Photostory #358: Training Cruise Has Three-fold Purpose: Canadian Scientific Survey Ship in Caribbean
Photographers, , ,
National Film Board of Canada
February 25, 1964
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
With the jarring crunch and grind of the arctic icefields left far astern, Canada's major survey ship Baffin is spending the winter churning up the tropical-blue waters of the sunny Caribbean. Objectives for this January-to-May southern venture for the hard-working Baffin include the charting of a 2,000-square-mile block of ocean containing the British Virgin Islands, the testing of Canadian-designed oceanographic instruments in what is considered an ideal oceanic research area off Aruba, South America, and the invaluable training which will be gained by Canada's young hydrographers who spend summer seasons defining vast stretches of forbidding arctic seas. Sailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Baffin, with Canadian oceanographers and hydrographers aboard, called at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute at Cape Cod, embarked three U.S. oceanographers and their equipment, sailed through stormy North Atlantic winter waters to emerge into the brilliant sunshine of the balmy south. After placing a self-contained party ashore in the Virgin Islands to establish geodetic control and commence offshore launch soundings, the Baffin sailed for Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, where Canadian and U.S. oceanographers are setting up special equipment in deep water to study interaction effects between air and water. In March, the Baffin is to sail back to the Virgin Islands for a full-scale hydrographic survey. In this exercise, the 100-man-crew Baffin will employ all the resources used during a normal four-month arctic season: deep and shallow-depth sounding machines, high-precision electronic position fixers, two helicopters, five sounding launches. All these will be used during an overall training operation that will provide the added bonus of an up-to-date international chart. Canada, with 12 new scientific ships planned for this decade, faces a vital need for skilled personnel. Training cruises with a purpose, such as the Baffin's, will help fill this need, assure Canada a leading place in the newest, most exciting field of world exploration-oceanography.