hardy with photos of the waterfront. They sailed to Prince Rupert on BC Ferries’ NORTHERN ADVENTURE with stops along the way at Bella Bella and a selection of views of lighthouses on the way. One poignant location was a mist shrouded site where the QUEEN OF THE NORTH sank. Photos of cruise ship terminal and new container terminal at Prince Rupert. We were treated to a selection of photos of cruise ships, pilot boats, coast guard ships, ferries OMENICA PRINCESS and FRANCOIS FORESTER. Robert completed his program with photos taken at the 2008 Tall Ship Festival, June 2008, in Victoria, BC. ● Dr. Ray Parkinson brought along a German-made music box/accordion-style player piano built in 1880 by the Tanzibar Company. The player reproduces music from music rolls which are still produced today. The company continues today and Ray brought along and demonstrated a digital music box which employs digital-style cassettes and resembles a button-accordion and is played the same way with the exception being the music is reproduced electronically from the cassette which is inserted into the player. Ray is an avid collector of music boxes. ● Following a break for Christmas refreshments provided by members and presented by June Etchell, we began the remainder of the program. ● Our final presenter was member Don Brown who brought along slides he took some years ago in Cape Town and Durban, South Africa. Featured were tug boats, dating from 1922 on. British-built, the majority of the tugs were coal-fired steamers. These were ship berthing tugs, for the most part, and from an era when tugs were handsome vessels with tall stacks. Don also presented a few images of newer diesel-powered tugs and a few cargo ships.‡
Dr. Ray Parkinson, providing music for our December meeting. Ref: WS08-0252.
► NOVEMBER 2008 MEETING — Wednesday November 12th, 2008. The November meeting had to be cancelled due to scheduling problems at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Hopefully, we will be able to hold an extraordinary meeting sometime in the summer to replace the missed meeting. Quite often we get maritime historians or authors visiting Vancouver during the summer, and just maybe we can convince one of them to give up a presentation. No guarantees — we’ll just have to wait and see who happens by.
► OCTOBER 2008 MEETING — Wednesday October 8th, 2008. For our October meeting we presented one of Peter Knego’s excellent series of videos of old liners and ferries now out of service — “The World’s Passenger Fleet”. Included was a segment presenting the sad sight of some old liners being broken up. Sad, but thanks to Peter’s never-ending efforts, many of these images are the last recorded images of some of the old passenger vessels. Some of the newer videos in the series are now available in DVD format. For more information visit www.midshipcentury.com/ where you can find details of what is still available, plus details of Peter’s 2009 Passenger Ships handy desk Calendar. ‡
IN MEMORY — LARBALESTIER, Bernie. It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Bernie Larbalestier on April 26, 2008 at the age of 75. Bernie always attended our meetings with his wife Pat. Bernie was born In Jersey Channel Islands and emigrated to Canada in 1955 eventually settling in Vancouver. He was a long time member of the Knights of Columbus and Volunteered with the Meals on wheels programme and at Collingwood House. Bernie is survived by his wife Pat of 47 years and their four children.
IN MEMORY — SLADDEN, Dickson. Another great loss to the Society was the sudden death of Dick Sladden in May of this year, after contracting pneumonia following a trip to New Zealand to visit his sister. Dick was our branch Librarian and also looked after our Postcard Collection. Dick spent many hours volunteering in the Photo Library at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and yet found time to volunteer for the Missions to Seafarers at Roberts Bank. A large get-to-gether was held On July 27th, at Dick’s home to celebrate his life. Several members from the World Ship Society and the Vancouver Maritime Museum attended.
► SEPTEMBER 2008 MEETING — Wednesday September 10th, 2008. After the success of our previous showing of a video on the Ships of Manchester, we decided to show another in the same series of “The Great Liners” called “A Voyage of Maritime Memories to South America”. It is about a voyage that included many well-known maritime historians and enthusiasts, on the MV DISCOVERY (the former Princess Cruises’ ISLAND PRINCESS, which was a familiar sight in Vancouver some years ago).
► APRIL 2008 MEETING — Wednesday April 9th, 2008. April saw us viewing a digital program, put together by our Vice-President, Ray Warren. This show was the second instalment of “The First Decade: 1970 to 1980”.— a nostalgic look back at some of the frequent visitors to Vancouver—when ships looked like ships.
► MARCH 2008 MEETING — Wednesday March 12th, 2008. Our guest speaker for March was John M. Horton - Mariner Artist. John's interesting presentation was titled "Captain Vancouver". Together with stunning visual images of some of his many paintings, John put together a fascinating series of stories of Captain Vancouver's voyages to the West Coast of Canada. John was also promoting his latest book "John M. Horton: Mariner Artist", which is a coffee-table sized book of some 175 pages authored by another local maritime historian, Peter Vassilopoulos.A quote from the cover of the book goes like this: "John M. Horton's marine art captures today and yesterday--people, places and events as we know and remember them. His paintings grace the walls of corporate offices, private homes, mansions, museums and even ships at sea. While there are many artists who paint marine scenes, few have Horton's ability to delineate accurately the architecture of a ship. And few compare when it comes to depicting the history of maritime events through their work." "Horton's portrayals range from the Pacific voyages of discovery when captains Cook and Vancouver first anchored off British Columbia to contemporary settings on urban and rural waterfronts.” John’s website is www.johnhorton.ca [GS]
► FEBRUARY 2008 MEETING — Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 — Because the proposed program for February was not ready, we postponed it to April. In its place we presented two short digital slide shows from members. The first was one from member Michel Tremblay showing the various vessels visiting the port of Gaspé in 2006. This was followed by another short slide show of vessels photographed by subscriber Gil Joynt while on a trip to the New Orleans area. Finally, we viewed a DVD production by the CBC, entitled Pier 21. For those not familiar with the term, it is Canada's equivalent to the Ellis Island Immigration station in New York. Thousands of new immigrants from Europe passsed through Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and this very well done video showed us what life was like after arriving in a new country.
► JANUARY 2008 MEETING — Wednesday January 9th, 2008. — A DVD on the past shipping activity on the Manchester Ship Canal in Cheshire, England, was the subject of our January meetings’ presentation and enlightenment. (It is likely that many of those present did not know the Canal existed.)‡The possibility of this canal goes back to Roman times, but it was centuries before it came into being. It was finally built in the 1880’s because the merchants of Manchester did not want business going to Liverpool downstream.The Canal’s cost was 14 million pounds. It is 36 miles long, to the centre of Manchester, and this tremendous accomplishment was opened by Queen Victoria on the 31st of May 1894 to much fanfare. The Canal is almost as long as the Panama Canal. There are many locks and bridges. The bridges mean that some ships must lower funnels and masts. The Canal handles with ease 150 foot ships of 12,000 tons. It is an interesting fact that a ship going upstream goes faster than one going downstream.Early-on tugs were a necessity for navigating the Canal. We saw many pictures of this activity. There were coasters, tankers, dredges, barges, Liberty ships…The video did not just show pictures of ships in the Canal, but of ships that departed from, or ended, their journeys in the Canal. We saw many ships of the Manchester Line, the Harrison Line, coming from South Africa, the Caribbean, the St. Lawrence River during freeze-up, and many other points on the Globe. Their cargoes were varied: oil, timber, sugar, liquor—name it, these ships had them as cargo.The 1960’s brought container ships, but the really golden days of the Canal were slowly coming to an end with the growing size of ships, changing times. But while those busy golden days have ended, the Canal is still in use, contributing to the economy of Great Britain. [Kellsie McLeod].
► DECEMBER 2007 MEETING — For our December meeting we were delighted to have viewed four separate presentations from branch members. First off was Robert Etchell with an interesting selection of slides from his vast collection. This was followed by a series of slide images that Bill Etchell had collected over the past few months from his friends and correspondents. After a long break to partake of the many delicious Christmas goodies that members brought along, we resumed the presentations with slides by Mike Brown. The last presenter was our own Cecil Woods, who came over from Vancouver Island to give us a look at several dozen slide images that he had gleaned from the Vancouver Branch Photo Collection.
► NOVEMBER 2007 MEETING — The evening started off with the Annual General Meeting. Minutes of last year’s meeting, a Membership & Financial reports were followed by a Report from the President. Our Nominations Committee, Len McCann, took over and conducted the election of officers. All incumbent officers were voted back into office for another year. The business part of the meeting concluded, it was followed by an exciting slide show program put together by and narrated by our own Len McCann, Curator Emeritus of the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The title of the program was "The Green Hill Park Disaster".
► OCTOBER 2007 MEETING — Syd Heal, gave us an interesting address on “Log Ships” and “Log Barges”, the B.C. based technical innovations which gave rise to the most efficient system of seaborn delivery of logs ever devised. This was based on his two books of the same name and described their history over 80 years and the fact that they might now be an endangered species given the state of the coastal forest economy.
► SEPTEMBER 2007 MEETING — This evening's program, chaired by Glenn Smith, was a nostalgic look back in history, with a most interesting program called "Container Ships in Vancouver", put together by and presented by Ray Warren. This show covers the first decade 1970 to 1980--Part One -- British, Scandinavian and European Lines. We look forward to the next program in this series which will be presented sometime in early 2008. In addition to the scheduled program, we were introduced to the new Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum, Wesley A. Wenhardt, and members Dr. Ray Parkinson and Joan Thornley gave short talks on the progress of the new Maritime Centre to be located in North Vancouver.
► MAY 2007 MEETING by Kellsie McLeod. — At our May meeting, Syd Heal presented slides which he dubbed “A tour In Line”, which was both entertaining and enjoy-active.‡ We were treated to a “tour” of freighters that dated back to the 1930’s, up to close to the present day.The difference in the ship’s designs was truly amazing. Most presented at least a harmonious image, but some were, to put it mildly, as assault to the eyes.The ships had been built in yards all over the world: Greece, India, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Britain, Canada.Syd compared the funnels of the ships to the features of the human face, which I imagine most of us had never thought of.A large number of the ships carried not only freight, but passengers, which surely must have made for a more informative cruise, as well as being enjoyable, than those on a mere cruise ship.And—Syd told us an amusing story of a ship going up the Clyde being steered by a dog. Was he putting us on? I don’t think so…The biggest producer of ships today is the Orient, Britain’s days as a top shipbuilder are over, though many are still being built in Europe.We were left with a wholehearted admiration for both the freighters designers and the shipbuilders.
► APRIL 2007 MEETING by Kellsie McLeod — Our April meeting focused on a rather unusual topic for West Coast Canadians. Ice. Temperatures below minus 33°. Made you wholeheartedly thankful to be living on the West Coast. WSS member Marc Piché of Québec gave us a lengthy talk and slide show on “Winter Navigation on the St. Lawrence”. He has been photographing ships for more than 30 years, and the photos were indeed excellent.‡ [KMSome of the highlights: The River can be frozen over from late November till early March. The St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959. The sound of ice flows crashing can be heard for miles inland. During the 30’s and 40’s and 50’s a fleet of icebreakers worked from Dartmouth to the Gulf. It would take a week to go from Sorel to Montréal. Ice jams can stop traffic completely—one closed a channel for 31 days in 1976. In 1981 another was closed for 15 days. With wind chill at that time the temperature was —55.The navigational buoys must be removed before freeze-up, as the ice would crush them. They are put back in place after spring break-up. In 1989 a strike that lasted 19 days prevented the buoys removal. Some of those damaged buoys eventually reached Newfoundland. The cold does not just make ice flows. Ships, and even power lines can also be completely coated with ice. The 60’s and 70’s saw many ships sunk in the St. Lawrence. In winter the ships have two pilots aboard and they are taken to the ships by tug. Ships always depart in the morning.As can be expected, the arrival of the first ship that reaches Montréal in the Spring causes rejoicing. Marc gave a history of the Golden-Headed cane awarded to the captain of that vessel. Needless to say, it is a time of rejoicing in Montréal. Space prevents further highlights, but to say it was an informative evening is an understatement.
REMEMBERING FRIENDS — Dennis Burt — Captain Dennis Gordon Burt was born on Denman Island on January 14, 1948 and grew up on Gabriola Island. At 18 he left for sea, working on deep-sea vessels around the world, moving up the ranks, until he became one of the youngest Master Mariners in Canada, at the age of 31. A gentleman to the end! His wry sense of humour and intelligent curiosity were his trademark. Dennis lived his life to the fullest. He stood on the North Pole, traversed the Kyber Pass, and rounded the Cape Horn. His life at sea granted him tremendous opportunities and he shied away from none of them. At 30 he returned home to Gabriola Island on leave and met his wife to be and later with two sons Dennis now decided to settle in North Vancouver , where he worked for Transport Canada, at the Port of Vancouver for 24 years where he worked as a ship inspector. Dennis took a keen interest in community programs and served as President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 118, President of the World Ship Society-Vancouver Branch, President of the Navy League-BC Mainland Division and was a member of the Union Club and a former Director of the Plimsoll Club of Vancouver. Dennis passed away on April 13, 2007 after a long battle with cancer. Dennis will be missed by all of those who experienced his presence.
IN MEMORY — Sidney E. Wilkinson — Sid was an avid nautical historian and well known member of the Merchant Navy Association and the World Ship Society-Vancouver Branch. Sid passed away on April 9, 2007 following a struggle with cancer. From A Friend — George Ross.[George Ross and Sid were very close friends for a long time].Yes I have lost an old friend and shipmate , we have known each other for over sixty years. We joined the Merchant Navy in 1944. I think we were the ripe old age of sixteen and a half. Took our training at the Wallasey Sea School in Liverpool we never met there. It wasn’t ‘till 1945 when we joined the RIPPINGHAM GRANGE one of Houlder Brothers ships. Made a couple of trips to South America on her—signed her off! When we went to the shipping pool we were sent to different ships as was the case in those days—you went where they sent you. We lost touch with each other for about a year—then met again in a young man’s happy hunting ground where girls and beer were plentifull—at an ice rink—not far from where we lived. Syd left the M.N. because of an ear problem so from then on when I was home we were a team. We each got motorcycles and had a ball.
► MARCH 2007 MEETING — . Our March meeting welcomed back Captain Don Rose, who presented a video made for SMIT in 2001 showing the lengthy and expensive salvage of the Russian nuclear-powered submarine KURSK, which sank in the Barents Sea after explosions aboard in August 2000, killing more than one hundred seamen. She was armed with both missiles and torpedoes. She settled on the bottom at 100 metres. A year later, after extensive preparations in many parts of the world, by those with the necessary knowledge, the raising of the KURSK began. It appears that the ship's raising was more for political reasons than environmental, or other reasons. A huge barge was equipped with lifts and stationed above KURSK. Divers from Aberdeen worked six hour shifts around the clock to position the equipment. First, the bow was separated from the rest of the ship, and finally, in October, the ship was raised and towed to Murmansk. The presentation was incredibly technical, but intriguing, and the question period afterward cleared up a number of mysteries. That question period rather quickly changed course, and the late questions to Captain Rose became of a more local nature. [report by Kellsie McLeod]
► FEBRUARY 2007 MEETING — Our guest speaker for the evening was nautical author, Anthony Dalton, relating stories from his latest book "BAYCHIMO: Arctic Ghost Ship" . This book is the story of a steamship owned by the Hudson's Bay Company which sailed to fur trade ports in the Siberian Arctic and Canada's Arctic. In 1931, BAYCHIMO (pronounced bay-chI-mo) became trapped in ice and for the next four decades drifted throughout the Arctic. This is her incredible tale, told by a master storyteller complete with a PowerPoint presentation.
► JANUARY 2007 MEETING. — Due to the inclement weather that hit the Vancouver region the day of the scheduled meeting, we were forced to make a last minute decision to cancel the meeting. Although road conditions near the Vancouver Maritime Museum were not snow covered, those attempting to get to the meeting would have been met with some serious obstacles on top of extremely icy streets. The Vancouver Maritime Museum sits on a point of land jutting out into English Bay and took the brunt on the last two fierce storms to hit the area. During the first, some of the glass panels in the roof area of the ST. ROCH shelter broke loose and came crashing down. So after some careful consideration it was decided that the best course of action would be to postpone the meeting to February.
► DECEMBER 2006 MEETING — Our annual Christmas meeting saw five of our members giving presentations. First up was Robert Etchell, who started off his slide presentation with 15 images of various "Spirit Bears" from around British Columbia, followed by a series of slides depicting coastal images of Courtenay/Powell River/Campbell River/French Creek areas and then a small list of passenger ships in Vancouver. He finished his presentation with images from a local wooden boat festival. After the first break for refreshments, our second presenter was Bill Etchell, who showed us about 80 various slides from the Andy Kilk collection, taken on Andy's never-ending travels around the world. After a second break for more refreshments, the third presenter was Mike Brown who showed slides depicting the Port Of Montréal, focusing on loading cranes. Some most impressive scenes of shipping in this Port. This was followed by views of activity on the local Vancouver waterfront.
After a final break for more refreshments, we were treated to a series of slides, focusing on the Maersk Line vessels visiting the Vancouver area ports. put together by member Don Brown, from his extensive photo collection. A most interesting insight into just one shipping line's activities here in Vancouver. Our final speaker was Syd Heal who introduced his latest publication, #5 in the West Coast Maritime Series, entitled "Inbound to Vancouver: British Columbia's Offshore Trade and Ocean Shipping Industries, 1850-1945.” This 209-page soft-cover book is available from Richmond Book Services in Vancouver at a most reasonable price. Tremendous number of black and white photos throughout, most of which came from the original Vancouver Branch World Ship Society negative collection, now held by the Vancouver Maritime Museum‡.At each intermission, our resident "tea lady", June Etchell, made sure there were pots of coffee and a wide array of tempting goodies for all to enjoy -- free of charge. These goodies were all donated by various members, and included everything from sausage rolls to cans of pop to traditional Christmas cake and cookies. And while members were indulging, member Ray Parkinson played another disc from his itty-bitty piano -- a sort of unique music box. Ray had quite a selection of Christmas music with him that added an interesting touch to the atmosphere. It was agreed by all in attendance that this was indeed an interesting evening of entertainment. A huge thank you goes out to all the members who gave presentations, or who brought along platefuls of goodies to be devoured by the crowd -- and especially to the "tea lady" who was kept hopping the whole evening through. [GS]
► NOVEMBER 2006 MEETING — November 8th, 2006 marked the date for our Annual General Meeting. All current incumbents were re-elected for a further term, plus we added one new Director-at-Large, long-time member Ray Warren. There were no unusual items to report, and the meeting concluded quickly. A large thank you goes out to all those who agreed to stand for a director's position for the 2006-2007 year. The AGM over, we headed into our entertainment section, which was the delayed program from last month. Syd Heal presented the 2nd in his excellent series of images from the Vancouver Maritime Museum's photo collection (plus other sources) -- this time concentrating on Wartime Standard Ships. Syd's remarkable knowledge about the ships of this era added an interesting dimension to the presentation. On a sad note, we had to announce the recent passing of a long-time branch member, John Crosse, who suffered a massive heart attack while riding his bicycle near his home, on October 31, 2006. John was active in many local historical ventures, including the Vancouver Historical Society, the former Bayard Society, the local Map Society ... to name but a few. [GS]
► OCTOBER 2006 MEETING — Sometimes the best laid out plans go awry — and that is exactly what happened this month. Syd Heal was preparing his presentation but ran into problems finding anyone in Canada who could duplicate the negatives into slides for us. Eventually some firm in Montreal took on the job, but the slides were not returned to Syd in time to put the presentation together. So a last minute decision was made to show one of the best videos available dealing with passenger ships — one of a series created and narrated by our good friend Peter Knego. Peter has so far created eight videos in this series, with a ninth one in the works. Each has a unique collection of images of passenger ships—mostly the good, old-fashioned-looking ones, but with a smattering of the latest and greatest. Any one interested in passenger ships should consider buying one of the later volumes in the series.
► SEPTEMBER 2006 MEETING by Kellsie McLeod — Our speaker, Frank Layton, was well prepared for his presentation on "Beleaguered Malta", as he was stationed on Malta as a member of the R.A.F. at the time of the convoy's arrival. He was born in England in 1919, and is a writer of nautical matters. His engineering career has been mainly in Canada. The hour-long video was excellent. By August 1942 the situation in Malta was desperate. They were short of water; they depended on underground wells which the water had to be pumped up. And they were short of fuel. They were desperate for food.
This particular convoy was called "Pedestal". The ships had to be capable of 15 knots, so were carefully chosen. It consisted of 14 ships, and was escorted by cruisers, aircraft carriers and destroyers. It sailed from Scotland, and all went well 'til they entered the Mediterranean. They were bombed from the air for three days running, and had to navigate mine fields, and fight off torpedo-boat attacks. Of the 14 ships, four got through. A fact in itself that points out the dangers faced, and the sacrifice of the many brave men who died. All in all, an excellent reminder of the valour of those who fought in the Second World War.
► APRIL 2006 MEETING — April 12th saw us present the slide show originally scheduled for the March meeting, which had to be cancelled due to a severe storm that knocked out power to the Vancouver Maritime Museum.Our own Syd Heal treated us to an interesting slide show entitled “Tramp Ships and Cargo Liners Between the Wars”. Time passed quickly as we were shown a 50-slide presentation made up of pictures originally from the Vancouver Maritime Museum collection, many of which are part of the original World Ship Society photo collection, which is now administered by the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Syd’s entertaining dialogue and anecdotal footnotes rounded it all off to an entertaining evening. We saw old steam tramps belching smoke in a way that would earn a heavy fine if such a discharge happened today. Equally interesting were the photos of what was considered the latest thing in lumber carriers prior to the outbreak of war in 1939. Interspersed with this collection were a variety of cargo liners and a few tramp tankers. Among the collection were a few Canadian deep sea ships, British, Scandinavian, Italian, German, Greek, Dutch and Japanese flag ships of that era.Planned for presentation next season are two further slide shows. The first will be “Wartime Standard Ships in Peacetime Colours”, which will include a variety of the Canadian Forts and Parks, Liberties, Empires and American Victories and others. That means that most of these pictures will have been taken in the period 1946 to about the late 1960s. Following in the spring of 2007, a thrird show will cover ships of the period 1960 to about 1980. More could follow. These slide shows belong to the WSS Vancouver Branch, and within reason can be made available through Syd Heal to outside groups along with the speaker, should there be interest. For example the Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans will be seeing this first slide show on May 15th in Burnaby. It seems like a good way to build bridges between various groups with a maritime interest.
► MARCH 2006 MEETING — Surprise! Surprise! At the 11th hour, we had to cancel the March Members’ meeting. It had been stormy the night before and much of Vancouver was knocked off the power grid. The Kits Point area went out about 8:30 in the morning and was not back on at 4:00 pm, so we did a phone campaign to notify all those we felt might come to the meeting. The program was supposed to a slide presentation by S.C. Heal, but that was not to be. No electricity—no projector—no heat—no meeting!
► FEBRUARY 2006 MEETING — Members were treated to a very interesting description of the steps being taken in Canada, the European Union and Russia to open the North East Passage from the Barentz Sea across the north coast of Siberia to the Bering Sea. Mr. Peter L. Wright of Vancouver, an expert in marine insurance and a consultant to the Fridjof Nansen Institute in Oslo told us of the many factors involved in satisfying marine underwriters, shipowners and political and environmental interests involved in International shipping by this route as an alternative to the Middle East and the Suez Canal.
► JANUARY 2006 MEETING — S.C. Heal presented a video taken aboard the coastal AURORA EXPLORER on a recent cruise. We enjoyed travelling through coastal waters to remote logging sites, fish farms and deserted islands which dot the British Columbia Coast. Unfortunately, the video was too long to show in its entirety, so some parts had to be put on fast-forward. But there is no getting away from the fact that British Columbia has some of the most beautiful and interesting coastline anywhere in the world. And the video captured what life aboard the vessel was like as the passengers travelled for days amongst fjords and islands while delivering a variety of cargo to the very remotest outposts on earth
► DECEMBER 2005 MEETING — Our December meeting was more than a success, with presentations from five members. Syd Heal chaired the meeting, as our President, Dennis Burt was unable to attend due to the unexpected death of his wife. Our thoughts are with Dennis in this time of grief. Len McCann made an announcement that Dr. Wally Chung had donated a large part of his extensive personal collection of maritime artifacts and memorabilia to the Vancouver Maritime Museum. A moving truck full of items arrived only this morning. Then Dr. Ray Parkinson announced that a "Gateway to the Pacific" Museum was proposed to be built at the old Burrard Shipyard site on the North Shore.
Then it was on to the presentations. Bill Etchell led off with a series of slides that took us around the world. There were scenes of China, Barcelona, Honolulu, Alaska, Auckland. Also Stockholm and Gotenburg in Sweden. An excellent round-the-world trip.
Geoffrey Hughes followed with more slides, but these showed us, in the main, ships leaving and entering Vancouver Harbour -- ferries, cruise ships in the Outer Harbour, and even one cruise ship with no passengers aboard (she was heading for repairs). There were also scenes of the Tall Ships that we welcomed last summer. The colours, sunsets, scenery were amazing, lovely.
John Crosse gave a short talk on the GRAF SPEE, and the Battle of the River Plata off Montevideo in 1939. He gave many insights into this battle, the fate of crews, etc and increased our knowledge of this history-making sea battle.
Mike Brown brought us back to the present with a slide show that took us on a tour of the Vancouver waterfront -- an area that is closed to visitors in these perilous days, unlike the long-ago. Mike is a former longshoreman on the Vancouver waterfront. The images were mainly of VanTerm, and he brought us pictures of the highly-automated, complex loading process of loading and unloading cargoes in the days of computers. The number of longshoremen needed today has dropped dramatically because of this, and it was startling to see so much of the activity going on with so few people in sight. We saw all aspects of the process, the tractor trailers, the gantries, cranes, in operation against the backdrop of the North Shore mountains. The cranes, he said, are 235 feet high, and have an elevator to the top! We saw the stacks of containers, and he gave information as to the hazards, challenges of loading and unloading ships today. Robert Etchell finished the slide presentations with images of varying subjects. We were treated to shots of Victoria's Inner Harbour, ferries in Active Pass, the Tall Ships of last summer, a tug with a log boom, ships with a cargo of cranes -- a new day of shipping that is spectacular, to put it mildly. Also a last winter snowfall scene and one of people climbing up a waterfall near Squamish.A non-vocal presentation was laid out on a table by Dr. Parkinson. He is an avid collector of music boxes and piggy banks, among other things. We were invited to pick up and listen to the music boxes. They included one of the Three Wisemen, a little Drummer Boy, a Christmas tree with a mouth and bulging eyes, a wooden one with beautiful inlays. The banks included a car, among other things, and for good measure there was a piranha with open mouth and many teeth, enclosed in glass! Members brought platefuls of goodies -- cookies, Christmas cakes, sausage rolls -- and June Etchell, as always, supervised the making of tea and coffee and the laying out. And because it was Christmas, we did not have to pay into the kitty. Merry Christmas! But how many pounds did we all gain? All in all, a most enjoyable, informative, and interesting evening. [report by Kellsie McLeod]
► NOVEMBER 2005 MEETING — The first part of the evening was taken up with our AGM. All incumbents were returned to office for another year.Then our guest speaker for the evening, Captain Don Rose, one of the top tugboat captains on our coast, gave an excellent talk and video presentation of life as a tugboat master. He was born in Edmonton in 1944, but his family moved early-on to Minstrel Island, 150 miles north of Vancouver, and he grew up there, his father operating the community general store. He looked the part of a ship master, in blue blazer, collar and tie, polished shoes. It was interesting to find out that his son is following in his father’s footsteps.The first part of the presentation was about Riv Tow’s largest tug, RIVTOW CAPTAIN BOB going to the rescue of a ship broken 600 miles off the Washington Coast. It took three days out of Vancouver to reach the ship, and they managed with difficulty, for it was January and the weather turbulent, to get it under tow, and continued on to Honolulu, where the Chinese took over. She had a cargo of 80,000 tons of grain, and was bound for Bangladesh, and after that to the scrappers. There were wonderful pictures of the ships at sea, spray hitting 30 feet above the water-line. We learned much about the difficulties, the skills needed to tow in the open ocean.The second part of the lecture dealt with our coastal log barges. (We are the only place in the world which employs self-dumping log barges.) There were facsinating pictures of the barges operating, loading, and finally dumping their cargo in Howe Sound, after loading in Stewart, and Prince Rupert. We were told many little-known facts about the barges: In order to stop a loaded barge, the process must begin five miles earlier. It takes 45 minutes for a barge to dump its load. The question period was lively and informative, and Captain Rose answered all questions in detail. All in all, an excellent presentation, an informative and interesting evening for the World Ship Society members.‡ [report by Kellsie McLeod]
► OCTOBER 2005 MEETING — Rollie Webb, the man in charge of all the Washington Group shipyards, (Canada's largest shipyard organisation) kept the attention of his listeners throughout his presentation. He sparked so much interest that at the question period at the end of the meeting, there was not time for all the queries. He gave a bit of B.C.'s shipbuilding history to start, and the many PowerPoint slides were well chosen. Some highlights: A Captain James Cooper, who emi-grated to the new colony of Vancouver's Island, was the first B.C. shipbuilding entrepreneur. In 1885 he assembled an iron, two-masted schooner on a Victoria beach. It was the first vessel registered in Victoria. The Federal Govt. offered subsidies for ships built in Canada between 1965 and 1985, but shipbuilding today does not have much public support. The lecture ended with a comprehensive overview of the Washington Marine Group. Among other things, its Victoria Shipyard Ltd. is the largest ship repair facility on our coast. On a light note, it was amusing to discover that the latest term for changes to cruise ships is 'refreshment'. Rollie stated repeatedly that the shipbuilding business is maintained by entrepreneurs, and certainly his audience left convinced of this fact. [report by Kellsie McLeod.]
► SEPTEMBER 2005 MEETING — Our speaker for the September meeting was Bill Lightfoot, author of "Beneath the Surface: Submarines Built in Seattle and Vancouver 1909-1918". Bill was born in Seattle and has lived most of his life there. He served in the Second World War as a merchant seaman. His interest in ships continues to this day, though he is a mining engineer. This interest led him to research and write a book on submarines -- those built on the West Coast of North America early in the 20th century.
His book is a detailed chronicle of these subs in all their aspects, and he gave us a lengthy talk, illustrated with slides from the book. General knowledge of sub building on this coast, is, to put it mildly, scanty. Lightfoot's book, and his lectures, will do much to dispel that lack. A few facts he emphasized: Subs were built on this coast in Vancouver and Seattle prior to, and during, the First World War. J. Paterson, a naval architect, was the mastermind behind their building. The six subs built in Vancouver were built at a location west of Canada Place, and in Barnet. Early subs had a collapsible bridge -- hard to picture. Before the First World War there was no wireless telegraph aboard these boats. Pigeons were used to send messages ashore.
The slides were enlightening -- bunks aboard were four tiers high! No wonder crews were chosen with the lack of space in mind! All in all, Lightfoot gave a comprehensive overview of early subs, stimulating the interest of his listeners, making them want to learn more of this neglected part of our history.-- Report by Kellsie McLeod
► MAY 2005 MEETING — Cecil Woods came over from Parksville on Vancouver Island to give us an excellent slide presentation. It was divided into two parts, with an intermission in between. The first part was like a travelogue of Cuba. Cecil had recently visited there, and he took many pictures of the sights. —– City squares, the architecture, the hotels. Apparently the Cubans are not worried about what will happen in their country when Castro dies. Such optimism! It is possible to get by in English in Cuba, thanks no doubt to the country’s free education system. (Not to mention medicare for all).The second presentation was a combination of the slides left to the Society by three members. They ranged the world. We saw ships in ports on North America’s east and west coast, the Great Lakes, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and many other ports. The ships covered the entire span of that which floats. Ferries, freighters, warships, cruise ships. Name it, we saw beautiful images of every type. The periods covered ranged from the late 1890’s of a sailing ship being repaired in Esquimalt, to fairly recent views of cruise ships, but with the majority being in the 1960’s and 70’s. Certainly an evening members present were glad they had not missed. Thank you Cecil.‡ [report by Kellsie McLeod]
► MARCH 2005 MEETING — For our March meeting we welcomed Bruce Chadwick, Comptroller, and his co-presenter, David Avey, Operations Manager, for the Pacific Pilotage Authority, who gave a most interesting talk on the role of pilots in delivering ships to ports in Southern British Columbia. Personally I had no idea there were so many pilots operating on this coast — but on reflection I should have known better. After the talk, we were shown a DVD video presentation which was a revised version of their “To Masters Orders and Pilot’s Advice” VHS video that was produced many years ago. But like so many events in the life of the Vancouver Branch, it was discovered at the last minute that the Maritime Museum did not have a working DVD player for our use. This meant a mad dash to the store the day before to order a new machine. Then a few hours to read the 50 pages of instructions and try to figure out what the 41 buttons on the remote did. Just hours before the meeting was started, the new player was hooked up and I anxiously awaited the guest’s material, not knowing if it would be a data CD, a CD-V, a DVD or something else. All worked out in the end, and we all enjoyed a crystal clear video presentation of a very important aspect of our working harbours and waterways. Our thanks to the speakers for kindly donating the DVD to our Vancouver Branch Lending Library. [report by Glenn Smith]
► FEBRUARY 2005 MEETING — We had the pleasure of welcoming Lucia Bakker from the Canadian Coast Guard - MCTS for an illustrated talk entitled "Vancouver Vessel Traffic -- History, Organization and Operation". With the aid of a specially designed PowerPoint presentation, Lucia very aptly managed to provide an interesting insight into the world of Ship Traffic Management in the Vancouver area. It was a difficult subject to address, as it is quite technical, but Lucia did a smashing job of interpreting the various aspects of the office which controls all vessel traffic in the Vancouver area. With the aid of maps showing a typical winter day, we could see just how much traffic the office must deal with. But then a comparison map showing a typical summer day was mind-boggling, with water-bourne traffic everywhere. Our thanks go to Lucia for creating and presenting this most informative presentation, and to our own Don Brown who made the arrangements for the talk. [report by Glenn Smith]
► DECEMBER 2004 MEETING — To say that the December meeting was a success is an understatement. Attendance was low, due to a number of illnesses, but those present did not let that lessen their enjoyment. The December meeting is a ‘members’ presentation evening, and four separate showings were given.‡Bill Etchell led off with a slide show of ships that included both cruise ships and ferries from locations around the world. Talk about fireside travel! We viewed ships in the Great Lakes, the Isle of Man, Germany, many with the White Cliffs of Dover in the background, Sweden, Belfast, Isle of Rhodes and other locations. It should be mentioned that input from knowledgeable members throughout the slide shows added to the interest.Next came Robert Etchell. His slides dealt mainly with B. C. ship, and few, if any, types were omitted. There were the cruise ships, cable layers, freighters of all types, containers, bulk loaders, some of which combine both oil and bulk capabilities, and so on, ranging the length of our vast coastline, and also including Vancouver Harbour and the entrance to the Fraser River. One memorable one had a rainbow in the background.Last, but not least, Don Brown finished the slides with a showing of Canadian navy ships dating back to 1971, and to the present day. It was fascinating to see how many different types of vessels we have in our Navy — destroyer escorts, minesweepers, Maritime Coastal Defence vessels (of which we have six on this coast), patrol frigates, training vessels. One was of six ships in line ahead, and the scenery in all was marvellous.The final presentation was by Syd Heal, about a book he is publishing — it should be out in the New Year. “Stand by, Let’er Go!” will surely be a must-read for everyone. It tells of the life of Robert Karliner, a life-long fisherman on our coast for sixty-two years! He started out as a boy of fourteen. The first ship he owned was a gillnetter that cost eighty dollars, his last, the ARCTIC HARVESTER, cost one point two million, which gives an insight into how successful the German-born man was.So, a thoroughly enjoyable and informative evening, made more so by the refreshments members had brought, which ranged from sausage rolls to fruit cake, and everything in between, overseen by June Etchell, our resident convener.Smooth sailing and a Happy New Year to all. [report by Kellsie McLeod]
► NOVEMBER 2004 MEETING — Due to a series of unfortunate events, the evening started late with our twice-delayed Annual General Meeting, chaired by Len McCann. Capt. Dennis Burt, who was unable to make the meeting, was re-elected to the President's position, Joan Thornley to the Recording Secretary's post, Glenn Smith as Treasurer and Corresponding Secretary, Cecil Woods and Kellsie McLeod as Directors-at-Large -- and a newcomer to our Board, author, writer and historian, S.C. Heal was elected to the position of Vice-President to replace Bruce Ward who died suddenly this past summer. At the conclusion of the AGM, we were treated to a delightful PowerPoint presentation entitled "Romance Sails the North Pacific" by Warren Green, outlining his ancestors’ trips on the 45-foot brigantine ROMANCE, especially those of Capt. Ernest Philip Green. A most informative production. Our thanks to Ray Warren for his suggestion for this programme.
► OCTOBER 2004 MEETING — Our members were treated to one of Len McCann’s well-developed slide shows detailing the history of the Union Steamship Company of British Columbia. Along with Len’s vast knowledge of the subject, it made for a most enjoyable evening.
March, April, May & September 2004 notes to be posted
► FEBRUARY 2004 MEETING – Wednesday, February 11th, 2004, 7:30 pm -- Meeting Review -- A WELCOME GUEST by Kellsie McLeod Frank Wade, author and ex-naval officer, gave an excellent talk on the naval warfare in the Mediterranean during World War 2. It is a part of history often neglected, and he brought back memories to many present, as well as giving those younger a unique insight into this phase of the War. Frank, like so many of the Canadian Navy, was a prairie boy, born in Brandon, Manitoba. He was sent to England to begin his naval training, on the H.M.S. CONWAY in Liverpool, then went on to Dartmouth Naval College. At 19 he ended up a Cypher Officer on the staff of the renowned Commander in Chief of the British Mediterranean Fleet, Admiral Andrew B. Cunningham. He covered all phases of the Mediterranean War, from the bombings of Malta to other islands, to support of the British campaign in North Africa against Rommel. An eloquent speaker, he brought to life all aspects of the war, and the audience was able to follow by looking at a large map of the area. Wade has written an excellent book, "A Midshipman's War: A Young Man in the Mediterranean Naval War 1941-43." It was small wonder that the last 15 copies of the book were snapped up following the lecture.‡
► JANUARY 2004 MEETING — Wednesday, January 14th, 2004, 7:30 pm -- We were delighted to welcome member S.C. Heal for another interesting talk on his early travels in South East Asia. Despite the fact that I led the author astray by arranging for the wrong projector to show the many photographs, the audience was delighted with the earthy musings of life aboard ship — way back when. The talk was a prelude to his newest book coming out soon, “A South Asian Odyssey: Voyages and Travels in the Last Days of the British Raj”. Much of the talk centred around life in India, with many names that were familiar to me. This was especially poignant for me as my Mother and all her family were born in India. But the talk moved on to life at sea. Some of those adventures make my recent travels seem like luxury holidays.
► DECEMBER 2003 MEETING -- Wednesday, December 10th, 2003, 7:30 pm -- Members' Night, (Show and Tell). Our December member's meeting was the usual 'Show and Tell' evening, with four members providing presentations for us. Robert Etchell showed some of his wonderful Vancouver images of container ships visiting the Port, followed by Don Brown with a varied selection of tugs to cable-layers taken in Vancouver Harbour or along the Fraser River. After intermission, Rick Garcia showed us a series of slides of lesser-known, but most interesting smaller vessels, mainly from Olympia, Washington and the lower Puget Sound area. Finally, it was John Crosse's turn to recite a version of "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner". Lots of Christmas treats were consumed by the crowd before everyone left the last meeting for 2003.
► OCTOBER 2003 MEETING -- Wednesday, October 8th, 2003, 7:30 pm -- The Building of MUNIN -- illustrated by a video, one of more speakers from our local Scandinavian community will discuss the building of this half-size replica of a Viking ship, usually seen at VMM's Heritage Harbour in summer.
► NOVEMBER 2003 MEETING -- Wednesday, November 12th, 2003, 7:30 pm -- Navy Night -- One or more Canadian Navy crew members who served aboard one or more of Her Majesty's Canadian Ships deployed to Middle East waters in the past few years will discuss their functions and experiences. Commander Rick Gerbrecht will discuss the Canadian Navy’s role in Operation Apollo in the Arabian Sea as well as describe his personal experiences as Executive Officer aboard supply ship HMCS PROTECTEUR. Commander Gerbrecht grew up in Kelowna, British Columbia, and is a graduate of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. After completing Maritime Surface training, he began his naval service in various Pacific fleet destroyers including HMCS YUKON, HMCS GATINEAU and HMCS KOOTENAY, specializing in Anti-Submarine warfare. He then served as the Regular Support Staff Officer in the naval reserve unit HMCS NONSUCH (Edmonton, Alberta) and helped the unit earn the “Silver Destroyer” for being assessed as the best naval reserve unit in Canada for an unprecedented three consecutive years.
Following the completion of the year-long Operations Room Officer course, Commander Gerbrecht was appointed Deputy Combat Officer in HMCS ALGONQUIN during her participation in OP SHARP GUARD (maritime operations in support of the former Yugoslavia) as the flagship to Commander Standing Naval Force Atlantic (SNFL). From 1994-1997, as the Officer-in-Charge of the IROQUOIS-class Command and Control Systems trainer in Esquimalt, B.C., he was responsible for the training of nine flagship command teams and conducting weapons certification for Standard missile systems in the navy. He earned the Commander of Maritime Command Commendation for his efforts in missile technology. After serving one year as the Task Group Combat Officer for the Atlantic fleet, Commander Gerbrecht was selected to plan operations for the Canadian Flagship year 1999-2000. He served as the Commanding Officer to the Canadian component of the deployed flagship staff in support of the NATO force commander. During that same year, the NATO Maritime reaction force participated in OP ALLIED FORCE (maritime operations in relation to Kosovo).
Upon return to Canada in 2001, Commander Gerbrecht attended the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in Toronto and was promoted to his current rank. Commander Gerbrecht then returned to Esquimalt and served as Executive Officer in the replenishment ship HMCS PROTECTEUR, which participated in OP APOLLO, the Canadian Forces contribution to counter international terrorism from May to November 2002. In July 2003, Commander Gerbrecht was appointed to his current position as Chief of Staff Operations to Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific. Commander Gerbrecht is married to the former Sandra York. They live in Victoria with their two children, Melissa and Benjamin.
► OCTOBER 2003 MEETING -- Wednesday, October 8th, 2003, 7:30 pm -- The Building of MUNIN -- illustrated by a video, one of more speakers from our local Scandinavian community will discuss the building of this half-size replica of a Viking ship, usually seen at VMM's Heritage Harbour in summer.
► SEPTEMBER 2003 MEETING -- Wednesday, September 10th, 2003, 7:30 pm-- Following the Vancouver Branch Annual General Meeting, Dan Rodlie will present shipping slides taken while visiting Norway. Time permitting, a one-half-hour video on the Trent Severn Waterway (Ontario) will also be shown. Time permitting, a second one-half-hour film OR slide presentation from member John Hammond's collection will also be featured.
► SPECIAL AUGUST 2003 MEETING -- Saturday, August 30th, 2003, 11:30 am. We are pleased to welcome back to Vancouver, our good friend and WSS member, Peter Knego who has promised us another of his delightful slide show talks. All passenger ship enthusiasts are welcome, including WSS members, relatives and friends. Doors will be open at 11:00 AM for a meeting start time of 11:30 AM. Refreshments will be available.
► MAY 2003 MEETING — Wednesday, May 14th, 2003, 7:30 pm — Beyond the Newtsuit. Dr. Phil Nuytten brings us an update (illustrated by videotape) on his company’s recent projects. No stranger to Vancouver Maritime Museum, R. T. (Phil) Nuytten, OBC, LL.D., truly may be said to have spent his life in subsea exploration. He logged many thousands of hours underwater, world-wide, as a working commercial diver and as a developer of underwater equipment and techniques. He is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the modern commercial diving industry and a significant force in the creation of new technology. In the 1960s and 1970s, our speaker was heavily involved in experimental deep-diving and the development of mixed gas decompression tables. He was a member of the team that completed the first 600-ft. ocean “bounce” dives on Project Nesco, and in 1972, he wrote the protocol for Deep Work 1000, the first North American 1000-ft. saturation dive. These early projects helped set the international standards in use today.
During this period, Phil was the co-founder of Oceaneering International Inc., which went on to become one of the largest underwater skills company in the world and provided a vehicle for many early subsea development projects.
Working with long-time colleague Dr. Joe MacInnis, Nuytten headed the equipment research component of a series of high-Arctic expeditions to test his own designs of life-support gear for use in polar and sub-polar conditions. In 1984, Dr. Nuytten appeared on the cover of National Geographic Magazine for his record dives through ice-covered Arctic waters onto the BREADALBANE, the northern-most known shipwreck. His involvement in underwater activities in virtually all of the world’s oceans has resulted in articles on his work in Reader’s Digest, Business Week, Newsweek, Time, Popular Science, Discovery, Fortune, and Scientific American as well as dozens of diving and aerospace technical journals. Dr. Nuytten has been a popular speaker at underwater conferences around the world and has published numerous technical papers on his leading-edge work in subsea technology.
He has also been instrumental in the development and current acceptance of Atmospheric Diving System technology. In 1979, he began work on a revolutionary new one-atmosphere diving suit that resulted in a patented break-through in rotary joint design, and formed the basis for the world-famous “Newtsuit“. The “Newtsuit” is a 1000-ft.-rated hard suit that completely protects the wearer from outside pressure and eliminates the need for decompression while still maintaining mobility and dexterity.
In 1997, Nuytten and his design team produced the 2,000-ft.-rated micro-submersible, Deepworker, a revolutionary deep-diving system that has been called “an underwater sports car” and received a five-year contract from the National Geographic Society to provide Deepworkers and crews on Dr. Sylvia Earle’s “Sustainable Seas Expeditions”, an initiative to study deep ocean environmental impact. Use of the Deepworker micro-subs has already increased scientists’ understanding of underwater ecology, habitats, and biodiversity through exploration and on-going monitoring of national marine sanctuaries. The Deepworkers were also called upon to recover the Space Shuttle booster rockets during a recent flight to the U.S. space station. NASA is currently studying acquisition of a pair of titanium Deepworkers specifically dedicated to booster rocket recovery. Nuytten’s work with NASA spans more than 25 years, and he has published several papers on space applications of undersea technology as well as being an award-winning senior member of the American Association of Aeronautics ... Also in the year 2000, Dr. Nuytten introduced a new concept for an ultra-light weight, swimming hard suit called the Exosuits. Nuytten and his team recently completed a contract for the Canadian Department of National Defence to examine the feasibility of using the Exosuit as a submarine escape device. Plans are also underway to utilize a space version of the Exosuit in the aptly-named “Da Vinci Project” in 2002.
Nuytten has earned many international honours and awards, including commercial diving’s highest award from the Association of Diving Contractors International, the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences Nogi award, and induction into the Diving Hall of Fame. In 1992, he was awarded the Order of British Columbia, his home province’s highest honour, in recognition of his role in causing B.C. to become known as one of the world centres of underwater technology, and for his outstanding Canadian achievement.
Dr. Nuytten has spent nearly 40 years developing undersea systems that all have the safety of the diving technician as their common theme. His goal has been to provide scientific, technical, military, and sport divers full access to continental shelf depths without the hazards of decompression so that humans can explore, learn about, and — ultimately — protect the world’s oceans.
► APRIL 2003 MEETING — Wednesday, April 9th, 7:30 pm — Vancouver Harbour in the 1990s,presented by Ship’s Log Editor Cecil Woods, is a slide show compiled mainly from Vancouver Branch members’ photographs. Contained in the selection are cruise ships, tugboats, cargo vessels and working ships. Some photos are of historic ships such as PRINCE GEORGE (II).
► MARCH 2003 MEETING — Wednesday, March 12th, 7:30 pm — Launching History, The Saga of Burrard Dry Dock author Dr. Francis Mansbridge gives an illustrated talk on this now-defunct North Vancouver shipyard’s origins until the present. Dr. Mansbridge has been Archivist, North Vancouver Archives, since 1994. His career has included teaching and writing for various publications. His literary works include a biography of Canadian poet Irving Layton. Having arrived from England in 1946 with his parents at age three, he originally lived in Saskatchewan. His academic “credentials” follow: B.A., Notre Dame College; M.A. in English, Univ. of Toronto; Ph.D. in English, Univ. of Ottawa; as well as archival studies at Univ. of British Columbia. Despite his degrees, Francis writes and speaks in clear Canajan and his book will be available at our meeting at $39.95 total cost.
► FEBRUARY 2003 MEETING — Wednesday, February 12th, 7:30 pm — Oil Spill Response on the B.C. Coast — Educated in England at London Polytechnic and London University, Mr. Martyn J. Green, F.Inst.Pet., has been close to oil spill problems for many years, having attended no fewer than 520+ incidents. As retired President / General Manager of Burrard Clean Operations, our speaker notes this company is a “response organization” as defined in the Canada Shipping Act, created in 1995 by industry to combat oil spills on the B.C. coast. Mr. Green has held several other positions abroad in the petroleum industry and served with the Royal Air Force. One of his current “hobbies” is his role as President, Board of Trustees, Vancouver Maritime Museum.
► JANUARY 2003 MEETING — Wednesday, January 8th, 7:30 pm — Water(s) Music. Vancouver Branch member John Hammond, assisted by Vancouver Maritime Museum volunteer Earl Hayter, presents (via audio tape recordings and videotapes) solo songs, choruses, and brief orchestral numbers. Each selection is related in some way to the high-seas, oceans, rivers, lakes, etc. Water(s) Music is unusually varied and is by no means an evening solely of sea shanties. Sorry, opera-lovers, no part of Billy Budd or Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) will be heard. Maximum music time is one and one-half hours.
► DECEMBER 2002 MEETING — Wednesday, December 11th, 7:30 pm -- Yes, it’s our Members’ Night / Show ’n’ Tell meeting once more. And, yes, it’s never too early to phone your would-be presentation to John Hammond at 000-000-0000 or e-mail <no firstname.lastname@example.org> describing your topic and its duration. Static displays are also most welcome. NOTE early 7:30 pm START OF DECEMBER MEETING.
► NOVEMBER 2002 MEETING — Wednesday, November 13th, 8 pm -- Navy Night 2002. We are delighted to have as our guest speaker Mr. John McKay, an architectural draughtsman with a keen interest in historic ships. John’s meticulous drawings are exemplified in his books such as The Armed Transport BOUNTY (now in Revised Ed.), The 100-Gun Ship, VICTORY (also in Revised Ed.), and co-author of The Flower Class Corvette AGASSIZ with John Harland as well as The 24-Gun Frigate PANDORA 1779 with Ron Coleman. Some of John’s work is also included in HMS VICTORY, Her Construction, Career and Restoration by Alan McGowan. The trio of John McKay, Leonard McCann and James Delgado collaborated to produce (currently for sale at Vancouver Maritime Museum) The Hudson’s Bay Company’s 1835 Steam Ship BEAVER, perhaps the definitive work on this subject. John’s Branch presentation focuses on Horatio Nelson’s HMS VICTORY of 1805 Trafalgar fame, preserved in Portsmouth Royal Navy base. A short 35mm slide introduction starts his talk which is then illustrated by selected technical drawings. A model may be in attendance i.e. a model of HMS VICTORY!
► OCTOBER 2002 MEETING — Wednesday, October 9th, 8 pm -- Branch member Don Brown, another of our highly talented ship photographers, presents a slide show, North to Alaska,Vancouver Passenger Ships 1966-2002. As well as cruise ships, Don will depict other passenger vessels which have visited Vancouver.
► SEPTEMBER 2002 MEETING — Wednesday, September 11th, 8 pm --Following our Annual General Meeting, each introduced by Branch member John Hammond, two one-half-hour films will be shown on the following subjects 1) Ontario’s Trent-Severn Waterway and 2) A visit aboard decommissioned Her Majesty’s YachtBRITANNIA in Leith, Scotland. There will be a 10-minute intermission between films.