Acting Sub-Lt. Scott Ferris is proving it is never too late to follow your passion.
"This is my first experience aboard a ship within the navy," he said. "I joined the navy rather late in life, completing basic training last year at the age of 54. So age is not a factor. Anybody can do this."
Ferris grew up in Charlottetown and sailed most of his life. He said his parents put him into a sailing class at the Charlottetown Yacht Club.
Now he is back on the Island aboard HMCS Oriole, the sail training vessel of the Royal Canadian Navy, as it tours Atlantic Canada. The ship arrived in Summerside on Friday on its second stop of the tour.
"It was something I wanted to do 30 years ago and … life just went in a slightly different direction," Ferris said.
A few years ago, Ferris told a friend in the navy he was interested in joining. His friend encouraged him to do it.
"[I] decided to pursue that dream, quite honestly reinventing myself," he said.
"These past three years have been probably the best three years of my life in a long long time."
He normally works in public affairs out of HCMS Queen Charlotte in P.E.I. He said he was happy to be back on the Island after being away from home for two weeks. He was able to sleep in his own bed Friday night.
This year marks HMCS Oriole's 100th anniversary. It's the only tall ship in the navy.
Many Summerside residents were out to see the ship — including Bill Fullerton. He spent a few years aboard the Oriole, including the summer of 1969.
Looking at the ship from the harbour, he said not much has changed. He was hoping to get on board to take a look below deck, but COVID-19 precautions prevented the public from boarding.
"I would have liked to see any changes that they've made," he said. "I understand they've taken the piano out of the wardroom. We had some parties on board."
The plan is for the ship to leave Summerside on Monday morning and head to St. John's.
"I don't think this ship has ever been to St. John's," said Lt.-Cmdr. Robert Pelton. "I know myself and the crew are absolutely looking forward to it."
The Oriole was built in 1921 and launched on June 4 of the same year in Ontario. The ship was chartered by the navy during the Second World War and eventually moved to Halifax as a training vessel in 2017, said Pelton.
The ship will be back to the Island later this summer. The plan is to be in Charlottetown sometime in August.
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