Tag Archives: boat

Repurposed Boats in Bristol Docks

When you look around harbors, you will often come across some unusual boats that have found a second life.  Just the other day, I saw a trimaran that had been modified with a new cabin which looked very out of keeping with the rest of the hull!  Walking around the docks in Bristol, I was surprised to see a variety of boats that had clearly started life somewhere different.

One of them bore all the hallmarks of an Amsterdam tour boat.  I don’t know whether the boats there still look like this, but they certainly did in years gone by.  Plenty of window space for the tourists to get a good look at the city as they went along the canals.  Another one fits into the category of what I remember things looking like but no idea whether they still do!  That was an ex-Hoseasons boat from the Norfolk Broads.  I remember having a boat just like this one for a vacation there when I was a teenager.

The type of boat that regularly finds a second life is a lifeboat.  The ex-RNLI boats are popular, presumably because they are built very tough so will provide years of service and it probably doesn’t hurt that they are seaworthy in the worst of conditions.  Modifying them to live on might change some of their characteristics but I suspect they are still better than average.  There were a couple of these in the docks too.  Keep your eyes peeled when walking amongst boats and see if you can spot anything unusual.  When I was a small boy, Bembridge Harbour had a houseboat that was a converted Motor Torpedo Boat from the Second World War!

A View of a Ferry You Don’t Normally Get

When I visit Anacortes, I almost always take a trip to the shipyard to see what sort of interesting things are up on the area near the road.  Normally it is tugs or support vessels, but a recent trip provided something a little different.  The Washington State Ferries vessel Chetzemoka was in for some work.  Seeing a vessel of this size up close and from below is rather cool.  The props had been removed and there were supports welded to the hull for the duration of the work.  It was a slightly gloomy day, but I had my phone, so I got some shots.  I wonder how long it will be before she is back in service.


While in Vancouver in November, we made a trip to North Van to see some friends.  That meant a trip on the Seabus.  The tricky thing about getting images of the Seabus is that you can’t really do anything if you are traveling on it.  The dock is enclosed and the views are restricted so you don’t really have any options (or at least I haven’t worked out what they might be).  However, I did go to the heliport which is very close by and this does provide a better view of the comings and goings of these ferries.

It’s not the most elegant of vessels but it does the job effectively.  Back and forth without turning since it is a bi-directional vessel.  It’s all about shuttling across the harbor as efficiently as possible.  I did also shoot some video of it but it is safe to say that there is nothing terribly dynamic about it that makes for an exciting video!

Take Your Car With You

I have seen countless RVs on the highway with a small vehicle hooked on the back.  Having something more usable when you get to your destination makes a lot of sense.  What about if you have a boat?  How are you going to get around when you reach your next port?  Why, bring a car with you of course!  This ship was in the harbour at Bristol while we were visiting.  The car was sitting on the deck, ready for use whenever it was needed!

SS Great Britain

Bristol Docks are the home of the SS Great Britain.  The first iron hulled ship with screw propulsion, the Great Britain ended up in Port Stanley.  It was rescued in the 80s and brought to Bristol where it was restored over many years.  Now it is in something like its original condition.  It was not open to the public on the day we were there but it was visible from the opposite side of the docks as we walked down and then, as we came back up the other side, I could get a quick glimpse through the fence.

Forklift for the Boats

The marina at Edmonds is a regular source of interest for me.  They have racks on which the boats get stored in multiple levels.  This requires a method for moving and lifting the boats and this is a bunch of specialist fork lifts.  They have very long arms to support the boats and a high extension to get the boats to the upper levels and also provide clearance over the racks when maneuvering the loads in tight spaces.  They must be pretty heavy to provide sufficient balance when picking up the boats.  Watching them wobble around is a little strange but entrancing.

Tanker Dwarfs the Ferry

The Guemes Island ferry was busy operating across the strait between the mainland and the island while I was there.  Just as it was readying to depart for another crossing, a tanker was making its way up the strait towards Anacortes.  I was wondering whether the ferry would make a quick dash across before it got there but they decided the discretion was better than valor and instead headed up the strait to turn and cross behind the tanker.

The closer that they got to the tanker, the more apparent the difference in scale between the two vessels became.  When you see large ships at a distance, it is easy to lose track of just how large they are.  Put something you can appreciate the scale of close to them, though, and you rapidly see that they are really big.  This isn’t even a big tanker by the scale of tankers.  The biggest vessels are truly enormous.  I remember as a kid that one of the largest tankers was berthed in Southampton for a few years when it wasn’t in demand.  That thing was massive!

Steam Cleaning a Hull

Whenever I go to Anacortes, I always swing by the shipyard to see what they are working on.  This was a quick visit but there was a large vessel up on the yard with a crew of people steam cleaning it.  I don’t know whether this was the precursor to some work or the end of some.  I did like the shaping of the screws on this vessel though.  They looked pretty sweet.

HMS Severn

The Royal Navy has a bunch of coastal patrol vessels that are named after rivers around the UK.  From what I have read, HMS Severn is one of the first batch of vessels and it is less capable than the later batch.  Although originally planned for retirement, it has been kept in service patrolling the UK coastal region.  It was heading out of Portsmouth when I saw it.  I think it was originally painted grey when it was commissioned but it currently has more of a camo scheme applied.  It made me think of the disruptive camouflage used during the First World War.  I actually shot a pano of it as it headed out taking advantage of the lack of an immediate background to avoid any issues with the movement between shots.

Arriving Container Ship

Nancy and I were walking along the shore in Stanley Park in Vancouver during our visit over the Thanksgiving weekend.  As we got closer to the lighthouse, I saw the prow of a ship start to come into view.  A quick switch to video and I recorded the arrival of a container ship to the harbor.  Large vessels like that coming through a narrow entrance to a harbor look cool to me.  Once the harbor opens out a bit, it is just another large ship in open water so the scale is lost.  In that phase when it comes into view, though, it looks as substantial as it really is.  Get close and you are left in no doubt about these ships.