Friday, 6 May 2011

Above Us The Waves!

Having not had a 'new country' join the readership since the last one, it is with great delight we welcome Eritrea to the fold at number 136! Continuing to reach out across the world, it is not known how this lovely North African country got to know about the Blog but enters, not with the usual single reader, but now fewer than 3. This also conjures up many memories personally, and I use the word 'lovely' knowingly having spent some time there in 1966.

Please pass the Blog Link on to your Friends and Families - Thank You!

This image of myself and the 'best friend' I ever knew in the Royal Navy, Mick Hutley, was taken on the deck of HMS Eskimo (when we made up the Persian Gulf Squadron) secured alongside in the seaport of Massawa which in those days was Ethiopia. The vessel astern of us is a Cotlin SAM (Surface to Air Missile Destroyer) of the then fleet of the Soviet Union, and also in our company was the destroyer USS Charles H Roan. We had all mustered there at the invitation of Haile Selassie I (Lion of Judah) and most 'decorated' man in the world, to celebrate the 'passing out' of one of his grandson's from the Royal Naval Academy, Dartmouth. It was a huge privilege to be part of the guard of honour inspected by this great man, while the 4 way sports events that followed were a great success for us, and the 'run ashore' was magic too.

It seemed as though the wind had 'backed' a couple of points overnight to the east, and what strength was in it was short lived. The same could be said for the haze which as burnt off fairly quickly making for another summery day. Again it was an early turn to Portland, but walking about 2 miles along the West Cliff only produced a most disappointing 9 Swallows and a single Whitethroat, I was glad to arrive at the Bill.

This succulent that looks to me like Annual Stonecrop? is now covering some fair sized areas of the cliff, and I feel if this isn't what I suggest, John & Maggie will soon let me know!

That feeling didn't last long as I was soon informed by those who had been 'sea-watching' for a few hours that little was passing by except for a few Gannets. I'm sure it must have been my arrival that spurred a Roseate Tern to show up and soon after

this Whimbrel landed briefly on the cliff below us

before once again taking to the wing.

This proved to be the start of a 'purple patch' as the first of 4 Arctic Skuas passed from

north to south followed by first a 'light' and then a 'dark phase' Pomarine Skuas followed. Good for me these as the species was an addition to the GB Year List, and just to put the cherry on the cake there as a distant Red-throated Diver. At the Observatory there was the usual coffee and some excellent company which generated some light hearted banter, before once again I was on the move.

A single Spotted Flycatcher was seen at Culverwell and as I reach the top of the hill there were a number of

Holly Blue Butterflies (male) and

Holly Blue (female) but that's when I heard my name being shouted from Langley Close where I found a couple of my former 'shipmates' leaning on a gate. Now the 'banter' really started.

Martyn (Migo) Powell, Me and Gary (Secret Lemonade Drinker) White were catching up as Martyn was paying a visit from his home now on the banks of Loch Lomond, Scotland and there was much to talk about. Gary simply couldn't resist getting the photos out, relating to all 3 of us, but most interesting to me were those reproduced below.

This is HM Submarine Porpoise, my last ship in the Royal Navy. There she had in her latter years been used as a 'manned target boat' for torpedo firings, but here she is being coaxed into a position

in Loch Linnhe to be sunk by 'live' torpedo fire.

I have to say, this 'boat' served me well and again there are many fond memories.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    Interesting Pictures of HM Submarine Porpoise.
    What are the semi-circular attachments for fore and aft and the white markings on the tower?