Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Maritime Museum

Yesterday we visited the Maritime Museum in Vancouver.  After an epic bus ride we finally arrived, excited about the day's activities.

Our first session was called "Arctic Explorers."  We got to see artifacts from the Inuit as well as European Arctic explorers.  The highlight of this session though was climbing aboard the St. Roch, an actual ship that is housed in the museum.  The St. Roch was an RCMP vessel, and in the 1940s it was only the second ship ever to successfully sail the Northwest Passage through the Arctic.  We got to visit several parts of the ship including the wheelhouse and the living quarters.  It was hard to imagine living in such a small space for three years.  Going to the bathroom in the "ice palace" on deck also didn't sound like too much fun!  (The "ice palace"a sort of outhouse made of snow made so that the crew wouldn't have to trek all the way to the back of the boat to use the bathroom).

After lunch, it was time for the "Man the Oars and Map the Coast" presentation.  For this workshop we split into two groups.  One group stayed inside the museum and learned about Captain Vancouver's voyage in the 1790s.  Captain Vancouver spent a lot of time charting the coast of British Columbia, and the city was named after him!  The museum had a replica of part of his ship, the HMS Discovery, too, and we got to spend time there seeing examples of typical food that would have been eaten on board, and tools that were used.

The other group went outside to the dock.  There we talked a little bit about what this area would have looked like in Captain Vancouver's time.  Then it was time to measure the depth of the water using a lead line.  The depth of water is measured in fathoms (1 fathom = 6 feet).  A lead line is a rope with a piece of lead on the end, and a bead to mark each fathom.  To measure the water's depth, you drop the lead line in the water until it touches the bottom.  Then you reel in the rope and count how many beads were in the water to figure out how many fathoms deep it is.  Everyone worked well with the measuring partners, and no one fell in!  (We were wearing life jackets just in case!)

We finished off the day tasting hardtack and spruce beer, typcial food eaten on board sailing ships.  We decided that it wasn't too tasty and that we definitely preferred pizza!

All in all, it was a really fun day.  If you came on the field trip, what was your favourite part of the day?  What did you learn that surprised you?  Check out the video below to see pictures of our adventure.


  1. Hi it's Michelle, Jayda, and Jasmine here and we just wanted to say we loved the video! Great job!

  2. Hi Ms Birdsall! I loved the Maritime Museum!


    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the field trip, Pawan. I did too!

  3. Hi Ms. Birdsall! I really loved he Maritime Museum! ~Juliet~

  4. it was so much fun it was an awesome field trip im happy we got to go there it was fun when we went on the st.roch madi

  5. That was the best field trip ever.I had lots of fun.My favorite part was when we went to measure th waters depth!!!

  6. Hi Ms.Birdsall, you sure did some camera work there. But I have a question how did you get all the pictures?


  7. Amazing video...thanks Ms. Birdsall...thanks for sharing with us!!!

    Mili, Ivanas Mom