Thursday, 6 May 2010

Rowing in Walsh Bay, NSW

Peter Miller has found that it is still silly to take coals to Newcastle, in Australia at least. He writes:

Last week a business trip took me up to Newcastle, 2.5 hours north of Sydney. After puzzling over the logistics for a few days I took the opportunity to travel up the night before with my Swift Dory on my roof racks and stay at a friend's place at Lake Macquarie just south of my destination. Waking early I snapped a pic of sunrise on the lake and travelled the 30 minutes into the city arriving at Horseshoe Beach at 7:15am.
Launching from the beach I travelled west then north to Walsh Bay Reserve about 3.5km away. The vantage point provided a good view of a couple of coal ships one of which, the Hanabusa, was being loaded at the Carrington coal terminal.
Newcastle is one of the busiest harbours in Australia and I understand the biggest coal port in the world. Last year there were about 1000 coal vessels loaded and around 100 million tonnes of coal exported. It was an unseasonably warm morning. Is there any connection between that and 100 million tonnes of Newcastle coal going up in smoke?
The coal is railed from mines up in the Hunter Valley down to the port and shipped mainly to China, Japan and Korea. The Hanabusa launched in 2007 and it mainly transports coal to the Hokuriku Electric Power Co in Japan. Vital Stats: Deadweight 77,247 tonnes; Length 229 metres; Beam 36 metres; Draft 12.8 metres. It kinda makes one's own vessel seem rather insignificant. Then again my fuel bill is lower and I am a bit more manoeuvrable.Turning to go south I dodged some of the river traffic including a dredger the David Allan.
The Newcastle Port Corporation's Trailer Suction dredger David Allan works in conjunction with the survey team, to ensure that the channels and berths are maintained at their correct depth.
The dredging process itself is called trailer-suction dredging. The dredger lowers its dredging arm, which is a large pipe of about a metre diameter, to the harbour bed. Water is pumped into the pipe to remove the air to create suction. This allows the excess mud and silt to be sucked from the harbour bed (something like a huge vacuum cleaner) as the dredger is manoeuvred through the area requiring dredging.
She removes approximately 500,000 tonnes of actual silting material a year, with about 1000 trips to the spoil ground, which is 1.5 miles South East of Nobbys Head. (Source Newcastle Port Corporation).
Nearing the edge of the City to the south of the harbour I came across a shapely statue of a winged lady created by Julie Squires, inspired by the figureheads on sailing ships. Mariners believe that a naked woman before the ship is good luck and has the power to calm gales and high winds, keeping them safe. She symbolises the spirit of the future, standing on a globe and drawing strength from the earth. Her hair strands represent the seven seas.
I headed east back to the Horseshoe Beach and inevitably struck up conversations with first a kayaker and then, after landing, a fellow who wanted to know more abot the dory and where he could get one. So far in my rowing I have only twice come across non-competitive row boats on Sydney Harbour. Kayaks and surf skis are by far and away more popular. Having been a kayaker many years ago I can say they don't know what they're missing. After loading the dory on the car and locking her down I took a quick dip, changed into my suit and was ready for the business of the day. Now if I could just somehow work a row into my commute in Sydney each day...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More news from down under, this time a home designed and built strip plank coastal rowing boat from Tansmania

Very nice, and well thought through.