As foreshadowed in the previous edition, the weather turned ugly quickly.
After a pleasant lunch with a friend yesterday, I found myself driving through the Pass of Branda to Breaker Bay and Palmer Head. Against the dark sky, the incoming container ship, ANL Benalla made a striking contrast. At 28,270 Gross Tonnes and with a capacity of a mere 2,400 TEU she is a minnow on the world scale. Nevertheless, she was an impressive lump of steel moving steadily through the heads into port. Like all foreign-flagged vessels she was required to take a local pilot on board to navigate those fierce rocks. The pilot vessel, Spirit of Wellington, is a backup for the primary vessel, the Tarakena, and is shared with the Coastguard. As a “RIB” she is much lighter, and perhaps less comfortable than the larger vessel. Normally, having dropped the pilot, she would race back to the pilot base in the city and be there long before the ship berthed. With yesterday’s blustery wind, she was cruising slowly into port close astern of the Benalla, sheltering from the bumpy conditions on the water.
Across the water, the two lights of Pencarrow gleamed against the dark bones of the landscape. The original light house was built in 1859 and its first keeper, Mary Jane Bennett was the only woman ever to have been a lighthouse keeper in New Zealand. Because it was so often obscured by fog, it was replaced in 1906 by the lower lighthouse, and this in turn was replaced by the Baring head lighthouse in 1935.
The ANL Benalla continued its steady journey to its berth and was soon passing the sharp teeth at the end of Pt Dorset.
In the evening, conscious of a near empty bag, I spotted a rose that had passed its best. As a consequence, I had the old song “Delta Dawn” as an ear-worm for the remainder of the night.
No more today.
* Delta Dawn by Larry Collins and Alex Harvey