To the Pole and back
Spaniard’s Bay resident a part of Canadian expedition to the Arctic
When Spaniard’s Bay’s Barney Noseworthy Junior arrived at the North Pole in late August, he had a 12-hour window to enjoy to the frigid splendor of the Arctic.
In truly Canadian fashion, Leading Shipman Noseworthy, and his crewmates aboard the CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent and CCGS Terry Fox, played a game of hockey.
After constructing a set of nets out of stainless steel and netting on the trip, the crewman and the scientists battled for ball hockey supremacy feet from the Pole.
“It was Team Coast Guard against Team Science,” said Noseworthy, 37.
The decision to play the game of hockey came almost a month before reaching the Arctic. Noseworthy and his crewmates knew there was a 12-hour break between completing their work and departing for home.
On Aug. 7, it was decided the game would be played. When the Louis S. St. Laurent steamed out through the Narrows, there some 20 hockey sticks and a bright orange hockey ball brought on board.
“It was the most northerly game of hockey ever played,” said Noseworthy.
The vessels arrived at a time when there is 24-hour sun at the Pole, meaning there was plenty of time for the game to be played.
The ice, five metres (16 feet) thick in most places, was the perfect surface to hold the hotly contested match.
“(The crew) won 8-5,” said Noseworthy. “It was great.”
There was a special guest taking part in the game. Santa Claus suited up for the scientists’ team.
Again, in true hockey fashion, Noseworthy and his jolly opponent dropped the mitts.
It was the first trip to the Pole taken by the Canadian Coast Guard since 1994.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Noseworthy.
Noseworthy was not the only Newfoundlander from the Trinity-Conception region at the Pole. The seaman was joined on the voyage by Trevor Baldwin (Victoria), Vince Hearn (Harbour Grace) and Paul Gillingham of Carbonear.
“There are not many people that can say they were on top of the world,” said Baldwin. “I must say, giving Santa Clause a Christmas letter/picture from my 2-and-a-half-year-old son (Clark) was an experience of its own.”
The vessels were not only there for play. There was also work to be done.
The Louis S. St. Laurent was one of two vessels, the other was the Terry Fox, to make the trip from St. John’s to the Arctic for the purpose of surveying the area of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Amundsen Basin.
Noseworthy, along with other crewmembers, worked day and night helping the scientists collect their data.
The information collected would go towards supporting Canada’s territorial claim to the Arctic Ocean. Russia and Greenland are also making claims.
In 2007, a Russian nuclear submarine placed a titanium flagpole into the seabed at the Pole. Chasing the fox The Louis S. St. Laurent brought a special friend on the expedition to the Arctic — a stuffed arctic fox.
At some point during the voyage, an crewman with the Terry Fox snuck aboard the vessel and stole the fox.
While the St. Laurent trailed the Terry Fox, who was breaking the ice, crew members would display the fox in windows, on deck and just about anywhere they could to taunt their sister vessel. “They made a game of it,” said Noseworthy. Trying to sleep The Terry Fox and St. Laurent were a team on the way to the Arctic. When one got stuck the other would help clear the way.
The constant need to cut through the thick ice made it difficult for sleep sometimes. Along with working a great deal of overtime hours, Noseworthy said sleeping through the constant crackle of ice breaking was a chore.
“It was like sleeping through a car wash,” he said.
Being a part of the first Canadian expedition to the Arctic since 1994 holds a special place in Noseworthy’s heart.
“It is something I’ll never forget,” he said
Spaniard’s Bay’s Barney Noseworthy Jr. stands with the Newfoundland and Labrador Flag at the North Pole. He was a member of the Canadian Arctic expedition that left St. John’s on Aug. 9 and arrived on Aug. 27. Behind him are the CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent (right) and the CCGS Terry Fox.