My aerial photo searches brought me to some shots of the Royal Navy’s dockyard at Portsmouth. One or two shots from this were used in a post about a flight I took with Pete but not very many. Flying over the home of the Royal Navy, we got to see a bunch of ships – large and small. HMS Bristol was moored for use as a training ship. I think she may have now been relieved of that duty so don’t know whether she is still around and for how long.
Plenty of frigates were moored alongside and there were surplus Type 42 destroyers at various locations too. This got me thinking about a day many years ago when we were in Portsmouth for some reason. We took a trip around the harbour in a sightseeing boat and I got a few shots of some ships then too so these are interspersed here. Now the arrival of the two carriers to the fleet would mean a good chance of getting a far larger vessel alongside. Might have to think about doing something like this again at some point when I am in the UK.
Two small boats came through the locks while we were there. One was just over 50m in length while the other was much smaller and just under 50m in length. Both of these boats looked like they might be quite comfortable. They were also both flagged in the Caribbean. A quick Google search on each showed that they were available for charter. Both seemed to have plenty of people on board but they looked like they might have been the crew rather than the guests as they seemed all business as they handled these tiny boats through the lock. If I decide to get a boat at some point, I might be tempted by either of these. I do prefer one over the other but I suppose I could make do with the less preferable one if the price were right.
Walk around the headland from Sutro Baths and you come to a great view looking across towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Here is located the memorial to the USS San Francisco. The ship was engaged in a vicious battle during the Second World War at Guadalcanal in which her senior officers were killed. The ship survived albeit heavily damaged. When she was scrapped after the war, the wings from the bridge were kept and placed as part of the memorial. They still bear the scars of the rounds that hit the ship during the engagement with the steel holed and twisted in many places.
Just upstream from Tower Bridge along the South Bank is a World War II cruiser, HMS Belfast. Part of the Imperial War Museum, the Belfast has been moored up in London as a museum for many years. I visited it as part of a school trip when I was quite young. It is a slightly incongruous thing to see against the other occupants of the river. A while back it was given a repaint in a splinter camouflage scheme as opposed to the plain gray it had before. The rest of the river traffic is bright in comparison.
The ship is impressive enough when viewed from river level but, when you look from above, you get to see just how large it is. A light cruiser from that era is a substantial thing. Occasionally a Royal navy ship may visit the city and they have previously moored up alongside the Belfast. The comparison between the old and the new is quite striking. The angular lines of older ships compared to the more sweeping hull shapes show the age of the design. Sadly, I don’t have any images of that to share.