One of the great losses in life, is free access to the ports of New Zealand.
I know that today the ports are subject to the same threats as airports. However, as a youngster at school, I recall wandering along the wharves in the Port of Auckland, beside ships unloading general cargo in those distant pre-containerisation days. There were no safety officers back then to be horrified at the idea of a school lid wandering among swinging loads, net slings full of chilled mutton carcasses, pallets laden with butter, inbound sacks full of mystery. There were the rough but kind-hearted watersiders who would “accidentally” put their hook into a sack of peanuts and reach in to give me a handful of nuts to munch on as I explored. There are very few spots from which to get close to working ships these days. Yesterday I found myself near the new ferry Strait Feronia. She is a handsome beast, of her kind.
The two trucks near her bow belonged to a commercial diving company, and from what I could see the divers were engaged in some problem solving near the foremost of her three bow thrusters. I watched the diver drop into the water from the wharf, then leave a trail of bubbles across to the thruster. From his hand-held camera he seemed to be transmitting live images back to his workmates by way of a large screen in the truck. After a while, he swam back with the camera in front of him.
Being a Ro-Ro ferry, most of her cargo consists of trucks which might contain almost anything. Among the trucks lined up for the next journey South was a low loader carrying a very solid-looking rubber-tyred log skidder, The next truck over had a wide-load tracked digger, but mostly the trucks were canvas-sided B-train rigs carrying wh knows what.
From there I went along to the lagoon at Frank Kitts Park and since the weather was a brilliant warm day, the bars and cafes were in full swing. A group of Hare Krishna devotees came through the crowds dancing, twirling, chanting drumming, and the crowd took scarcely any notice.
That’s all for now