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In which I paddle a long way and ramble about ferries - Tactical Ninja

Apr. 7th, 2014

09:19 am - In which I paddle a long way and ramble about ferries

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Saturday was probably the nicest day we've had on a weekend since I bought Turtle. So I was up at 5am and on the water by 7. Because of daylight savings (which ended this weekend), it was just coming daybreak when I got my line in, and I'd been paddling maybe 5 minutes when WHAM! Fish. It was a good one, too, and I proceeded to play it like a pro, then drop it at the boat because I messed up with the landing net. Turns out using a landing net from a sitting position takes a bit of practice. Ah well, at least I know they're out there.

It was a lovely day for a paddle. I covered about 12km and only saw one other fish, a teeny blue cod that I put back. But I found, just off Lyall Bay, a large kelp forest with plants about 10m apart, just brushing the surface. The water there was about 14m deep and clear, and paddling through this was eerily beautiful, sort of dreamlike. Fishing may be my main aim, but just being out there and seeing what there is to see makes it worth it on the fishless days..


Because TAFKARF was over for a flying visit, and still days are so rare in Wellington that we had to go look at the Brooklyn wind turbine (that wasn't moving for the first time since I moved to Brooklyn). It's a nice view from up there.


Clicky to embiggen


If you look at the car in the foreground, you might notice that there's a bride and groom hanging out by the boot. They were taking romantic wedding pictures, and we found ourselves wishing we'd brought the monster suits so we could give them some pics to remember. *cough* Cos we're helpful like that.

Also in the pic, right in the centre and just in the water bit, is the place where I paddled to that morning. And to the right is one of the inter-island ferries coming in - the one whose propellor didn't fall off. Speaking of which, they found it in 130m of water. I wonder if they'll fish it up and put it back on?

For those not familiar with the story, the prop fell off the Aratere in the middle of a sailing back in November, putting one of the three Interislander ferries out of action over the busiest period of the year. There's another ferry service that operates two ferries on the same line, but they are much slower and can only carry roughly the same number of passengers as the Aratere between them.

So KiwiRail borrowed a boat - from Poland. It's the Stena Alegra, which was run aground in a storm in the Baltic Sea last year, but was apparently undamaged. It arrived in New Zealand and started service in mid-January, and promptly broke down. But it's working ok now, apparently.

I am getting close to the point where I can tell them all apart from a distance. The Stena Alegra has red bits on it and a huge ugly flying bridge, and the Straitsman and Santa Regina (Bluebridge boats) are painted blue. And while I can't spot the Arahura when it's sitting still, it's got such huge displacement that when it's moving I'm all "Oh shit here comes the wake!"

I mean, look at the bloody thing!



Ok in a kayak as long as you're not in shallow water, but this boat's wake breaks on the beach. I'm really glad they aren't running the Lynx* anymore, eh?


I think my Finnish Sentence of the Day creator may be a burner. Today's phrase: "Anteeksi, mutta missähän täällä on pallomari?" which means "Excuse me, but where would I find the ball pit?"

*ahem*

And either they are putting me crook, or there's a big difference between informal and Google translate (which I'll assume is formal) Finnish. GT tells me that you say that phrase "Anteeksi, mutta missä löytäisin pallomeri?"

Almost everything I've read says the Finnish will forgive quite a lot of mistakes because of being grateful that anyone bothered to try learning their language. I really hope so! ;-)

* Fast, twin-hulled ferry that could do the trip between Wellington and Picton in half the time of the old single-hulled boats, but kicked up a wake you could surf, and did damage to shorelines as it went past. Also, cost heaps and used loads of fuel and eventually died a death because of losing so much money.

Comments:

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From:bekitty
Date:April 6th, 2014 10:18 pm (UTC)
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Isn't that ferry the Kaitiaki, not the Arahura? I've only seen that one in service with the Stena Alegra, and haven't seen the Arahura for ages.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 6th, 2014 10:24 pm (UTC)
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Nope. Kaitaki has the funnel mounted behind the bridge/passenger bit, Arahura has it on top but towards the back. Also, as I said in my post, Arahura pushes a lot of water in front of it, Kaitaki doesn't.

Arahura is in service at the moment.
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From:bekitty
Date:April 6th, 2014 11:22 pm (UTC)
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Huh. I wonder why I can never see it on the live ships map, then. Maybe it's only in service over the weekend?
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From:tatjna
Date:April 6th, 2014 11:24 pm (UTC)
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No idea. I've only ever seen it on the weekend, but I am a self-selected group of 'only goes out on the water on the weekend' so that's probably not that helpful.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 6th, 2014 11:32 pm (UTC)
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SO I had a look around, and I found that Arahura was doing freight-only for a while in February after a lifeboat cable snapped, and last month it had to miss some sailings while they repaired a crack in the stern door.

And then last week it had some engine problems that resulted in delays.

I get the feeling they'll be hanging onto the Stena Alegra for a bit after the Aratere gets back in service, just so they can do some overhauling on the Arahura.
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From:fbhjr
Date:April 6th, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
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Very nice view!

I'd think it would be easier to recover the propeller than get a new one. But, I guess that depends on the condition of the bottom where it fell.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 6th, 2014 10:43 pm (UTC)
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True. I don't know a lot about the state of the bottom of Cook Strait, but if it's anything like the rest of the surrounding bits, I believe it could be described as 'foul ground'.

Also, Cook Strait has some nasty strong currents and can cut up rough very quickly.

*googles* OK, not only did they find it, turns out it's already been retrieved. They used a remote-controlled underwater vehicle to put strops round it and hauled it up. Neato!

Edited at 2014-04-06 10:43 pm (UTC)
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From:fbhjr
Date:April 6th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC)
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That big a chunk of metal I'm sure is worth saving if possible.
Not surprised they made the effort.
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From:t_c_da
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:16 pm (UTC)
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Surprise! Stuff reports they were putting the rudders back on in Singapore dry dock after fitting two new drive shafts for the props, and discovered the shafts that turn the rudders are also cracked...
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:17 pm (UTC)
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They are old boats, poorly maintained for many years. And we can't really do without them. I'd rather we spent the flag referendum money on upgrading the ferries tbh.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 01:09 am (UTC)
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You just like cats. Except the ones that try to kill you.

The first lot of sand that they shipped in from Takaka to Oriental Bay disappeared quicksmart. You could say it was storm action, or you could say it was the ferries. I don't know for sure, but I do know that whenever the Lynx went past, a beach that under normal circumstances only gets 20cm of lapping, was getting four foot breaking waves.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 07:04 am (UTC)
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The pier was there before they got the sand in.

And as I said, I am no expert on wake erosion. I am able to identify when a boat displaces shitloads more water than other boats do. I'm also wondering how using more fuel pet passenger is made up for by carrying more passengers per day. I guess in cashflow, but environmentally, not so much.

It was a pretty boat though, I'll give you that.
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From:t_c_da
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:21 pm (UTC)
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I'm surprised that hydrofoils haven't been tried across the strait. It's probably a lot more complicated here than in Sydney harbour where there's been a hydrofoil for some years now IIRC. (My knowledge of Aussie is getting sadly out of date these days...)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:26 pm (UTC)
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I'm gonna take a wild stab in the dark and suggest that hydrofoils may not be all that good when the sea's like this:



From what I understand, they are only as good as the hull can handle, and with that weight vs the way Cook Strait can be, I'd imagine they wouldn't reach safety standards for a passenger vessel.
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From:t_c_da
Date:April 8th, 2014 03:24 am (UTC)
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Point taken.

I guess Sydney Harbour on a bad day is probably about the same as Cook Strait on a good day.

And yes, I have been on the strait in that sort of weather, on the Aramoana in the early 80's when basically every passenger on board threw up - it wasn't pleasant...
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From:tatjna
Date:April 8th, 2014 03:27 am (UTC)
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I've never experienced a really rough crossing. I've been on a few where you'd hit both walls walking down a hallway, but that was more about big rollers than the kind of seas that'd make hydrofoils dangerous.
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From:crazedturkey
Date:April 7th, 2014 04:29 am (UTC)
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I was on that boat at the end of 2012. So happy to hear about it FALLING APART. lol.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 04:49 am (UTC)
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Hahaha, yeah. The Cook Strait ferries could be used in political studies classes as an example for why it's a bad idea to privatise state assets. The company that owns Interislander (NZ Rail) was privatised in the 1990s in the last big round of asset sales. The new owners ran it into the ground, and the NZ government had to buy it back in order for us to have a rail network at all.

Meanwhile, deferred maintenance has led to all sorts of problems with the infrastructure, the rolling stock, and the boats. But because the boats are so heavily involved in tourism, they are the ones that get in the news when bits fall off them. Sad story here.
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From:meathiel
Date:April 7th, 2014 07:17 am (UTC)
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That is a funny phrase to learn ... hehe ....

Love the view of Wellington ... so green ... (and blue!)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
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I am also currently learning a lot of things about the soccer world cup - like, "All I can hear is the sound of vuvuzelas!"

I'm sure it'll be useful someday..
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From:nessainwe
Date:April 7th, 2014 01:09 pm (UTC)
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What a lovely view in that first picture :)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
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Wellington has lots of pretty views. I guess because it's so hilly.
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From:meri_sielu
Date:April 7th, 2014 04:37 pm (UTC)
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I have to say I love the way you are learning Finnish, keeps the fun in! ;)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
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It really does - although I occasionally wonder how accurate what I'm learning is to what language is actually used in Finland. I get the feeling that the person who made the cards is Finnish, and uses a lot of slang/idiom/casual speech. I hope it's that anyway, and not just that I'm learning completely the wrong words..
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From:pundigrion
Date:April 17th, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Have you learned, "My hovercraft is full of eels" yet? xD
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