Two Royal Canadian Navy sister ships have returned to Halifax after spending just over two months in West Africa.
READ MORE: First black captain leads Royal Canadian Navy ship to West Africa
“It was really just a great trip and the word going around the ship is what a spiritually rewarding deployment it was,” said Lt.-Cmdr. Paul Smith, the commanding officer of HMCS Summerside.
Smith, alongside the crew of HMCS Moncton, the other Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel that was deployed, visited five West African ports during their travels.
One of the highlights included retracing a historic Nova Scotia connection to Freetown, Sierra Leone.
“In Freetown, being founded by Nova Scotian settlers and to be able to see that there are still pieces of Nova Scotia that are over there including a plaque that I finally got to see at The Cotton Tree, thanking the Nova Scotia settlers for settling Freetown,” Smith said.
It’s not just humans welcoming home their loved ones this morning. Two navy vessels returning from Africa this am. @globalhalifax pic.twitter杭州桑拿/SV8ZLDvIW5
— Alexa MacLean (@AlexaMacLean902) May 2, 2017
The name of the mission was “Neptune Trident 17-01.”
The goal was to engage new partners and train alongside allied nations in the Gulf of Guinea.
The crews made plenty of stops in communities throughout the coast, including a friendly soccer match in Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia and the delivery of school supplies to students in Sierra Leone.
READ MORE: Life at sea: an inside look into the world of a Royal Canadian Navy sailor
The deployment was a humbling experience for many, including Lt.-Cmdr. Nicole Robichaud, HMCS Moncton’s commanding officer.
“The fact that people live the different lifestyles that they do, the fact that there’s poverty, it’s just truly made my crew more appreciative for what they have,” Robichaud said.