Tag Archives: ship

A ship stranded on Clifton beach

A ship stranded on Clifton beach
Yesterday morning Cape Town woke up to dense fog, and a Japanese fishing trawler perched on Clifton beach. The NSRI report tells the story in some detail, so forgive if I don't repeat what they've already said. :)

I visited Clifton 2nd beach at about 4pm yesterday afternoon to see a large tug stationed a couple of hundred meters from the ship with one (or two, I think) cables connecting it to the Japanese trawler. A smaller tug was making regular trips to the large tug, and a small rubber boat was used between the tiny tug and trawler. I'm guessing they were dropping off supplies and equipment.

High tide was due at 21h00 yesterday evening, at which time the large tug was due to give an almighty tug (pun and all, yes) and hopefully free the vessel from the beach before its structure gave way to the relentless battle between ocean currents and fixed land. I'm not yet sure if the rescue team managed to free the ship - I'm sure we'll hear how the operation fared once the sun comes up in the morning. I am holding both thumbs fairly tightly though.

Click here to see our full gallery of photos from Clifton 2nd beach.

The sun sets on summer : 3#6

Sun sets on summer (and a pirate boat)
The boat that you see in the distance is the Jolly Roger - the pirate ship that parents sometimes hire out for kiddie parties.

Wouldn't it be awesome to hire the boat for an adult pirate party - at around this time of day?

In case you missed my previous post, I'm publishing a few photos of the sun setting on what could have been the last warm day until summer arrives at the end of the year. See the previous photo in the series here.

Ocean liner vs cruise liner – The Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2
As I mentioned in my previous post, we visited the Table Bay Hotel for a late breakfast so that we'd be in the area while the Queen Mary 2 was preparing to leave Table Bay harbour.

I'll show you another photo or three in my next post, but for now, perhaps you'll find it interesting to know that even though Cunard's Queen Mary 2 isn't the largest passenger vessel, she is the world's largest ocean liner. The largest passenger vessel is a cruise liner named GT Oasis of the Seas built in 2009.

Now you may be wondering what the difference between an ocean liner and a cruise liner is. It's simple - the Queen Mary 2 is an ocean liner because it's primary purpose is passenger (or cargo) transportation, whereas a cruise liner (like the GT Oasis of the Seas) is intended to be an entertainment ship - a holiday at sea.

A view of Table Mountain

A view of Table Mountain
Because of strange sounds emanating from the ship, I watched it a little longer than normal to discover what was happening aboard. I could hear banging, clanging and grinding of metal. With my telephoto lens I observed little people clambering all over her deck. I even saw sparks fly - presumably from the grinders and possibly from welding machines!

The people on board appeared to be repairing the ship and the noise was possibly a result of them grinding away rust and replacing broken bits with new sheets of metal.

I thought at first that this was an awesome workshop. From this location workmen on the ship have a perfect view of Table Mountain and close-up view of the beautiful Blouberg beaches. However, considering this a little longer led me to decide that it must be a terrible place to work! It may be great when the weather's good, but surely it's awful to be stuck aboard this "prison island" when the weather is poor and the seas are rough? Nowhere to escape, nowhere to run, not many places to hide!

Great as it may have been this day, I'm a little surprised to come to the conclusion that I think, on average, I'd still prefer my air conditioned office!

Fire at sea

Warning sign

I don't recall ever hearing a news report about a ship sinking off our coast due to fire. The most recent incident of a fire at sea, that I'm able to recall, was last year when Cape Town's Fire and Rescue services boarded a cargo ship near Britannia Bay (map) to help extinguish a fire that had erupted in the ship's engine room. It took many hours of work under difficult conditions, but fortunately the ship and all it's crew were saved and towed back to Table Bay Harbour.

Imagine how scary it must be to have your ship catch alight while at sea. One would think that with all the water around it would be easy to extinguish a fire - but with the right flammable materials and without the necessary equipment - it's sometimes impossible to stop a fire before it causes the ship to sink.

I imagine that this door would lead to the engine room, and that opening it during a fire would supply oxygen to the flames, causing them to burn more furiously.

The Nautica

Cruise Liner
A while ago I wrote about graduate students from the Isa Carstens Academy who each year board similar liners, working their way around the world - effectively being paid to visit the world. Isn't that pretty awesome? Imagine all the places this ship has seen. Sydney, Rio, New York - I'm sure the list goes on and on.

I've heard from friends who've traveled on similar liners that once aboard it's a party atmosphere practically 24x7 - so I guess the tag line, "Every day is like Saturday on Nautica" is pretty appropriate.

Assuming that you don't work on Saturdays, imagine it being Saturday every day for 14 or 20 days. Imagine, all your food and all the shows and activities that you'd like to be entertained by are included in your ticket price - so besides for drinks, once on board it must feel like everything is free. Wouldn't that be just amazing?

Please leave a comment if you've traveled aboard a similar ship. I'm interested to know how you found the experience.

Cape Town drydock


As the title suggests, this photo is of a small drydock at Cape Town harbour. For those who perhaps don't know, a drydock is used to perform ship repairs that cannot be done while the ship is in the water.

Essentially what happens is that the vessel enters the drydock (which is still filled with water). The wet drydock's gates are closed and after securing the vessel, huge pumps pump every little bit of water from the huge swimming-pool-like container. I'm guessing that the process is carried out fairly carefully, as one would have to ensure that the vessels are properly supported as the water is drained. Imagine having one of these topple over in the dock...

Turkish bulk carrier aground at Blouberg

Bulk carrier aground at Blouberg

With all the bad weather we've been having this week, a Turkish bulk carrier laden with oil and iron ran aground at Blouberg Beach in Table Bay on Monday night. I've been at work all day, but fortunately one of our readers, Pedro, from Belbon Hills wine farm managed to snap this photo for us en route to the farm.

The 25 crew members were air-lifted to safety, but concerns have now been raised about a small leak that could turn nasty. The South African Department of Environmental Affairs are looking into the matter, but I'm not sure how much can be done right now - except perhaps for pumping the oil from the vessel!

Click here to read the original Reuters report.

EDIT: Please see my comment below.