Scientific Victoria

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, is not really the most recognized name in ocean science circles, the yocals call it the land of the “newly weds and nearly deads”. The city often sees many visiting cruise ships and mega yachts, but lately, the harbour front is playing host to some pretty neat ships with grand aims of scientific discoveries.

First off, the Joides Resolution is back in town for a stopover. The world travelling drill ship is no stranger to the port, although it always raises eyebrows. It arived in town Sunday morning from a trip that started back in Honolulu, in May, and is bidding farewell to its its scientific contigent known as the “School of Rock“. No they are not doing Jack Black impressions. The purpose of the vessel is to drill deep into the earth crust, in order to understand what lies beneath and how that affects us. Check out their website for further information.

The CCGS Amundsen is due west of Victoria, about 2 or 3 days away from land, and I presume port bound. The Canadian Coast Guard ship, you may remember, is on a scientific trip that is circumnavigating the North American continent, from Quebec City, through the Panama Canal, up to Victoria, and on throught the Northwest Passage in the Arctic, on its way back to Quebec City. You can view the expedition plan here.

And lastly, french owned and operated cable lay ship Lodbrog just left Victoria Shipyard on its way north, to the area just west of Vancouver Island, abeam Port Alberni. The ship spent several days in Victoria making preparations to put the final touches on the Neptune underwater observatory, located just offshore of the “Pacific Northwest”. Read about the current mission here and a local media story here.

The massive scientific endeavor is a boon to the local scientific community, in particular the University of Victoria. Unfortunately, and despite the massive funding from the Canadian goverment (my taxes), the same cannot be said for the Canadian seafaring and maritime sector. You can read a previous blog entry about the project and this angle here.

Alcatel Lucent owned Lodbrog is managed by french shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateur, and is just one of the many ships working on the project, which do not have any Canadian port painted on their transom, yet, are benefiting from Canadian tax dollars. All the power to the scientific community; unfortunately, its yet another example of the neglect that the government shows towards the Canadian maritime sector, which is fading – fast – into the history books.

Pictured above is the RV Joides Resolution, below that, is the CS Lodbrog, and just above here, is the CS Ile de Sein during the last trip of Neptune’s installation. Pictures from various internet sources.

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