These may be some of the most expensive and physically painful images I have ever acquired.
Over the weekend, the New Zealand Jetsport Nationals were held at Oriental Bay. These are the people who race jetskis. A news item on television reported that some nearby residents were aggravated by the expected noise. In my opinion, even the most muscular class was sufficiently well muffled and far enough away that there could be no complaint.
For my part, however, the day turned to tragedy. Laden with both heavy cameras, big lenses and a tripod, I was picking my way along a kerb looking at where I wanted to set up. I missed my footing and went “base over apex”, landing on top of my precious equipment. The stupid thing is that the difference in height between the two surfaces was about 5 cm. I can tell you that the fall was not kind to the cameras or me. Two cameras and a big tripod don’t make a soft landing pad. One lens is definitely damaged and won’t stay on the camera. Most other damage was superficial. The damage to me was likewise superficial though painful at the time. I was led bleeding and disorganized to the paramedics from Wellington Free Ambulance who were there in case of accidents. They kindly washed and dressed the abrasions and I was able to get on with it.
Despite the bright afternoon sun, conditions were excellent for dramatic images and I just had fun, almost forgetting the stinging knees knuckles and elbows. Glittering white spray against green water was quite spectacular.
I think these machines cost well in excess of $20,000, but they are obviously robust and powerful, and the riders take a fair hammering as they bounce around on the choppy conditions that prevailed on the harbour yesterday. They seem capable of full immersion even if briefly, and race on unchecked. No wonder the riders wear leathers and spinal support.
The images were helped by the bright fluorescent buoys that marked out the extremely complicated event course.
My chosen perch was on a concrete pier at the Western end of Oriental Bay, just a metre or so above the water, and the spray and wake seemed perilously close at times. As you can see they push a fair volume of water to one side.
There were other things happening on the harbour, but I found it hard to take my eyes off the racing. I made an exception when the min-cruise liner Hanseatic was moved from the cruise terminal on Aotea Quay to a berth at Queens Wharf. It is very unusual for a cruise ship to change locations during a stay. She must be amongst the smallest cruisers that call here at just over 8,300 Gross Tonnes. She has a crew of 125 to care for a mere 184 passengers. That suggests a high level of pampering.
That’s all for today. No long lens shots for a few weeks.