Sunday, 24 July 2011

Large Ships and Tall Ships

  As I mentioned in the last post, Sula was to dance at the Tall Ships opening ceremony in Lerwick and it would involve a lot of driving, well, it did. During the nine days of rehearsing and the actual day of the performance (and some 'side' trips with Rona) we did over 1200 miles - and that is only traveling on three islands, phew !

  While Sula was rehearsing, Rona and I had a few trips around including some trips down to Sumburgh Head. Thankfully, mostly the weather was fine (although not particularly sunny) and the only wet day enabled me to take Rona to Clickamin leisure centre for swimming.

  During the summer months, Lerwick harbour is very good for getting fairly close to three of the auks that occur around Shetland, these being Tystie (Black Guillimot), Guillimot and Razorbill. They often come in to the relatively sheltered waters around the quays to feed on the often large numbers of small fish. This time it was the turn of Razorbills, several were feeding and with a little patience, they would end up quite close to the pier. They had a feeding routine where they would move around the harbour in a rough circle, so, in time they would end up passing where I waited. Waiting would be fine if I was on my own, however this week I had Rona with me who, it has to be said, isn't always the most patient. Thankfully on this occasion, she was very interested in watching the birds and made a sort of game at guessing where and after how long, the bird would surface. This interest was added to by the fact we could see the bird swimming underwater at times pursuing its prey. One thing I did notice was that Razorbills seem to take an obvious breath just before they dive - obviously all diving birds do this, but not all are so noticeable. With the Razorbill, it actually opened its beak, made even more noticeable by its bright yellow gape. With Tysties, I've not seen this just a slight backward movement of the head before they go under..........................

.........on the look out
......deep breath

.................dive, dive, dive.

  Also around the harbour there are usually a number of Tysties although if the sun is shinning I find them a pain to photograph due to their bright wing panel, so I usually go for a head shot or try something different...........................

Tystie (virtually full frame)

  During the 'summer', Lerwick has numerous cruise ships visit the town in various shapes and sizes (and good for the local economy it is too). Last week the 'Marina' paid a visit and looked huge compared to some of the nearby boats, this ship however isn't the largest to visit having only around 1200 passengers (plus around 750 crew) with another ship due soon that can carry several thousand passengers..................

The 'Marina'

  Despite its size, the ship below - the 'Columbus' - 'only' carries 450 passengers ................
  As the days progressed, more and more sailing vessels arrived in port for the opening day of the Shetland leg of the tall ships race. At first it was smaller vessels and then as the day arrived, larger vessels arrived.............

'Pelican of London'
'Alexander von Humboldt'

 'Christian Radich'

  Due to the size of the ships and the obvious space restrictions (I find it difficult to walk on water ) it was quite difficult to convey the shear height of some of these vessels. My other regret (photographically) was to have forgotten my  filters to  help with the overcast sky, hey ho.

Ships at Victoria Pier

  Of the larger ships, they were roughly devided into two groups between Victoria Pier and Holmsgarth (where the Northlink ferry comes in) In all, there were over 50 'Tall Ships' with many other smaller boats taking part in the 'Cruise in Company' for more info have a look here at the website. I know where the saying 'learning the ropes' comes from ........and they all lead somewhere......................

  All of this was leading up to the opening ceromony at around 5pm on 21st July. Catriona had our two guest passes (the other for Rona) with almost front row seats, so I had to make do with viewing from the sideline. As the procession of crews filled in to the front of the stage, the general public gradually got moved further away, although I still had a relatively good view.

......the crews arriving in, many in fancy dress

The end of the opening dance - I videoed most of it (Sula is 'C' - 5th from left)

  Sadly the following day we returned back up to Unst and with it the weather also deteriorated. There was to be a 'parade of sail' today 24th July, but that has now been postponed due to heavy rain and strong northerlies. While I didn't see any ships under full sail, just going down and seeing these magnificent craft (and Sula dancing of course) was worth all of the past two weeks driving.


No comments: