At the end of the day it could be said that the Navy League and Sea Cadets didn’t weigh anchor, but from their post-voyage excitement, a recent day trip aboard the MV Frances Barkley was the highlight of their cadet training year.
The successful trip started innocuously enough on a casual mention to Lady Rose Marine Services owner Mike Surrell about how much the cadets would benefit from such a trip. Surrell eventually awarded the cadets a trip on the passenger vessel’s regular weekend trip to Bamfield.
The officers and parents committees of both corps and the Navy League of Canada, Port Alberni branch wholeheartedly approved participation on the voyage. The Canadian Coast Guard Station at Bamfield also agreed to participate in the day’s activities.
The cadet entourage mustered in plenty of time to make the 8 a.m. sailing.
The parents and officers acting as chaperones were impressed with the attitude of the crew on the Frances Barkley. These men and women made sure the kids learned, participated and observed actual on-board activities to augment the cadets’ annual training syllabus.
Cadets were allowed to visit the engine room, the bridge (wheelhouse) and were given prime viewing areas to oversee the actions of the crew while they handled cargo both on to and off of the vessel.
Staff at the coast guard base broke the total entourage of 40 into three groups and gave them all detailed tours of the Bamfield station.
One thing that stood out in everyone’s minds was the life-jacket lesson. The cadets were taught proper donning and wearing of the life vests that was demonstrated by Frances Barkley deckhand Lisa Bye, something her young visitors will remember for a long time.
The cadets were impressed with all the wildlife they got to observe along the route, the cargo handling and on the following cadet evening they all were ecstatic about the bears seen, the sea lions and seals observed and the fact that they got to witness whales, both mothers and calves, cavorting within close proximity to the ship.