This past week, I was invited to speak at the Crows Nest Officer’s Club about an interesting vessel with a checkered past. For 55 years, the SS Thetis sailed from the North Atlantic to the shores of Hawai’i, and North again to Alaska before ending up back off the shores of Newfoundland for the rest of her career. She had an incredible career, so read on to learn more!
Last week, I was lucky enough to sit down with Jamie Fitzpatrick of The Broadcast on CBC and chat about the importance of preserving heritage.
Thank you very much to Jamie for hosting me in the studio. It was a great experience!
In case you missed it, yesterday I was on VOCM with Andrew Hawthorn, talking about social media, maritime archaeology, and just generally geeking out over ships. If you missed the broadcast, or you’d like to hear it again, check it out!
Just over a week ago, a new ship came sailing through the Narrows. The M/V Arctic Sunrise, operated by Greenpeace, arrived in St. John’s on August 3rd. Curious to learn what brought her here, I popped down and was able to chat with some members of her crew.
Nationality: The Netherlands
Length: 49.5 metres
Beam: 11.5 metres
Draught: 5.3 metres
Weight: 1,478 tonnes
Speed: 13 knots
Built by Vaagen Verft in Norway in 1975, the Arctic Sunrise was originally christened as the sealer, PolarbjØrn. Read more
Since moving to Newfoundland, I’ve been fortunate enough to see a handful of tall ships come through the Narrows into St. John’s. Each one an ambassador from their home country, with special trimmings representing where they’ve come from, but all of them majestic reminders of a bygone era. Honestly, that awestruck feeling of seeing a tall ship in the harbour never goes away.
June 7th, 2016, was no exception, when this ship graced our harbour with its presence. Today, I’m writing about the tall ship Simón Bolívar.
Length: 205.5 metres
Beam: 25.2 metres
Weight: 28,388 tonnes
Draught: 7.5 metres
Speed: 22 knots
Cruise ship season 2016 continued on Friday with the arrival of the M/V Boudicca of the Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. Constructed in 1973 in the Wärtsilä Helsinki Shipyard, Helsinki, Finland, she has served many owners and operators in the last 40+ years.
Weight: 43,537 tonnes
Speed: 22 knots
I’ve written about her previously, but today the M/V Balmoral was in St. John’s, kicking off the 2016 cruise ship season! While the weather was grey and dreary (and threatened snow more than once), any passengers I saw around seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their time here. Balmoral arrived around 8:00am, and sailed back out through the Narrows shortly after 2:00pm.
Hi Everyone! I know it’s been awhile so let’s just jump right in, shall we?
As I’ve discussed before, and many of you will know, ships were once the only way for people to travel from Europe to North America. In the early years of these routes, ships would be filled as much as they could with passengers, cargo, and crew. Most of the time, these ships would make fairly uneventful crossings. However, when things went wrong, they went very, very wrong. One of these, while en route to Quebec, Canada, ran aground off the coast of Newfoundland with a loss of more than half her passengers and crew. This week, we’re looking at the wreck of the SS Anglo Saxon.
One of the most important rules when it comes to being on the water is that if someone else is in trouble, and you can help, you do it. It doesn’t matter if you and the skipper on the other boat don’t get along, or if you’re competing for the same catch. If someone is in trouble, you help.
This is even more evident with this week’s story. The crew of a fishing boat got into trouble off the coast of Cape Breton, and radioed for help. Ships nearby responded, including a Canadian National Railway (CNR) railcar ferry that was tied up in North Sydney. Through a series of truly unfortunate events, however, this act of kindness and duty would result in some of the crew of the rescue vessel paying the ultimate price. This week, we look at the story of the F/V Enterprise and the M/V Patrick Morris.
Shipwrecks litter the shores and banks of any coastal area. Sometimes they lie just below the surface, or as washed up wreckage on the shore. Occasionally the rusted out skeletons remain above the surface, serving as reminders of time past.
Previously I’ve covered the SS Charcot, SS Florizel, SS Kyle, HMS Calypso and the SS Ethie, all wrecks that are visible from land. This week, we look at the wreck of a cargo ship on the shores of Gander Bay, the SS Ahern Trader.