Wednesday, 23 April 2014

St George's Day ships

It's been two weeks since I got home from my trip Down Under (a few more photos from there will be added in due course) and I've been largely holed up at home, suffering the duel afflictions of Being Skint - which is closely allied with the one called Out Of Work - and Post-trip Blues.
In an attempt to banish the latter affliction I decided to nip over to Portsmouth to photograph Cap Finistere, which I had only distant photos of, and Etretat, the former Norman Voyager, which entered service with Brittany Ferries while I was away. The forecast was crap but bugger it, it was high time I left the house. I also arranged to meet my friend Slinky-Dave, which gave me the opportunity to give him back his hoody and tripod bag he left in my car after that ill-fated Tilbury trip last October.

I know that these ships are probably chapeau ancienne to most locals but, distant views of both (Etretat in her former guise) aside, they aren't to me.

First up was St. Faith

Then Cap Finistere

Etretat was not far behind

At least Etretat's wavy blue hull (left from her LD Lines days) makes a change from the largely - boring - white that ferry companies, and cruise lines, tend to go in for these days.

The rain at least had the manners to hold off until we'd got our photos.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Australian National Maritime Museum

While in Sydney, I visited the Australian National Maritime Museum, located at Darling Harbour. It was a filthy day and, while I was there, there was a colossal thunderstorm which caused flash floods in and around the area. By then, I'd seen all I wanted to but stayed put until the worst of the rain had stopped, lurking in the shop. The shop had a decent selection of books and some pretty good ship models too but I refrained from buying any because of budgetary restraints as well as considering the fact there was a possibility my baggage could end up exceeding the airline's restrictions (Malaysia Airlines only allow 20 kg of checked bags and a measly 7 kg of carry-on luggage if you're in steerage class).

I paid $27 to go in, which allowed you to visit the ships they had on display, including HMAS Vampire, a Daring-class destroyer, and HMAS Onslow, an Oberon-class submarine (if that sounds familiar, the Royal Navy had Oberon-class subs until the 1990s).

I visited HMAS Vampire first, because there were some threatening clouds coming in from the Pacific Ocean so visiting the ships first then heading inside looked like the best option.

Other ships

A few of the inside exhibits

A model of SS Orcades

Surfing - Australia is one of the word's foremost surfing locations.

A former RAN helicopter

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Newcastle, NSW

During my time in Australia, I went up the coast to the port of Newcastle for a couple of days, which, like its namesake UK counterpart once was (although the Port of Tyne is still a major UK port, handling other types of bulk cargoes among other things), is an export port for coal - in fact it's the world's biggest coal exporting port, exporting coal mined in the Hunter Valley -  so there are a lot of bulk carriers in and out.
Newcastle is 101 miles north of Sydney and is an easy train ride (just under three hours and no changes) from Sydney Central Station. From there, you can walk straight to the waterfront and see the berths and anything on the move, which will come straight past you.

Unfortunately the weather was a bit overcast and grey, although at least it only rained a little, with some drizzle early one afternoon.

Here's a Google map of the spots I took photos from, which might be useful to anyone visiting the area. You can click on the map and move it around within its window, or you can open a larger version.

Photos of some of the ships alongside, which were taken from the Stockton side of the Hunter River

Hanjin Hinase

Ikan Belanak


Ocean Clarion

As I was walking back to the ferry, I noticed three tugs on the move towards the river mouth, which meant something had to be coming in.

Svitzer Hamilton

Svitzer Myall


Bulk carrier Kaiyo was the one coming in, presumably to collect coal for Japan or China.

Later that afternoon another bulk carrier, Shoyo, departed from the port for Japan. After a bit of a wait (it's annoying not using my mobile to look at Marine Traffic, among other things, in Australia but the data charges outside the EU are extortionate) I photographed this one from the Newcastle side, from the 'Nobby's Beach Reserve', an area of sand dunes near the river entrance as she headed for the South Pacific Ocean.

One miscellaneous item that I nearly forgot was the local dredger David Allan

That was it for Newcastle. I wasn't staying long, as I had things to go to elsewhere in Sydney and western NSW, and headed back on the train the following morning. I wasn't expecting to see much but it was more productive than I thought it was going to be. There were further ship movements but they were in the evening or early hours.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Cruise ships at Sydney

In March I went to Australia for a three week trip. It wasn't a ship spotting or photography trip but there were some to photograph and, frankly, it would have been rude not to. As well as the cruise ships and ferries at Sydney, I also went up the NSW coast to the port of Newcastle for a couple of days and photographed the bulk carriers, and tugs, using the port. First, here are the cruise ships I saw. The bulk carriers, tugs and ferries will be in separate posts.

Here's Sun Princess departing from Sydney in the late afternoon on 20th March. I'd literally arrived in Australia that afternoon but decided not to give in to jet lag. I photographed her against the light on a very sunny, hot, afternoon, hence the contrast. Not among my better photos but I didn't have much choice, really, as I was using the Opera House as my vantage point. The Opera House, by the way, is a great place to watch the ships in the harbour.

The following day, I photographed Carnival Spirit alongside Circular Quay...

...and departing in the early evening


...but, before Carnival Spirit left the port, Pacific Pearl had sailed

Rhapsody of the Seas on 28th March

And Pacific Jewel, photographed from the fast ferry Shane Gould as we sailed into Darling Harbour (I'd done a trip to Cockatoo Island earlier).