Sunday 27 December 2015

Multi-purpose Dry Cargo Carrier BEATRIX

Yesterday was "Boxing Day" in Canada!! Yes, that special event like America's "Black Friday", that is known as the busiest shopping day of the year and because of all the "olive-coloured" twenty dollar bills that are handed over to cashiers, Canada deservedly is given the moniker "The Great Green North" for a day. However, due to the combined unpredictable weather conditions sent our way from this year's El Niño and the jet-stream's Pacific instead of Arctic air flows, the "Great GREEN North" label is probably more justified because this neck of woods has been experiencing hardly any snow and some unbelievably warm temperatures throughout the month December.
While normal Ottawa daytime highs for December usually hover just below freezing, many daytime highs this month reached double digit above freezing temperatures including Christmas Eve Day where the "Coldest Capital in the World" reached a balmy +17° Celsius (or 58F), which instead of shopping for last-minute Christmas gifts, many duffers were out playing around of golf at area courses simply to to brag that they could. Also, while normally our lawns and gardens would be blanketed with a layer of 5-10cm of snow that often remained there until spring, this year all you see is beautiful green grass, budding lilac bushes, and even our garden's irises and tulips are starting to break through the ground.

Talking about tulips, there was a certain air or confidence about her as the 507' Wagenborg general cargo carrier BEATRIX cleared the shoreline arbour beneath Windmill Light Point last July and proudly sliced her way through the ocean bound current of the St. Lawrence River with pomp and circumstances. Of course it made perfect sense because this little beauty was named after the former Queen of the Netherlands from 1980-2013 and a women who new Canada well and appreciated all that we did while harbouring the Dutch Royal Family during the Second World War.

When World War II broke out in the Netherlands in 1940, the Dutch Royal family fled to England. Soon after, the infant Princess Beatrix, her sister Irene, and mother, Juliana moved to Ottawa where they resided in Rockcliffe's Stornaway House (current residence to Canada's Leader of the Opposition) until the war ended in 1945. While growing up in Ottawa, Princess Beatrix attended Rockcliffe Public School where she was known as "Trixie Orange". Especially noteworthy during their time in Canada was Princess Margriet's birth at the Ottawa Civic Hospital in 1943 where the maternity ward was officially declared a "temporary international territory" so that baby Margriet would be born in no country and would inherit only her Dutch citizenship from her mother, Princess Juliana.
In gratitude for Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters during the three year Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWII. the Dutch Royal Family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa. In 1946, Princess Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year. The Dutch Royals kept their promise and now annually over 500,000 people visit Ottawa every May to view Holland's gifts to Canada in full bloom at the Canadian Tulip Festival, which is claimed to be the world's largest. c):-))

Meanwhile, back at the boat blog, along with a prestigious name, the 507' BEATRIX is uniquely designed to carry a variety of dry cargoes in her holds or up to 475 TEU containers. Though her name was FIVELBORG when she was launched in 2009 in Leer, Germany, the BEATRIX flies the flag the Netherlands and her homeport is Delfzijl.
On that day in July, the sleek and slender BEATRIX swayed like in a warm spring breeze while negotiating the various required turns along the St. Lawrence allowing her to reach her final upbound destination without incident. It's all we can do during this premature early spring but except what we receive until old man winter returns. No rush with that eh! c):-()

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Bulk Carrier EIDER

All kinds of weird things are known to happen during a "Full Moon" like suffering from insomnia, unexplained acts of craziness or lunacy, magical phenomena like "werewolf" sightings apparently and higher than usual tides are all traditionally associated to when the moon is at its fullness. Well, that big lunar pizza-pie that appears to be moments away from hitting the EIDER's wheelhouse on the evening of September 26 when I snapped the 656' bulk carrier passing Brockville, is not actually a full moon but rather a "waxing gibbous moon" because it's was only 97% full. Really? c):-o In fact the moon that appeared the next night was actually called a "Super Blood Moon" because of it's closest approach to Earth and a uniquely red glow appearance. Whether the moon was full, or super or bloody, it didn't really matter because all we got to see up here in Ottawa were "clouds". c):-()
There was only a "Half Moon" on the night that I full-force belly-flopped the asphalt while rushing via a shortcut to get to work. Even if  the moon was full, I don't believe the outcome would have been much different as I was truly in the dark, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. What will be, will be and now after months of patiently enduring the various physio and chiropractic treatments needed to heal my aches and breaks, I'm happy to say I'm back and in the two weeks that I have been completing my tasks as an Ottawa transit bus operator, I haven't once broken a knee-cap or sprained an ankle (knock on wood or a patella).

Whether out and about or motoring the streets of Ottawa, I know where I'm going, and taking no risks. I guess you can say I'm following the path most travelled much like the EIDER did as she made her way downbound through the treacherous Brockville Narrows.
Located at the eastern end of the Thousand Islands, the 3 mile Narrows consists of 70 islands and 60 shoals. As you can see on my "Tacky Cut & Paste Version of 2 Actual Nautical Charts" below, the International Shipping Channel which lies between the Brockville Islands and the Canadian mainland poses a real hazard along the entire route due to the narrowness of the river and all those islands that fill the river from bank to bank. No short cuts allowed here as the channel that parallels the Narrows close to the New York shore is not suitable for deep draft vessels as some of the shoals sit in 3 feet of water, or less. YIKES!!
Tacky Cut & Paste Version of 2 Actual Nautical Charts.

My only venture through the Brockville Narrows came in August 1996, when I had the pleasure of being a guest on the bridge of my son's ship, the Canadian frigate, HMCS TORONTO as she motored upbound to Lake Ontario and her next port of call, Port Hope. While GPS maybe essential today to transit the Brockville Narrows and for that matter any channel or harbour throughout the world, on that Sunday morning, it was the TORONTO's radar systems, depth soundings and the good old naked-eye of her crew and officers diligently identifying and then calling out the location of navigational aids and nearby landmarks to continually plot her position throughout her passage. That was quite the thrill and to read more about that excellent adventure on HMCS TORONTO, click this link: 

Meanwhile, the bulk carrier EIDER was built in 2004 at the Tianjin Yingang Shipyards in Tianjin, China and though she is owned by Parakou Shipping of Hong Kong, China, the EIDER is one of 28 bulk carriers that are chartered by Canadian Forest Navigation of Montreal. Almost every ship is painted the same colour scheme: hunter green hull, white superstructure, and light yellow cranes and stack. Each ship is also named after a "duck". By the way, the Common Eider is a large sea-duck that calls the north coasts of Europe, North America and Siberia home. The eider's nest is built close to the sea and is lined with the celebrated eiderdown which is plucked from the female's breast. Although eiderdown pillows and quilts are now a rarity, harvesting does continue once the ducklings have left the nest. Hence the term "Get Down!!" c):-()

I could be wrong about that last part but if you have some "down-time", feel free to check out these other "duck boat" posts, or NOT.