Friday, 18 December 2015

Ships in the Sound

This is a good time of year for seeing the CalMac ferry fleet that serves the waters to the north of us as many are to-ing and fro-ing for their annual services while others are passing to cover for them in their absence. This is the Isle of Arran passing Ardmore Point light, a ferry which spends her summers sailing from Ardrossan to Campbeltown and her winters as a relief vessel.

There seem to be many fewer cargo ships in the Sound at this time of year, but this may be more to do with our ability to see them. With the short days and the often poor visibility, many ships pass un-noticed. This is the Dutch ship Eendracht en route to Aberdeen in fairly thick weather. Built in 2009, she's a mixed cargo ship with derricks so she can self-load, the type of ship which used to ply the oceans in their thousands but which almost became extinct with the invention of the container ship. And, no, sadly that isn't a sea eagle but a passing chaffinch.

The Vita is another ship which had almost crept past us before she was spotted and is another general cargo ship, but she differs from the Eendracht in that such ships tend to carry a single cargo. The Vita was on her way to Belfast. She sails under the flag of the Caribbean state of Antigua & Barbuda, and is a small ship, with an 88m length overall, a beam of 13m, and a gross tonnage of 2,497 tons.

This is the Lerwick-registered pelagic trawler Antarctic II, LK145, at 1,771 gross tons one of the larger trawlers to pass us and looking very smart in her green and white paint.

On one of this months occasional calm days, the Tobermory lifeboat was exercising in the middle of the Sound. Part of the exercise was to find and retrieve the buoy that can be seen on the left, dropped by another ship.

The Whalsa Lass is a specialist anchor handling tug and, according to her owners, Delta Marine, one of the most powerful in her class. Passing us on another fine day, she looked squat and purposeful.

This boat was pictured off Mingary Pier last Tuesday. Usually, the ship's name can be found either by enlarging the picture or from one of the AIS sites, but this time, other than that the second part of her name appeared to be Bay, both failed. She headed for the waters around the new fish farm at Maclean's Nose, but I'm told she wasn't working for Marine Harvest but that she may be involved in the installation of a wave power generator.

The Skog, which suffered engine failure off the Orkneys a few weeks ago - see post here - was just about visible when she passed us today in very mucky weather - photo taken at two in the afternoon. No wonder we miss seeing so many ships.

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