CCGS Quadra Photos

May 1969: Quadra, alongside the jetty where she awaits her berthing in the drydock. When both ships were out during the patrol swap, the dock sure looked lonely. When Captain Dykes commanded the Quadra, he always kept her bow pointed towards the harbour entrance, a habit consistent with his naval training. By pointing the bow towards the harbour entrance, that would allow the ship to clear the harbour quickly without having to waste time doing a 180 degree turn. 
May 1969: Quadra in drydock. Now known as the Esquimalt Graving Dock, it is owned by Public Works Canada.  This drydock is one of the largest, if not the largest on the west coast of North America.
May 1969: Quadra in drydock. 
All photos in this table by Dennis Engemoen

October 1969: Taken from the deck of Vancouver, Quadra is relieving Vancouver at Ocean Station Papa. The water is 4,200 metres deep at Station Papa.
Only to have the seas this calm all the time!
All photos in this table by Dennis Engemoen.

 By Captain Bob Mellis

In 1974, CCGS Quadra was tasked for an entirely different kind of operation for which she was well designed  and for which she was to win many accolades. The port of call would be Dakar, capital city of Senegal, a country located  on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast. Dakar is the westernmost city on the African mainland.

Quadra was to be the only Canadian ship to participate in an international science venture involving the participation of 39 other ships from 10 different countries. These ships would be working in close coordination with each other and with fixed-wing aircraft and zeppelins. Further, because of the need for highly precise observations and measurements, the first of a new generation of satellites had already been placed in orbit (the first of the Satnav satellites) to augment the more traditional navigation methods.

The purpose of this science venture was several-fold but mainly it was the derivation of the physical processes of different scales in the atmosphere and ocean responsible for the primary heat engine driving the local and the general circulation of the Earth's atmosphere. It was hoped that an understanding of why the Sahara desert was extending itself ever southward each year and laying waste to much of North Africa's arable land would also be achieved, although it was understood from the outset that it would take years and the use of sophisticated next-generation computers to decipher the information which was to be collected over the coming months.

The project being undertaken was part of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP), and specifically it went under the acronym G.A.T.E. (GARP ATLANTIC TROPICAL EXPERIMENT). CCGS Quadra and scientists from Canada's own Institute of Ocean Sciences would be playing a key role both in carrying out specific components of the science program as well undertaking overall coordination of the program in the first and third phases.

Quadra left for her mission to Dakar from Esquimalt on May 17, 1974 and returned back to her home base on October 23, 1974, covering a distance of 23,795 miles.Quadra left for her mission to Dakar from Esquimalt on May 17, 1974 and returned back to her home base on October 23, 1974, covering a distance of 23,795 miles.  In her absence, the hydrographic vessel Parizeau (CGBS) filled in. Apparently the met data provided from station Papa was still quite valuable at that time, especially the upper air soundings.

To illustrate the value of weather data in that era, surface observations would be also be done by one of the mates on merchant vessels  which sailed  the waters between Canada’s west coast and the Orient.  It was strictly a volunteer effort and the Canadian Government would supply these interested vessels with the necessary instruments, such as barometers and thermometers, log books, etc.  Every little observation would help to form a picture of tomorrow’s weather, especially on the west coast.

When CCGS Parizeau was in service, she was stationed in Patricia's Bay, B.C. and stood in for Vancouver and Quadra whenever these ships were not able to carry out their time on station. After Ocean Station Papa  was stood down, Parizeau remained as an oceanic research vessel with Fisheries and Oceans Canada until she  paid off in 2001 and was renamed Destiny Empress under civilian ownership. The 58-metre-long ship then passed through several owners before being seized by the Spanish Police off the coast of Spain with 1.5 tonnes of cocaine concealed in a hidden compartment. 

The above photo of the Destiny Empress was  taken some after December 2009, while under the custody of Spanish authorities.  (Photo by Pierre F. Munoz)

Quadra's radio room 1968. The operator reading the paper is Pete Pennyfather and facing the camera is Jerry Mah.  Pete is at the Aeradio Position while Jerry is handling the Marine Position.  The transmitter in the middle of the photo is a British Marconi Crusader.  To its right, a Racal RA17 is in evidence.  Below the Racal is a Marconi Atlalanta receiver. There is also a rack of 13, vertically mounted Canadian Marconi XH13, solid state, HF receivers there too.  (Photo by Bob Manning)
Frank Statham recalls some other details about Quadra's radio room photo above. "Pete's position also comprised of three racks, similar to the Marine position.  There is a small sliver of a Racal RA-17 peeking out at the left side of the photo. Pete would have a Marconi Crusader too, but it had been tweaked off the marine bands, (as it came from the factory) and put onto the aeronautical bands.  Marine would be the even frequencies  2-4-8-12 MHz etc while the air position had the odd 3-5 etc frequencies.   Of course 500 kHz was also included in the mix.  I don't think the transmitters were synthesized--no direct dial up of frequency.  Pete's position also had dedicated air/ground transmitters in the equipment room above which covered the 120 and 240 MHz bands. The VHF gear was made by GE while UHF equipment came from the military.

We had a lot of MAC aircraft (Military Airlift Command) flights in the early days (around 1970) due to the Vietnam war in addition to the regular commercial flights.  The "fly boys" would call up and ask for the weather and give their position.  If they wanted, we could give them a check on their position by having a look on the AN/FPQ-10 radar, and surprisingly the course, speed and altitude we gave them agreed with their own numbers more often than not.

The weather ship was also supplied with material to rescue passengers from any aircraft that would have to ditch.  It never happened, but we were ready. At Christmas, the RCAF Argus would fly out and drop us a few items too, come to think of it."

2010: Some of the remaining weather ship met and telecom staff. Most of these guys served aboard Quadra and Vancouver. It was taken at Nanaimo BC outside a pub close to the Vancouver ferry dock. At least three or four have the old ships under their belts. (From the collection of Frank Statham)
Credits and References:

1) Bob Manning ( now deceased)
2) Frank Statham <fstatham(at)>
3) Quadra in Africa
4) Parizeau
5) Dennis Engemoen <dhengemoen(at)>

 Back To Weather Ships

Oct 16/14