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CNRS West Coast Conference on Pacific Navigation

Victoria, BC Aug 12-15 2009

The conference in downtown Victoria will feature presentations ranging from early voyages by European mariners through to the Victoria-based sealing fleet at the turn of the 20th century to the little-known wartime flow of lend-lease cargoes across the North Pacific and first-hand accounts by practioners of navigation and hydrography in the second half of the last century. Along the way there will be papers on 19th century navigational surveys and the disappearance of HMS Condor off Cape Flattery in 1901. A full list of papers is available.

The conference will open Wednesday evening Aug 12 with a talk by Dr. Barry Gough on Juan de Fuca. The sessions will be held at HMCS Malahat, the Naval Reserve Base at Ogden Point which in walking distance to hotels. Malahat is located adjacent to the Canadian Coast Guard Base on land formerly used by a wartime shipyard. A unique session on board one of the largest of the BC Ferries, the 18,760 grt Spirit of Vancouver Island, during a crossing from Vancouver Island to the mainland and return will be a chance to observe how a large state of the art vessel is operated in the scenic but heavily used waters of southwestern BC. Our host will be CNRS member and Matthews Book Prize winner Captain Keith McLaren of BC Ferries, senior master of the Spirit. The crossings will provide opportunities to learn from Captain McLaren about the qualifications and professional backgrounds of the mariners of BC Ferries, one of the largest ferry operators in the world. Presentations in the private conference room on board will be part of the conference schedule.

Also included in the program are visits to the Navy's cutting edge bridge simulators where junior officers are taught coastal navigation and ship handling and the Hydrographic Centre at Patricia Bay where modern charts are produced and updated. A banquet at the storied Union Club will include an after dinner talk by Dr. Michael Hadley called "Dining with Jack: Musings on the Patrick O'Brien Novels."

An optional overnight excursion following the conference closing at noon on Saturday August 15 will be offered to Barkley Sound on the west cost of Vancouver Island. Travel will be by coach to Port Alberni and from there in the sturdy MV Frances Barkley, a salty 51 year old former Norwegian coastal ferry to Bamfield, site of a lifeboat station and of a cable station on the "All Red Route" whose underwater cables connected the Empire early in the 20th century.

Conference fee including catered opening reception, all lunches and coffee breaks and BC ferry excursion $195 per person including banquet if partial payment of $75 received by June 30.
Cost after June 30 $220.
Optional Weekend Excursion to Barkley Sound $275 per person for single occupancy at hotel or $214 if sharing room.

Accommodation in Victoria for nights 12 through 15 August: attendees responsible for making own arrangements. The Harbour Towers Hotel at 345 Quebec Street is close to Malahat and has guaranteed a rate of $154/room/night plus taxes. However these rooms must be booked by July 12.

Registration forms available here [PDF format] or from the Conference Registrar:
Kamala Paton
Maritime Museum of BC
28 Bastion Square Victoria BC V8W 1H9
250 385 4222 ext 111
Kamala Paton E-mail here

Administrative Enquiries:
Jan Drent
1720 Rockland Avenue
Victoria BC V8S 1W8
250 598 1661
E-mail here


Canadian Nautical Research Society - Société canadienne pour la recherche nautique
P.O. Box 34029
Ottawa, Ontario
K2J 5B1

Copyright © 2011, CNRS / SCRN.

Last revised: 11 Mar 2011
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