February 19, 2019 – Not many people get to go Antarctica, never mind drive an advanced polar class ship as part of the twenty-sixth Scientific Campaign of Peru to Antarctica.
On December 17, 2018 Sub-Lieutenant Riley Perrior got the rare opportunity to be part of the Peruvian Navy Ship Buque Armada Peruana (BAP) Carrasco.
A Naval Warfar Officer, SLt Perrior operated BAP Carrasco and was an observer of the research taking place during the scientific campaign, called ANTAR XXVI. Some of this research was conducted aboard the ship while the rest was conducted at the Antarctic Scientific Station Machu Picchu – ECAMP.
“My expertise there was the ship driving,” said SLt Perrior.
“I would say sometimes when you go on these exchanges it is not always the operational side of things that you are going to develop,” he added.
“I got lucky with this Peruvian ship and the fact that they have some advanced ships that I got to drive.”
BAP Carrasco is an oceanographic polar class vessel and is the most modern of its kind in the pacific region. It has eight versatile and modern scientific laboratories with latest generation hydrographic and oceanographic equipment.
The scientific team researched glaciology, geology, climate change and the El Niño phenomenon. Activities included the monitoring of coastal profile variability in the Mackellar Inlet, research work on marine geology, physical oceanography and dynamics in the Bransfield Strait and surrounding seas.
The trip highlights for SLt Perrior did not have to do with the research itself.
His favorite part of the trip was “when we got a chance to go ashore to King George Island in Antarctica.”
“Not many people get the opportunity to say that they’ve been to Antarctica and got their boots dry on Antarctica so that was pretty awesome,” he said.
“We got to go on hikes, we went up the glacier climbing the mountain there. That was probably the most exciting. Apart from that it was experiencing Peruvian culture and learning a lot about the crew.”
SLt Perrior’s participation in the journey ended on January 26, 2019, when he disembarked to return to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt in Victoria, British Columbia.
“I think the big takeaway is you have to learn to negotiate, compromise, understand different cultures, and be open to new experiences,” said SLt Perrior, reflecting on his second exchange experience.
“I think that is very important as a junior officer in the RCN simply because you’re going to be put in situations in the future where the outcome is not certain, the people you are working with are not familiar with either your language, your culture or your operational skill. So you always have to understand where they are coming from and be able to compromise on what you want to achieve and they want to achieve so you can find a common goal.”
SLt Perrior was surprised by the size of the icebergs there. “We encountered one iceberg that was quite literally five miles by eight miles in size. If we took it out of the water and dropped it, it would have covered metropolitan Victoria. It was massive so yeah that surprised me.”
Among others, he has participated aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Nanaimo in multiple Search and Rescue zone sails and Operation CARIBBE, and sailed with HMCS Ottawa during RIMPAC 2018.