HMCS Vancouver heads south

Stock image of HMCS Vancouver

Stock image of HMCS Vancouver

SLt Sean Catterall, HMCS Vancouver ~

HMCS Vancouver left Esquimalt on Feb. 1 on an important strategic mission to Central and South America. We are tasked to support the Royal Canadian Navy’s efforts to strengthen ties with several nations including Peru, Chile and Mexico.

In addition to the strategic goals of this deployment, Vancouver will also be bolstering our military relationships by conducting several high intensity warfare training exercises with allied nations.”

Vancouver spent 10 days at sea en route to Manzanillo, conducting emergency drills, seamanship training and warfare exercises. After refueling at sea with a US Navy tanker, Vancouver spent two days conducting surface gunnery exercises against a target towed by a remote controlled boat called a Barracuda.

Throughout the week, Vancouver flew the embarked Sea-King helicopter “Blackfish”, carrying out a variety of exercises including personnel hoist, helicopter in-flight refueling and haul-down landings.

As we crossed the tropic of Cancer, the air and sea temperature increased dramatically, satisfying the crew that we had in-fact escaped Canadian winter.

Vancouver arrived in Manzanillo on Feb. 10 and came alongside the cruise ship jetty. After three days alongside soaking up sunshine, enjoying the local cuisine and unwinding, the port visit came to an end.

In a few days Vancouver will cross the equator, an occasion that is monumental and memorable in a sailor’s career. More than half of the ship’s company is made up of “tadpoles” who will soon graduate to “shellbacks” after enduring the infamous crossing-the-line ceremony.

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