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Goole and the Trent - Monday 6th April 2015
Sunday 22nd February took me to Hartlepool for lunch with my friends up there. I decided to leave York early in order to be able to spend a little bit of time at the South Gare before crossing the river for lunch. The South Gare is a location that rarely repays short visits but on this occasion it wasn’t too bad. The weather, as usual, was absolutely freezing cold and I couldn’t spend too long outside the car, simply sitting there and leaping out with my camera when it looked as though there was a ship about to appear. Unusually, the visibility, while it was reasonably clear over the river, was too hazy to allow any usable shots of the anchorage. I managed four ships from the South Gare before time started to get a bit pressing and I had to head for Hartlepool where there was one ship at Irvine’s Quay. So the total for the day was only five ships, but four of them were new sightings so it wasn’t a bad tally for a short visit.
Monday morning, and time to pack and fly back to Manchester had come around all too quickly. But there was still time for a few pictures in amongst all the frantic activity of packing, eating, boarding the shuttle bus and going through the airport formalities. I had been aware that the former Peter Deilmann cruise ship Deutschland had been laid up in the Eastern Anchorage for some time but my efforts to photograph her had been frustrated by the fact that the chairlift to the top of the Rock was out of action. I was therefore delighted to find, when I had finally struggled through the nausea of airport check-in and security, that she was clearly visible from the spectator balcony in the airport terminal. The weather was a little hazy and the results are somewhat substandard but at least I finally managed to get a shot of her. Apart from one other ship in the Eastern Anchorage (Helene J), the other photos were all taken from the hotel balcony in very low light.
I don't really have a whole lot to add to the notes for the previous gallery. The absence of “night” shots (or rather shots taken early in the morning in) aren’t an indication that I stayed in bed until much later in the day – it’s just that I got a bit bored with struggling to produce half way decent images in total darkness. In fact most of the vessels that were in range of my camera at that time of the morning were ones that I had already seen the day before anyway. As I said before, the weather was a little sunnier on the second day and this produced some nicely lit shots with sun rays picking out the ships against the dark water and land. No particular “stars” stand out in this gallery but it was nice to get a “new” local ferry and the presence of two LNG tankers was somewhat unusual in my experience.
Just before New Year I decided that I had had enough of good ole British winter gloom and that I needed a short break somewhere sunnier so I booked myself a long weekend trip down to Gibraltar. Flew there with Monarch which was quite reasonable and I stayed in the Rock Hotel, the room having a balcony with superb views over the bay so I could sit there all day just photographing ships. The weather was pleasant – particularly the Sunday which was like a good spring day here in Yorkshire – although there was a bit of haze and cloud around now and again. Unfortunately, the cable car was closed for winter maintenance so my efforts to reach the top of the rock to photograph ships in the Eastern Anchorage were frustrated. But there was plenty in the Bay and over in Algeciras to keep me occupied. This is the first of three galleries, two big and one very small. The small one covers my departure day and contains the only photos that weren’t taken from the hotel balcony. In the two large galleries, the photos are shown (more or less) strictly in the order in which they were taken. For some reason the shipping movements page on the Gibraltar Port Authority site, although it is still there, no longer works; and the same is true for the Algeciras website. Why this should be the case I do not know but I can sniff the dread hand of “security” somewhere in the background. The result is that any movement info I have given in the captions to these photos has had to be scraped and scrabbled together from other sites of questionable reliability so I apologise in advance for any errors. Of course, as my number of visits to Gibraltar grows, the number of repeat sightings is also increasing. Nevertheless, the score for the two (and a bit) day visit was quite good – 76 ships in total, of which 57 were new sightings.
On Saturday 7th February 2015, I finally shifted my backside out of my computer chair and headed off down to Goole and the Trent for what seemed like the first time in an absolute age. As usual the weather overnight had deteriorated and it was cold and misty with hazy patches hanging over the water. Also several of the ships that I had hoped to see had slipped away overnight and the numbers were not what I had hoped for. Still, it was good to get out of the house and get some fresh air in my lungs. As there was nothing at Howdendyke, I decided to ring the changes a little, start form the Keadby end of the route, and work my way back up to Goole. Psychologically this was a bit of an improvement as it meant that, on the longish drive back up to Goole I at least had the entertainment of stopping to see some ships. The final score wasn’t all that bad with 9 ships sighted (10 if you include the motor barge Hiddekel), four of which were new sightings.
New Year’s Day, 2015 took me to Hartlepool to see in the New Year and have lunch with my friends up there. Of course the visit also provided the opportunity for a little ship photography and the chance to capture the first new sighting of the year. A relatively early start got me to the South Gare just after sunrise and I stepped out of the car to be greeted by the traditional howling gale – to say the wind was cold would be an understatement of the first order. Even by the advanced standards of the South Gare, the wind was penetrating in the extreme and it was, as always, impossible to find shelter from it so I was forced to spend as much time as possible in the car, only emerging when an arrival or departure was imminent. I had forgotten to bring my scanner so even this latter exercise was not particularly simple. Nevertheless, the first new ship of the year (Magsenger 19 berthed at the Ore Terminal) was duly captured as were four others – so the final score for the day was five new sightings out of a total of, seven proving that, sometimes, the Tees can reward a short visit.