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.
Alongside the clipper on the waterfront in San Diego is an even old sailing ship. This had the look more of a frigate from the times of Nelson. The shape of the hull is broad to provide a platform for the men and weapons and the gun ports on the side allowed the cannons to fire at any enemy. The boat looked exactly as you would expect for that vintage and, in keeping with the fashion of the day, an intricately carved figurehead was mounted on the bow.
Having grown up on the south coast of the UK, ships of this type were not unknown. HMS Victory was a ship I visited on a number of occasions and it was a big ship compared to this one but the lines are unmistakably similar. The idea of traveling around the world in something like this is fascinating (and terrifying) to me. Doing that and then getting shot at by some pretty unpleasant weaponry with access to minimal medical help if you got hurt is even more scary!
We repeated another part of the trip from last year when we went out to Kilauea lighthouse. This is a peninsula which not only provides a good navigation reference but is also a great spot for watching some bird activities. The birds roost on the rock faces and head out to sea to fish. However, some are less inclined to do the hard work.
The frigate birds prefer to wait for the boobies to return from fishing and then harass them into dropping their catch and scooping it up themselves. Out by the lighthouse is a great place to watch this happening. The lighthouse itself is undergoing restoration at the moment and is covered in protective material. It doesn’t make a good photography target for the time being. Glad I saw it last year! however, the fencing around it apparently was popular with a young booby. Not sure why he would choose that when there is so much human free space around but there you go!
There were also some dolphins swimming around in the bay below us. They were a long way off and hard to spot but it was still exciting to spot them. I could really spend ages out on the headland. The wind blows you about but the birds are so close and the view is so good, it is hard to find a good reason to leave!
Early in our visit to Kauai, we paid a visit to the lighthouse and wildlife refuge at Kilauea Point. We were there to see the lighthouse and the surrounding coast but the wildlife element was an interesting addition. There were tons of birds in the area. Along the cliffs we saw a lot of Red Footed Boobies. These are a pretty decent sized bird that is akin to a small albatross. The boards also mentioned the presence of frigate-birds. These weren’t close in but appeared to be out towards the lighthouse.
Once we got out on the peninsula on which the lighthouse sits, we became a lot more familiar with the frigate-birds. It turns out that they are something I have seen on one of the TV nature programs that the BBC produces in great detail every five years or so. Frigate-birds are a prehistoric looking creature. Their wings make them look like a pterodactyl and their beaks have a most evil looking hook on the end.
The thing that the TV show explained and that we got to see in action is their preferred method of getting food. The boobies head off out to see to catch fish. They bring the fish back in a pouch in their throat and then use it to feed the chicks. The frigate-birds are not so interested in making much of an effort so they hang around and wait for the boobies to return. They then attack them trying to make them spit out their catch. Nice, huh?
Anyway, we got to see this at close range. The frigate-birds would pick a target and go for them, sometimes in pairs. The attack would continue for some time as the boobies tried desperately to get out of the way. If they got close enough to the shore, that seemed to be good enough and they could get back to their roost. Otherwise, the frigate-birds would be pretty tenacious. Quite something to witness at close quarters!