Presinking a Victory Ship

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

HMCS Cape Breton – Aug 2001
The little person that you barely see is me

Once a wartime maintenance vessel…now a diver’s dream in Nanaimo as the largest man-made artificial reef in the world.

Here she is being prepared for her new life in the underwater realm where her final legacy begins.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

I approached her in awe. Once on deck, I noticed a blackberry bush had claimed her for its own.

While I surveyed her commanded silence…I was grounded in her honored history…at the same time mindful of the preparations for her future. Her stately mass beckoned me to explore…I set out to do so.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

Starting at the bow seemed logical…I had great scope all around…and the ocean air can often give a wisp of adventure at just the right moment.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

I found the communications room void of any chatter other than the workers passing by…and the mime of wonder in my own mind.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

I walked under the retired work horse and stood in the shadow of its looming belly…nothing moved.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

I continued on my deck walk like a kid in a huge playhouse…no cubby hole was beyond my curiosity.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

As I ascended to the bridge, I sensed the power of its mastery. From there when I looked out over her bow and the harbour, I felt compelled to take her out to sea.In a reality check, I readjusted my thoughts, turned in my captain’s hat, and left the command post.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

Advancing towards the stern, I looked up…the crows nest invited me to climb and observe the world from its perspective.As I wasn’t an experienced rope climber, I didn’t attempt it.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

Beyond that was the smoke stack…it almost looked close enough to touch through the camera lens, but it wasn’t…it was just big.Then I saw more of her expansive deck and realized there was much to experience in this fabulous playground.I was captivated by my own imagination.

 I ventured on…released into her endless maze… down narrow, winding, metal-grated steps…through doorways where I’d trip if I forget… to the many halls and cubic rooms that smelled of ocean metal mix.

I felt the essence of a proud crew…and fortunate to share this short era in her history.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

The Captain’s cabin with its warm classic fireplace offered me an exclusive invitation in another time.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

The seaman’s quarters showed me where bunk-mates caught their zees on the seas…surrounded by lockers filled with gear and keepsakes from home.The stories told here as only comrades can do may not be remembered the same way today.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

Going into the showers and toilets is where I felt a little intrusive and out of place.

My footsteps resounded in the hollowness of every empty room where vaguely scribbled names were a sailor’s only proof of duty here.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

The narrow corridors lead me to a huge chamber that spanned every level to house the last of the triple-expansion engines.I noticed the many pipes and conduits that were once attached to it are now dangling and disjointed.As I looked down into the duskiness I could see little platforms where the engineers stepped out to monitor the gauges.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

An observable quietness was in the office where only empty desks stood and no one was typing anything.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

It made me wonder what secrets were on the carbon paper that would have been thrown away.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

Alone in the little room across the hall where the huge safe was kept brought a sense of sealed memories for an unforgettable affair.

to_front Presinking a Victory Ship

When I looked out the opening behind me and down into the water…I realized that’s where part of her stern used to be.As a huge part of engineering history it is currently displayed in North Vancouver’s museum along with her engine…as reminders of a proud heritage.

 

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