Navigator to Hydrographer

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Trafford Publishing, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 302 pages
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Navigator to Hydrographer is the promised sequel to Mandalay to Norsemen published in 2003, which described the author's seafaring life prior to arriving in Halifax June 1948 as a landed immigrant. The second book tells the tale of his futile attempts to swallow the anchor between voyages around the globe and on the Great Lakes, before becoming a hydrographic surveyor on the west coast of Canada.

His descriptions of the work and the life on board the Wm. J. Stewart and his shipmates on these often hazardous undertakings during the nineteen fifties are well drawn and should appeal to those who remember her as the Willie J".

A new challenges arises - the urgent need to survey the waters of the Western Arctic brought about by the construction of the Distant Early Warning chain of radar stations. The early years working from USS Storis was followed by the Canadian Coastguard Ship Camsell. An abortive venture with the RCMP, and then the arrival of his very own command - the 60-foot long Richardson that he sailed up into the Arctic from Victoria in 1962.

The years that followed in the Arctic had both good ice years and bad ice years that meant long hours of work for Richardson's crew in often trying and quite dangerous conditions. All of this culminated in 1967 when Richardson and her crew almost perished in the Arctic pack off Point Barrow, Alaska. Her survival and rescue by Camsell and Northwind is a classic story in itself.

The author was then promoted to be Regional Hydrographer of Central Region which moved himself and his family to Ottawa and Burlington, Ontario where he describes both the pleasures of management and the stresses and strains within the bureaucracy.

Members of the Canadian Hydrographic Service, past and present, should particularly enjoy this very personal view of their Service.


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