Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Bang goes that one

According to the Isle of Wight County Press, an attempt by the makers of the TV show Bang Goes The Theory to sail a boat made of ice from Gosport to Cowes failed when it didn't make it out of Portsmouth Harbour because the engine became submerged. A pity really, as I'd loved to have seen how far it got before it melted! Sadly, I have not yet found any pictures.

Southampton VTS had the Methania, which had been laid up in Southampton since last December, down to leave Southampton for the Nab Anchorage at 0900 this morning.She did go, according to this item on Solent Shipping News.
I took the photo of Methania, below, at Southampton in December last year, it was the same day I went to see Saga Rose on her final visit.

Methania at Southampton, December 2009

While browsing the net, I came across the contender for - and surely the winner of - the Award for the Most Hideous Paint Job In Maritime History. The unfortunate recipient of this dubious honour is....*drum roll*...Tallink's Superstar which is painted in a 'delightful' scheme of pea green and orange. For pictures, click here, but put your sunglasses on first. Sorry Tallink but that is truly vile.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

End of an era

Pride of Bilbao arrived in Portsmouth for the last time this evening as P&O Ferries have axed the Portsmouth-Bilbao route, citing lack of profits and not being able to get a decent replacement ship as the reason - or were they just looking for an excuse to get out? Pride of Bilbao is an old ship, she has been hammered during her time here and her charter from Irish Ferries has just ended.
This is a massive shame on two fronts, firstly because it was a great route, both for a short cruise of 3 days and as a wildlife-watching platform to look for the seabirds, dolphins and whales which can be found in the Bay of Biscay and, secondly, because it means that, after many years, P&O Ferries have gone from the central south coast. They began as Townsend Thoresen (Thoresen Car Ferries) at Southampton and, now, after more than 40 years they are gone.
All is not lost, though, because Brittany Ferries, with their new(ish) Cap Finistere, are taking over the route. I hope that they can make a profit and aren't too expensive for foot passengers wanting to take a trip to sunny Spain.
Here are a couple of pics of both ships. Firstly a photo of Pride of Bilbao, taken in Portsmouth in 2005 and the next one is the new Cap Finistere, taken last week from Seaview.

Out with the old: Pride of Bilbao at Portsmouth, 2005

In with the new: Cap Finistere, photographed from Seaview last week

Cowes, September 28th 2010

I have a seasonal job delivering tourist booklets to various places around the island. This, of course, brings me to the beaches, so my camera comes along just in case I come across anything of interest, including ships, of course.
Today, I was in West Cowes so I parked in Queens Road and took my camera - and dog, who was with me - for a walk. There wasn't much about, whether ships or birds, just Red Osprey, the dredger City of Chichester, Hartland Point and Red Jet 3.

Red Osprey

City of Chichester

Hartland Point

Red Jet 3 passing Hartland Point

The weather was crap, very grey and murky so I didn't hang about and, after buying a far-too-milky cup of tea from the cafe I went back to the car. On the way back to the car I saw a notice, which was invisible when coming from the parking places, stating that dogs were banned from the beach between 1st April and 30th September. Oops. Although neither me or my dog actually set foot on the beach because it is all shingle and uncomfortable for both me and my dog to walk on, we did go the beach side of the cafe where there are seats, although we stayed on the paving. If I get a fixed £75 penalty through the post for (not) going on the beach, I'll be very pissed off, especially as the sign is stupidly positioned. It's a stupid by-law, especially in April and September when the weather is no good for sitting around on the beach. However, there was no dog warden around, so unless there was some curtain-twitching old busybody with nothing better to do than spy on people then I should be ok - especially as I didn't actually break the stupid by-law.

So what's this all about then?

Nothing much, just a few photos of ships, mostly in and around the Solent. I used to do a lot of ship 'spotting' and taking pics - I still do, although probably not as prolifically as in the past - the main reason for this was that I have always loved photography and living near ports meant that ships were an attractive subject so I was interested in ships as a result; I like ships in themselves as well as the fact they (mostly) make attractive subjects. I did, however, grow up fascinated by the great ocean liners, thanks to relatives who worked on the original Cunard Queens.
Wildlife has always been a big interest of mine, but before digital photography came along I didn't do wildlife photography because of the cost - and waste - of film and processing. Wildlife runs away and is shy. Ships don't run away when looked at and aren't particularly shy! So, living on the north coast of the Isle of Wight, I turned my attention to the ships that passed by instead. I guess that if I'd lived near a large airport I'd have taken pictures of planes which are also not shy, although they move a lot quicker than ships.

I try and make the effort to go to Southampton or Portsmouth when something interesting is happening, such as the first arrival of a new ship, the final departure of an old favourite or just for a change of scenery. I also go to the Continent as and when funds allow, my favourite ship-spotting places being Belgium and Holland.
I also have a website called Ship-Photo. This is where the better photos will end up eventually. I used to have a website called Ship Images but Lycos, who were the web-hosts, decided to no longer offer hosting and I couldn't be bothered to redo or re-upload the thing elsewhere.

What else? Oh yeah, just the usual rubbish - I'm in my 40's, live on the Isle of Wight, have a little dog and am also interested in astronomy (most clear nights I am outside peering into the deep sky, with a 18" reflecting telescope), wildlife, reading, football (Southampton F.C.) and surfing. So, there you go. That's me.
And, how exciting, the first post - with pictures - is coming right up.

Updated 15th December 2012