It is Battle of Britain day today

This is the day when we celebrate the victory by the RAF over the Luftwaffe in 1940. Germany was trying to wear down the RAF in preparation of an invasion. Goring continually told Hitler that his air force was getting the better of the RAF and that the RAF was losing the battle and thus would not be a threat. The truth was that, although they were struggling to get pilots trained to cover the losses being suffered, the factories were making more planes than the number being shot down. When the Germans lost a plane, they also lost the pilot because he landed in “enemy” territory. When the RAF lost a pilot, generally, he was able to parachute down and rejoin the fight in a replacement plane the same day. The full story can be read HERE on the BBC web site.

Anyway, there was a fly past arranged comprising 40 Spitfires and Hurricanes, all flying off from Goodwood Racecourse airfield and dispersing around the South East of England to fly over the towns that were hit by the Luftwaffe bombers during the period. Three of the Spitfires involved flew over Colchester, on over Ipswich and landed at Bentwaters (the old USAF base near Woodbridge). I was invited on a trip to Felixstowe by my wife and mother-in-law this afternoon. I politely declined and was on our balcony at 14.55 expecting the fly over around 15.00. Suddenly I heard the sound of Rolls Royce Merlin engines (an unmistakeable sound) and three Spitfires flew over the Wet Dock down near Gasworks Quay.

I had chosen not to use my big lens as, given the restricted area of view, it is sometimes difficult to locate something at its maximum zoom so I kept to my trusty Tamron at its longest setting – the equivalent on my DSLR of 300mm). This was so that I got a good quality image and would be able to track the planes as they went over. I managed to get four images whilst still leaving me time to see the planes with my eyes rather then through a lens.

After all of that introduction, here is the best of the shots, suitably enlarged and spruced up of course.


How privileged was I to see such a gathering!

One of those busy days

It started out, on Sunday, as a normal day but as soon as the lock opened fully at high tide, the traffic got busy. First off we had EMS Surveyor going out. Now, I did get a photo of this coming in but forgot to post it! She is listed as a guard/cargo boat but I am not sure what the three large pillars are for – these aren’t to be seen on the company web site.


Then we had another visit from the lime green super car (that I wrongly guessed as a Porsche). This turns out to be a Lamborghini Huracán. This particular car is owned by ExclusiveGP and can be hired to go to special events. The one on their web site is called “Mayfair to Monte Carlo” and costs £10,960 per person (two sharing) for what looks like about 8 days with a 1,000 mile allowance on the car! I am up for next year – fancy sharing with me? Unfortunately, the car only drove along underneath us so I only got top views.IMG_4022

Lamborghini Huracán

Next up, we had Melissa going out.I have taken lots of her over the last couple of years but she deserves a place in today’s page.


Alert came down the port but rather than coming on through, she tied up at Cliff Quay.


We had a bitt of activity then with the little ABP boat dashing around until it finally brought the walkway from the lock over to our side.

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This meant that something big was coming through so I dashed to my iPad and checked with my natty FleetMon app.

In the meantime, Victor was on its way out but tied up along side us as well (getting out of the way).IMG_4031

Soon after, a little Zodiac type boat came through the lock – nicely powered by two Suzuki outboard motors. That tied up on the hammerhead opposite us in preparation for the big one.IMG_4030

Fleetmon had warned me of what was on its way and soon it came through itself. It is always great to see such a large ship as the Stavros S Niarchos. I have difficulty getting it all in on my usual lens, it is so long.


You can see now why Victor got out of the way!

I remember Valerie saying to me once that she never realised how much rope was needed to keep these boats sailing. Well, here is a close up of the mast (in two bits).

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What a good day that was to be out on the balcony.

Don’t Cross The Streams – Part 2

Still with memories of Ghostbusters – “Don’t cross the streams” I had to report on the unloading of Suntis this last week. It came in early Monday morning and had to be gone the same day so Anglo Norden got two cranes in. This shot reminded me of my previous post.


They were actually a long way from getting in each other’s way – thank goodness. I did get a “moody” shot as well.


Just for my friend Dan, here is a close up of one of the crane chassis.


At the same time as they were dealing with Suntis, SEH were relaying the paving along the quayside after the damage caused by the big crane (150 tons, I was told!).


Now that I am more mobile, I am able to get down the Waterfront more regularly. The 3rd September was not only the 76th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII, it was also Merchant Navy Day. The local branch of the Merchant Navy Association always has a commemorative service at the memorial outside the Cult Cafe. I always stop and think about the brave souls who risked the sea for the good of everyone else. I particularly remember my Uncle Frank who was in the Merchant Navy and was on a ship that was sunk during one of the Arctic Convoys. He was missing for 6 months, presumed dead, when he suddenly appeared at my Dad’s place of work having been on various ships trying to get home. No-one ever thought, in those days, to send a message saying that he was OK so my Dad was most surprised to see him alive! Here is the memorial with the wreaths in place.


Just by Neptune Marina is a map of the waterfront. There is one element on there that always amuses me – do you remember what it is Dan?


The black circle marks where you can get to after a five minute walk. It always tickles me when I see that they include the Island in that circle. By the time you have walked all the way down to Stoke Quay and round back along to the Last Anchor restaurant, etc. it would be way past 5 minutes!

Back to more sensible things! We drove around onto the island a couple of evenings ago – Valerie likes to look at our apartment block from the other side. We then drove on around Stoke Quay to see how they have squashed all the new apartment blocks into the area that they had available. We drove along the New Cut and stopped at the end of it.


You can just see the old Tolly Cobbold brewery on the far side just in line with the left bank.

I have now caught up on the week except for one little thing that happened this morning. The Thames barge Will came in earlier in the week and I couldn’t get a decent picture with it hard up against the dock down at Gasworks Quay. This morning, two little  orange tugs came through the lock at high tide. We were wondering what they were here for when we saw them taking Will out under their full control. I wonder why?


Norma gets her refit

If you remember, a while ago I had an entry about Norma having one of her plough supports removed. Yesterday was the day for it to come back. I knew that I would miss the arrival of the rebuilt strut but I tried to get as much of the operation as I could.

Sorry about the  contrast but the apartment block shuts off a lot of the sun in the mornings. Here is Norma from the port side showing how the strut connects to the plough.IMG_3813

Here is the starboard side of Norma showing the distict lack of a strut connecting the plough to the boat.


The crane arrived around 7am but nothing happened until around 12 o’clock. We got back from shopping to see it all on the go so I nipped to the water’s edge to get a close up.


They already had the strut in place. You can see it here all nicely painted in a protective grey primer – as opposed to the old rusty colour of the plough. To show how technical it was, when I took the above picture one of the workmen was saying – “well, how about we…” which indicates an element of “make it up as you go” here.

As my friend Dan loves any photos of cranes I must show you the big picture.


They finally got it all sorted and Norma moved back to her usual berth at Gasworks Quay. I took a couple of close ups to show when they were testing the plough operation. Here it is rising gently out of the water.


This is the new bit at its junction to with the ploughIMG_3827

To finish, I took a shot of Norma at her berth but before I show the final image, I will repeat an image from a few days ago.


Here, you can see a distinct lean to the plough. It now looks like this:


Much better!

Lots of visitors this weekend

We had an influx of interesting boats this week. We have seen most of them before, but some are rare sights.

First off was Grey Test. Now, this is a Felixstowe tug boat. We normally only see these when there is some need of a tug in the port. This time, it came into the Wet Dock, stayed a few minutes, left again, then re-appeared.IMG_3796

We then had Haven Supporter. This looked as though it was in the midst of a new paint job, looking at all of the patches on its sides. More information on this vessel can be found HERE. Looking at here recent Itinerary on Marine Traffic web site, it appears to have been in and out and cruising around the North Sea.


Cwind Spirit turned up yesterday evening. This is a large, modern catamaran and is owned by CWind. Its main use is servicing the many wind farms off the coast of Suffolk. IMG_3820


It normally berths around near Spirit Yachts so I got a nice shot of it turning into its berth.


Lastly, one I missed coming in. On looking down the Wet Dock I saw that the Thames Barge – Will – had arrived. This barge looks quite different from the usual barges due to its high visibility paint job.

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The weather wasn’t there for a good bank holiday weekend

This was a typical view down the port over most of the long weekend.


Isn’t it always the way when we have a long weekend in August that the weather feels like November?

We had a few interesting things over the weekend though. Firstly, the two scout boats came back.


These have been on a “Round Britain” trip over the summer. It seems that they have taken on a variety of groups as they have gone around. They visited many places, including Belfast, on their way around the coastline. Check out their Facebook pages for more details of all the things that they go0t up to. They are both back. One is in its regular place behind Thalatta but the other is on the end of the next hammer head.

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WE had another visitor on Sunday.

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It came with an ABP security van in tow. It drove over to the parking area, stopped and then drove away. Not sure what that was about. I am not sure quite what make of car it is. On enlarging the image, it looks like a Porsche badge but it doesn’t look like a Porsche to me.

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