This past weekend I got to take part in an event called Operation: This IS You!, set up by the Achieve Anything Foundation taking future female leaders and showing them just how awesome they can be. There is an annual event in March called The Sky’s No Limit – Girls Fly Too! This particular event was on the HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331), a 125 meter long warship in the Canadian Navy, where the girls (and photographers) spent the day out at sea with aspects of the ship and operations explained to the visitors.
The day started way too early, with everyone meeting down at the Vancouver cruise ship terminal. I carpooled down with a few friends who were also doing photography (the local photo community isn’t as big as you might think) and we survived the 5:30am start (with the help of large amounts of caffeine). We joined the group and waited under cover from the cold rain for the ship to arrive.
We soon discovered the meaning of “navy time” as thing didn’t quite run exactly on time, but in the end things all worked out nicely.
The tour started with everyone huddled in the hanger at the back of the ship. We got split up into groups and each of the photographers was assigned to a group to follow around.
It was really cool to see the girls watching what was going on. Don’t get me wrong, the ship was awesome, but seeing the members of the group, both young and old, looking in awe at the women and men showing them around and talking about what they were doing was amazing.
This is Mr. Roth (I’m not sure what his rank is, so I’ll go with “Mr.” here), the tour group leader for us. Super awesome guy, very friendly, and eager to answer any questions.
We got a tour around the ship, getting to see into the nooks and crannies, with talks from various people in various positions, from the military police to a Chaplin to medical techs.
The bridge was one of the more fun places to be.
Even more fun was watching this lady get to literally drive a navy warship. Not many people can say they did that!
After a short lunch break (I think my group was the last one to get to the cafeteria) we all we up to the top deck to the hanger where we started. They had a few… “toys” out that the girls got to play with.
This one lady with the selfie-stick was having more fun than any other human being has had in the history of the universe. Seriously she was doing this for a good 20 minutes.
About this is when the Sea King showed up to do a little demonstration of what cool stuff could be done with a 50 year old aircraft. A bit of flying around, and then some divers went out in a boat and were picked up and pulled up.
… then pulled back up again.
All the time this was happening the rain was alternating between torrential and drizzle. We did our best to keep both ourselves and our gear dry.
After the helicopter was done it’s thing, we headed back into port. Well, almost. To display the maneuvering capabilities of the warship we were treated to a series of S-turns at high speed, pitching the deck of the ship to thirty degrees each way. It’s truly amazing to be on the back of this huge ship as the deck below you goes leans so far side to side. The photos really don’t show just how extreme it was.
Though Mr. Roth did say this wasn’t the normal way that they travel, he did seem fairly calm, standing up on the pitching deck with a mug of coffee.
Since it’s hard to tell from the still images, maybe a video can help?
At the end of the (long) day we headed back to port and everyone left with smiles on their faces. A very cool day curtesy of a very cool organization doing very cool stuff for young women in the area. Definitely hit up the Achieve Anything Foundation to see when their next event is going to be and sign up it’s free! Also make sure you say hi to Kirsten at @girlsfly_too on twitter.