Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Cargos - John Masefield

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.
The alarm didn't sound this morning so was a little late 'on watch' this morning as the ship passed a point 40 miles south of the Scilly Isles so geographically well placed to start the GB Year List. 
Coffee in hand while still partly under the cover of darkness
were first on the 2013 List.
As we continued up the English Channel the first ship of the day
was spotted, a Ferry of sorts,
followed by a brace of GUILLEMOTs.
NORTHERN GANNET was soon to follow
with 200+ seen before close of play.
MANX SHEARWATER numbers only reached 6,
as another c4 GREAT BLACK-BACKs joined the previous 16.
GREAT SKUA numbers only just reached double figures
as GANNETs started to get bolder
as a lone ARCTIC SKUA hurried past.
c3 NORTHERN FULMAR joined the throng just after 
midday as did Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake,
Sooty Shearwater, Razorbill and Swallow that didn't
fall to the camera.
Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory, apes and peacocks,
sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
emeralds, amethysts,
topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Monday, 29 April 2013

3 Days At Sea

The 3 days passage from the Azores to the Western Approaches were by and large uneventful and so have been contained in this post.
The weather started to break even before leaving port
and during a 6 hour vigil this marker buoy was the only thing sighted.
The following day was little better and the sea conditions had worsened slightly with the swell reaching 7 meters. A party of c3 Tern Sp were seen and at first thought to be LITTLE or LEAST both being well out of range I concluded it might be best to take a little more water with it!
Other than that it was left to the
NORTHERN GANNET to provide all the excitement.
The good news for most on day 3 was that the sea had flattened
with this shot thought to be a WHALE of sorts?
That's when the
started gathers with so many passing during the day
(many thousands) that the count was abandoned.
The only change to this were c2 Tern Sp
which also remained unidentified.
All 'Manxed' out by 16:00
I returned to the cabin
noting the view through the
Port Hole
Should be close to land tomorrow and the start of the
Great Britain Year List.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Porta Delgada, Azores

A dull day to herald our second Island visit, this time to the Capital City of the Azores, but nil desperandum there were stacks of Gulls on offer so no prizes for guessing my direction.
This fine 3 master reminded me of my days as a Boy Seaman when learning the various parts of sailing vessels. One tail that stuck with me was that of the DOLPHIN STRIKER (the arrow like appendage pointing downwards from the bowsprit) part functional, part superstition. In the days of sail Dolphins were so revered as 'good luck charms' by mariners that they were often concerned they would come to grief swimming so close to the bow while underway. To prevent this a Dolphin Striker was rigged to lightly tap the creatures on the head, steering them clear of the vessel and presumed danger.
The mist and drizzle slowly cleared.
Yet another Leviathan.
One of the Sea Clipper Fleet
Again I'll leave the Gulls until such time as they can be checked.
A few more CITY shots

Heading for the open sea and the final leg of or journey.