Presinking a Victory Ship

HMCs Cape Breton

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

crane

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

shower

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

 

Leave a Reply