musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Dockyard

Dry docked.

While rooting around amongst my pics I remembered that I had some interesting ones that I took in Gloucester in August 2015. I was hoping to get back to the city at some point, but then other things intervened and I never did (since rectified).
 
This post is about dry docks and ships, and it is really a series of images that I took way back in the 1980’s when we were in Durban and got the chance to go down into the Prince Edward Graving Dock. There were two vessels in the dock on that day and it was quite a thrill to walk underneath those tons of steel. The ships were Mobil Refiner (top image) and Regina D (lower image)

Mobil Refiner

Mobil Refiner

Regina D

Regina D

For those that are interested in these things, the principal dimensions of the dock are:

Overall docking length 352,04 m Length on keel blocks 327,66 m
Length on bottom 352,04 m Width at entrance top 33,52 m
Width at coping 42,21 m Inner Dock 138,68 m
Outer Dock 206,90 m Depth on Entrance MHWS 12,56 m
Depth on inner sill MHWS 13,17 m    
You really get a sense of scale when you get to see how big ships actually are, and these two were relatively small vessels compared to what is floating around nowadays.
 
Unfortunately my images are not great,  The problem with taking pics down there is that there are patches of deep shadow and patches of bright daylight which really messed with the camera (and operator). Then the conversion process from slide to jpg further degraded the images. But, it is a great memory.

graving02

 

Cape Town has the Sturrock and Robinson Dry dock, and Clinton Hattingh was kind enough to send me these images of the latter showing the keel blocks 

The Robinson Dry dock is the oldest operating dry dock of its kind in the world and dates back to 1882. The foundation stone for the dock was laid by Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria.

Now wind forward to August 2015 and to Gloucester where there were two dry docks, and one was occupied by a sailing ship.
gloucester 548

I don’t think that caisson has been opened in many years, although in 2017 I revisited Gloucester Harbour and that dock was occupied. 

The vessel is the Den Store Bjorn, built n 1902.

Of course there are a number of these drydocks around in the the UK, The most famous one in Southampton is the King George V,  and it was the place where the really big liners were overhauled. Many images exist of the dock with one of the Queens in it but sadly the caissons have been demolished and the dock is now used as a wet dock. What a waste!

Southampton also used to have the Trafalgar dry dock which is close to the Ocean Terminal, it too was used by many of the famous liners, including a number of Union-Castle ships. It has been cut in half and the one half has been filled in while the other is a rectangular pool of water.

These facilities were built for the ship repair industry that the city once had, but that trade has moved offshore to Europe and today these spaces are only really known to those who have an interest in ships of the past.

There are two other dry docks of interest in Portsmouth, both inhabited by famous ships.

The first is the dock where the Monitor M33 is on display.

and the drydock where HMS Victory has been for so many years.

And finally, there are two more dry docks that I would like to mention, both with preserved vessels in them. The first houses the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

and the other houses the SS Great Britain in Bristol.

Both of these provide an interesting glimpse at the underside of ships, as well as the opportunity to marvel at their construction and how large they really are. 

When this post started out originally it was only really about the Durban trip, but it has grown into much more as I have experienced other similar docks, and what a fascinating journey it turned out to be.
 
© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 02/05/2016, more images added 04/06/2017
Updated: 01/01/2018 — 15:27

Popping into Portsmouth

On the afternoon of 19 April I made a half day trip to Portsmouth with my landlord. It was a spur of the moment thing so there was no real itinerary or end destination. I did however want to at least see HMS Warrior and HMS Victory if possible. Anything else would be a bonus. The weather was sunny, but extremely windy in Porstmouth, so much so that some of my images were at crazy angles as I tried to take pics. 
 
First vessel on view as HMS Warrior, and she is magnificent. We did not have the time to go on board any of the attractions, but some quick pics will do for this post. She is much bigger than I expected and is really a unique vessel in so many ways. 

 

Dominating the skyline of Portsmouth is the Spinnaker Tower and of course the buildings that form the Historic Naval Dockyard predate it by many years. There are quite a lot of really beautiful old buildings in the city, but time was not on my hands to explore any of them.

 At the Historic Dockyard is the long lived HMS Victory, much to my dismay her upper masts and spars had been removed. This venerable old lady is really worth seeing because she is a unique vessel, and in a class all of her own. Over 250 years old, she still looks as good as when she was built. The removal of the yards and spars have to do with her ongoing restoration, and hopefully in a few years she will get them back. 

 

Close to the Victory is the Monitor M33, a 1915 vintage vessel that is neither glamorous, or as famous as the wooden wall close by.  (At the time of writing this post she was not open to the public, but she has since been undergoing preservation so that she can finally be opened).

 

Behind her lay modern warships of the Royal Navy, and I had to wonder what it must have been like here during the World Wars. The drydocks and inner basins would have been occupied that’s for certain.

   

There was a lot of ferry traffic about too, with vessels destined for the Isle of Wight, the continent, and other ports close by. Strangely enough there were none to Southampton.

We then headed to Southsea to have a look at the hovercraft that goes across to Ryde. It was not in yet so I took a look at the surging waves and the shingle beach. The wind was still blowing a gale and it was decided unpleasant.

While we waited a cross channel ferry came past and we decided to go take a closer look at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. How many ships have passed down this channel? If only the sea could talk.
The Memorial is a magnificent structure, but again it is just so difficult to photograph because of its sheer sze and the number of plaques on its walls with 24600 identified casualties listed there. I would like to revisit the Memorial and rephotograph it.
 

By this time the hovercraft had made an appearance and I headed towards its “landing pad” as it beached itself.

 

By the time I got to the pad it was almost ready to leave, and inflating its skirts it turned and charged down the beach, hitting the water in a burst of spray, which was then flung straight at me as it headed off once again. I was drenched, but it was worth it!

Then it was time to go home again, we wanted to head out and have a look at the forts on a hill protecting Portsmouth so headed out there. The view was spectacular, but the glare did make it difficult to take photographs. These images are all 1500 pixels wide

   

Then we headed off for home. The weather was starting to get odd, and the artillery museum at Fort Nelson was closing so there was no real need to stay any longer. Portsmouth is on my list for a day trip, but first I must get to Isle of Wight. But even before that, we had to get home.

© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 01/04/2016

Updated: 28/12/2017 — 07:51
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