Images of a Big Island

Posts tagged “boats

Skye Boatyard 2

Hi all,

It’s been a filthy couple of days outside due to a Tropical Low/cyclone which has been wandering around the Coral Sea for the last week, trying to decide whether it will cross the coast or not!

Recently I upgraded from Lightroom 3 to LR 5, so, while the weather has been wet & wild, I have been going back over some of my files to see what difference it makes. Without going into too much boring detail, the upgrade was well worth it with some new tools such as the Radial Filter  and a revamp of exsisting tools such as the Spot Removal giving you more options  for tweaking your images.

One tool I have been impressed with is the Highlight Slider which is brilliant for retaining detail in  skies which I was always struggling with especially when conditions were light o/cast skies. It is nearly like finding an extra two stops of dynamic range in your camera!

The Clarity slider has had a makeover as well and they seem to have put it on turbo so it needs to be used carefully unless you want mid-tone contrast to make your images look like they have a sandpaper texture applied.

I have previously posted about this Skye Boatyard, while having a look at some files I played with these two different viewpoints of the same scene.



For me, they really bring back the bleak & forlorn weather & scenery of that day!


Skye Boatyard

My first night on Skye was spent at Kyleakin which is near the end of the Skye Bridge. I decided to go for a walk out to the ruins of Castle Moil and came across this boatyard which had seen better days. The lowering leaden sky and the cries of the gulls seemed to suit the melancholy look of this place so I spent the next half hour here. Never did make it out to the ruins!

Skye BoatyardCastle Moil is in the background, legend has it that it was built in the 15th century for a Norwegian princess called ‘Saucy Mary’ who would hang a chain across the narrow strait and charge a toll on boats trying to use the strait!


Pushing my Luck!

“Whitsunday Magic” pictured here is a bit of a jinx ship! She was bought out from Turkey and for a few years was one of the largest vessels in the Whitsunday charter fleet, (I was briefly one of her skippers) before mysteriously sinking at the wharf. After refloating she was sold to someone who had plans to turn it into a floating restaurant down on the Sunshine Coast. After basic repairs they set off, only to have engine trouble shortly after and decided to return to Airlie Beach where the boat sat on anchor for quite a while until earlier this year when  the remnants of TC Oswald created havoc along the Queensland Coast.

“Whitsunday Magic” was driven ashore along with many others and has stayed there since with the tide flowing in & out of her hull. I took advantage of the lowest tides of the year to walk out to her across the sand/mud flats & see if I could get some interesting images.


After this shot I waded out a bit for a different angle & that’s where it all went pear-shaped! While trying to extricate my sandal from the mud that I was slowly sinking into, I lost my balance, ended up on my knees and my 5D Mk II with 24mm TS-E came perilously close to going for a swim. Unfortunately they did get a bit of a light shower so the 5D is on it’s way  to hospital as I type this!

I guess it would have looked pretty funny to anyone who might have been watching, but at the time………………….

English Canals

Back in the days before trains and trucks much of Europe’s goods were transported by water. Holland,Belgium & France have extensive canal systems which are still used to transport materials to & from their North Sea ports today.

The U.K. also has an extensive canal system. Although it is not used so much for heavy transport today, it is still well utilised by canal boats that have been converted to live aboard mobile homes.

Oxford CanalThese are a couple of images taken at Newbold-on-Avon  through which the Oxford Canal runs.

Tunnel of LightThe local council put a series of lights in the Newbold Tunnel which runs for a quarter mile beneath farming land above. Unfortunately, a couple of different coloured lights were out at the time, but it still looks pretty cool!

It looks like a very relaxing way to see the English countryside to me!

Whitsunday Magic!

Ho hum,just another shitty day in paradise!


There are definitely worse places in the world to wake up!

Dinghy Wharf

When this image first appeared on my computer screen I was a little disappointed in it, slight movement of the pontoon during a 3s exposure had very slightly ruined it. But, that’s what you get for doing a long exposure on a platform that floats!

I decided to see what I could do with it anyway because the composition looked good and that dinghy in the foreground looked interesting.


Not the best image I have ever shot but I have to admit it’s growing on me! What do you think?

West Coast Fishermen

These images show a couple of fishing settlements on Tasmania’s West Coast. Fishermen are a pretty independent breed and the cray fishermen are no exception. Operating along one of the wildest coastlines in the world they have adapted to their harsh environment.

The logistics of supplying fuel, bait, food as well as maintenance and getting their product to market would be hard enough in these remote communities.  Factor in the weather and the fact that there is no infrastructure like harbours, marinas and in some places grid electricity, means that they have to be a little creative with their solutions. In places like Coutta Rocks and Temma they have built themselves substantial slipways so that when the weather deteriorates as it often does, they can haul their vessels clear of the wild seas. In other places they use a tractor  and trailer with the longest tow bar you will ever see to to haul their vessels to safety.

Hopefully these  images give you an idea of their working environment.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Weather has been totally crap over here in coastal Queensland for the last few days. It just won’t stop raining at all! In the last week we have had over 400mm of rain here in the Whitsundays and I forget the last time I saw a shadow.
Funny thing is that the Qld Government is funding a big tourism campaign to advertise that Qld is open for business. What with everything else that has happened over the last few months, this latest bout of wet weather is lousy timing if nothing else! We just keep saying under our breath that ‘the sun will come out!’ If you say it enough it will happen……..won’t it??
This image is just to show you all that the sun does shine in the ‘Wetsundays’ and when it does you wouldn’t be anywhere else!

Dingo Beach Sunrise.

Tony Middleton mentioned how much he liked my header image so here is the full monty. Hope you like it Tony!

The next one was taken about 10 minutes later just as the sun hit the horizon. I really like the subtle light in both of these.

The hours suck, but the view out the window is great!

Another one from the vault. This is an image from what used to be my “öffice”. One of my favourite anchorages in the Whitsundays, Stonehaven is tucked up on the NW side of Hook Is. Secure holding,surrounded by lofty hills, close to some of the best snorkelling and diving in the Whitsundays and you get to see some great sunsets like this one!

Hopefully I will be back out there soon!

TC Yasi

Here it comes! TC Yasi is barreling towards the tropical Qld coast as a Cat 4 system and is expected to cross the coast near Cairns sometime early Thursday morning.
Here in the Whitsundays we are expecting some serious winds and rain. The one thing about Qld cyclones is that they often recurve to the south as they approach the coast. That could put us in the firing line, so we are not out of danger yet! Everybody is apprehensive about Yasi for good reason, it’s a biggie!

In my last post I thought the grounded vessel may have been lucky by coming ashore in a sandy area. Inspection at low tide showed it managed to strike a couple of submerged rocks sustaining substantial damage underwater. Unlucky!

Dead Calm

One of the delights of ‘messing about in boats’ is pulling up into a sheltered anchorage for the night, sitting out on deck with a well earned beverage and having a 360 degree view of your surroundings. On occasion you get sunsets that are pure magic!
This particular evening, it looked like we may get a thunderstorm come across with an associated windshift that would make this bay exposed.Luckily, it didn’t happen and as the sun hit the horizon, the wind dropped, a gap in the clouds opened and gave us a 10 minute light show that was gold!

The title alludes to a film that was made in the area that starred Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill and Billy Zane about a romantic sailing voyage that went horribly wrong. A classic.
“At sea, no-one can hear you scream!”

Sailor’s Delight

Back in the days when people used to look at the sky and be able to gain a fair idea of what the weather would bring, there was an old saying; “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning!”

Recently we had two days in a row of sunsets like this, which is quite unusual, but it has been a funny year for weather anyway. Must be all those farting cows and belching sheep.
Save the Planet! Kill them all and throw them on a BBQ plate.

Airlie Beach Race Week

It’s a yacht racing frenzy here in the Whitsundays at the moment. Airlie Beach Race Week is under way at the moment. 107 yachts racing around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands for a week. Winds have been fairly light but the weather has been great.
This regatta attracts entrants from Australia wide and as far afield as NZ and is known as the “Tropical Shirt Regatta” with an emphasis on good racing and having fun doing it. With nearly nearly 1000 sailors and family members arriving in town, it’s a real shot in the arm for the local economy.
Next week is the start of Hamilton Is. Race Week which is a bit more serious and a lot more expensive. That regatta attracts the cream of racing yachts and sailors.
I was invited out for the day on one of the yachts and managed to get some images during the day. I wanted to get some images showing close racing from an on board perspective but as it was a longer race the yachts were more spread out than if it was short course racing. Next Year!

Annyway, I am off to hospital again for another hip replacement so I will see you all when I get back!

The Dream.

This would be the dream of many people, save up enough money to buy a decent yacht, sell the house, sail around the world to exotic locations or at least spend your winters cruising around places like the Whitsundays or the Carribean.
In my years as a professional seaman, I have seen many people do just that. I call them the middle class yachties, they do it reasonably comfortably,utilise marinas for the convenience (sort of like caravan parks) and usually maintain their boats with adequate funds to keep them seaworthy and comfortable.
I have also witnessed the extreme ends of the spectrum. On one end you have the millionaires/billionairespeople with obscene amounts of money who have huge yachts with professional crews and are like floating palaces.

Mostly seen around the ports of the Mediterranean and Carribean where they are like a status symbol. They cost a fortune to maintain and in a lot of cases the owner is lucky to spend a month a year aboard because he is too busy running his empire to actually enjoy his boat! To be fair some of these vessels are at the cutting edge of technology and certainly have a real “wow’ factor about them.
At the other end of the scale are the people who build a boat in the backyard or scrimp and save to acquire a vessel that is of sometimes questionable design and seaworthiness. I liken them to sea gypsies. They are living the dream on limited funds often scrounging parts and cobbling things together to keep going, or working along the way to keep cruising.
They are often seen on the fringes of harbours or anchored off because marinas are too expensive, their boats often have a scruffy, down at heel look about them. No shiny stainless steel here nor insurance either!

The interesting thing is that they help each other out in many ways from sharing information about anchorages or the cheapest ways of doing something to giving a hand to anti-foul before the tide comes back in.
They also probably cover more miles and see more deserted anchorages than many cruisers. They may not do it in absolute style and comfort but they do it and I have an idea that they are probably the most contented because they are doing it their way.

Clouds of Sail

I have previously posted about “Solway Lass” last year but have never been aboard while she is under sail. Yesterday I went out on her for a fundraising daysail which was a great day with great people,live music and good weather.
Having been skipper of ex Racing Maxi-yachts for many years I was interested to see what a Square- rigged sailing vessel was like to be aboard under sail.
Looking around the boat, there are a myriad of lines for sail control and it looked very complicated. In the old days of the clipper ships sailors needed to know where each particular line was and be able to find them in the worst weather and darkest nights. No easy feat!
The biggest difference I found between the modern racing yacht and a traditionally rigged vessel was how quiet and calm the older heavier vessls were. Very peaceful!
This is one of the images I took to try and capture some of the romance of that bygone era.

Glamour Day!

Had a great day out on the water yesterday,first time in 8 months! Also,one of the few times I have been out to the islands and not been working.
Beautiful sunny day with no wind at all for most of the day, so sailing didn’t come into the equation unfortunately.
Still it was nice to be out in the “office” again!
On the way home we came across one of the local charter yachts attempting to make the most of what little wind there was.

Much better seeing them on the water than on the beach!


This is another angle on the boats that were driven ashore recently during TC Ului. Wanted to see if I could get a darker feel to it, not sure if I actually succeeded. Constructive comments welcome!
Happily all the boats pictured have been returned to their native element although they will need some time in the shipyard to undergo repairs.

On another note, I am having trouble with my stitching. They come out all shapes and sizes! Is there a way to get a certain ratio, 2;1 or 3:1 without making them look stretched or squashed?
Any help would be much appreciated!


I went back down to Shute Hbr today to try and get some images that give an idea of the desolate look of vessel that has found itself on the beach due to forces that are sometimes far greater than the seamen who spend a lot of their time doing everything in their power to keep their boats afloat!

Luckily these vessels have suffered little real damage compared to many others and hopefully will be afloat again, albeit with some ingenuity,brute force and funds.
“We don’t have a problem, it’s just an unresolved situation we haven’t thrown enough time and money at yet!”.

The biggest cost will be the loss of earnings for the various commercial vessls that have found themselves in this predicament.

T.C.Ului (Part 2)

Well, the Whitsundays scored a direct hit by TC Ului on Saturday night and it was a wild night indeed! Ului crossed the coast at about 1:30am as a Cat 3 system with gusts of about 200km/h.
Power had gone about 11:30 and from then on it was a dark and stormy night literally! As the eye passed over the wind dropped to about 15 knots and light drizzle before it all resumed from the opposite direction but nowhere near the previous intensity. By daylight it was pretty much all over.
As sleep was nearly impossible we decided to hold an impromptu party to celebrate the rare experience of passing through the eye of a cyclone.
As a tree had fallen across our driveway I couldn’t get out and about to inspect things until late afternoon and everyone else had the same idea.
There was surprisingly little structural damage to buildings but the trees in some places looked like they had been torn apart by something extremely violent.

Hearing some of the gusts the previous night I was not surprised but I was still shaking my head just looking at it.
On the marine side of things there was carnage at Shute Hbr which is open to the south with many vessels dragging their moorings into the mangroves or onto the beach.

As a lot of the vessels went ashore at the peak of the tide and storm surge, it will be problematical to refloat the larger ones and large cranes will need to be utilised.
Once the eye passed over and the wind switched direction any boats left in the bay were exposed to open sea and about half a dozen ended up on the bricks. As most of the shoreline around Airlie Beach is now sea wall these boats did not fare so well.

What you can’t see in this photo is that there is a smaller boat crushed between the large yacht and the rocks!
Power was out for about 40 hrs and is still out in some areas but things are slowly returning to some sort of normalcy. It is interesting how your life changes when you don’t have some of the things that you take for granted, like light,TV, internet and how quiet it gets! Similar to camping really.
The local council, SES and energy companies have worked their rings off to restore normal services as quickly as possible and deserve the fullest praise for their efforts!
I for one am glad it wasn’t a Cat 5!

Darwin Harbour

29 03 09 Darwin 001_edited-1 copy
This an mage I took while we were getting the boat ready for the season. These are a few of the Paspaley Pearl fleet that collect pearlshell for their farms. The largest of their vessels is huge mother of a multi-million dollar vessel that would not look out of place in St Tropez or Cannes! There is some serious money in pearls.
I was lucky that clouds arrived as a backdrop and set off the sunlit boats, others I had taken without the cloud were pretty average by comparison!