PHOTOS: Families, spectators wave goodbye to Navy Task Force from Victoria shorelines

Lynda and Glenn Neumann wave to son Sam, a leading seaman in the Royal Canadian Navy Task Group sailing to the Rim of the Pacific Exercise and other operations in the western Pacific Ocean. The couple held a huge sign over the railing at Ogden Point reading, “HCMS Winnipeg Sam.” (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Trista Sutton and sons Hudson, 5, (left) and Oliver, 4, (right) braved the blustery Ogden Point to wave goodbye to husband, dad and Canadian Armed Forced member Kris Sutton, who will be deployed for more than four months. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Royal Canadian Air Force CH-148 Cyclone helicopters circled along the Greater Victoria coastline in the wake of the HMCS Regina and HMCS Winnipeg on Thursday evening. The helicopters and ships are part of a Navy Task Group heading to a training exercise in Hawaii. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Friends, family and spectators wave goodbye to members of a Royal Canadian Navy Task Group departing for a training exercise in Hawaii and other operations in the western Pacific Ocean. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Friends, family and spectators watch as members of a Royal Canadian Navy Task Group depart for a training exercise in Hawaii and other operations in the western Pacific Ocean. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Friends, family and spectators wave goodbye to members of a Royal Canadian Navy Task Group departing for a training exercise in Hawaii and other operations in the western Pacific Ocean. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Friends, family and spectators watch as members of a Royal Canadian Navy Task Group depart for a training exercise in Hawaii and other operations in the western Pacific Ocean. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Friends, family and spectators wave goodbye to members of a Royal Canadian Navy Task Group departing for a training exercise in Hawaii and other operations in the western Pacific Ocean. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Friends, family and spectators watch as members of a Royal Canadian Navy Task Group depart for a training exercise in Hawaii and other operations in the western Pacific Ocean. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Friends, family and spectators wave goodbye to members of a Royal Canadian Navy Task Group departing for a training exercise in Hawaii and other operations in the western Pacific Ocean. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Windy skies and ocean spray didn’t dim the spirit of the families, friends and spectators of a Royal Canadian Navy Task Group departure Thursday evening.

Waves, smiles and Canadian flags beamed out from various points along Greater Victoria’s southern coastline as the HMCS Regina and HMCS Winnipeg sailed towards the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in Hawaii, CH-148 Cyclone helicopters trailing in their wake and coming back for additional waves.

Trista Sutton and her two sons, Hudson, 5 and Oliver, 4, waved at the sky as dad and husband Kris Sutton flew past. He’ll be gone for more than four months.

“The boys are really resilient,” Trista said as the little duo waved excitedly at the low-flying helicopter. “They understand.”

The family will stay in contact by email and phone calls, she added.

READ ALSO: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer loaded onto barge

RIMPAC is the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise – one the Canadian Forces have participated in since its conception in 1971. According to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the exercise, which takes place in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands, works on strategic maritime partnerships and the fostering of cooperative relationships necessary for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Unlike other years, members will have to remain at sea for the duration of the exercise in order to limit possibilities for COVID-19 transmission. A southern California portion of the training event was cancelled.

Following RIMPAC, the HMCS Winnipeg will carry on to the western Pacific Ocean for Operations PROJECTION and NEON.

Operation PROJECTION aims to enhance relationships with Canada’s allies and partners, while NEON is CAF’s contribution to UN sanctions imposed against North Korea.

Some members will be away from their families for more than four months.

READ ALSO: Three navy ships deploy from CFB Esquimalt Wednesday


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
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