As most people in St. John’s dreaded another winter morning today, with forecast snow and freezing rain, leading seaman Lynn Marie Quesnelle gladly drew in lungfuls of cold air as the HMCS Toronto sailed into St. John’s harbour after a long deployment in the Arabian Sea.
“I came outside this morning and it was cold and I loved it. I don’t deal well with heat,” said Quesnelle, who is originally from Wabush, Labrador, and a naval communicator onboard the Toronto.
The weather in the ship’s deployment area was hot — the temperature in Kuwait City in July reached about 52 C.
“The cold air, it was phenomenal. Just coming in through the Narrows . . . there’s no other feeling like it,” Quesnelle said, being greeted by her parents at dockside.
Her father, Garry Dumaresque, flew in from Wabush to surprise her Monday. He had been expected to greet her in Halifax, where the ship will depart for on Tuesday.
“No matter what was going on, I wanted to come see my little girl come back,” Dumaresque said. “More important than anything else. Always worried about her.
“She would leave a little note on Facebook to let us know everything was OK over there.”
The Toronto arrived in St. John’s after having spent 268 days at sea, and 375 days away from home as part of Canada’s and the Canadian Force’s international contribution to maritime security.
The Toronto was part of Operation Artemis, a multinational task force aimed at countering terrorism and related illegal activities in the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Rear Admiral John Newton, commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic, was on hand in the falling snow this morning to welcome the ship back to Canada, and to present some awards and address the ship’s company.
He said the mission, as all the deployments to the area, has paid off for Canada.
“It’s kept Canada in the Arabian sea, in the Indian Ocean, bringing stability to the maritime shipping lanes and denying the free use of those lanes for the terrorist organizations . . . for shipment of arms, drugs and movement of people,” Newton said. “By contributing to that peace and stability there, you are ensuring the economy here works at the full 100 per cent that it can.”
Full story in The Telegram and online Tuesday, with photos and video.