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Gold Class Seats and the Norwegian Star

The sandy perimeter of Port Phillip Bay is transformed into a natural amphitheatre on sunny evenings as thousands of residents and holiday makers drag their chairs onto the beach to watch the unfolding drama. The lighting is usually spectacular and moody, heat haze softening the detail of looming vessels, late afternoon sun turning the ripple of a ship’s wash into a flash of diamonds, while lone paddle board rowers or frisbee throwers appear as blackened puppets in a Wayang show. The vast expanse of water and sky are a Cyclopean back drop. Let the show begin.

Paddle Board rower or Wayang Puppet? The Norwegian Star in teh background.
Paddle Board rower or Wayang Puppet? The Norwegian Star in the background.

Enter the crippled Norwegian Star, a cruise boat that had left Melbourne Port the preceding Thursday, now being pulled and guided along by two tug boats. The Norwegian Star became stranded at sea due to a malfunctioning propeller system. As the ship was still only 30 kilometers from Wilson’s Promontory, Melbourne’s famous heroes, the tug boats, came to the rescue. The movement across Port Phillip Bay took more than 10 hours as the audience raised a glass, stubby or binoculars from the comfort of their gold class seats. A tragedy in slow motion.

Bay Show
Bay Show

The crippled ship assumes the shape of a glowing white ingot as it turns the corner at Mt Martha on its slow journey back to port. The cruise ship, with its 3000 passengers, has been saved by the powerful little tugs.

The Norwegian Star on its journey back to Melbourne
The Norwegian Star on its journey back to Melbourne

Another creature enters stage left, a dark, elongated and slightly menacing container ship, the Hyundai. The sky blackens: the sea turns turquoise.

Another ship enters the stage from the left.
Another container ship enters the stage from the left.

This sleek, fast-moving character is transformed into a comic figure as it moves off into the distance; the lighting changes once again, as the Hyundai becomes a colourful Humpty Dumpty or a cubist cupcake on the horizon, precariously balancing its load.

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The Hyundai as cupcake
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Pull up a chair, and let the show begin.

14 thoughts on “Gold Class Seats and the Norwegian Star”

  1. Well, this surely was a far better coverage on the unfortunate incident than I managed to garner from TV reports at a time of breathlessly waiting for our interminable record-breaking heatwave to end and bushfires to keep away . . . methinks it was a very lucky happening in that the liner was so close to land and in calm conditions . . . the ending could have been vastly different. I love river cruises but dislike being on the wide, open sea. No feeling of boredom or being hemmed in: I just always seem to draw cyclonic conditions and fear, real fear has permeated me on more than one occasion 🙂 !

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    1. do they know what they are talking about, hell no.
      I have cruised every ocean, way back in the sixties [cruising to Europe on the migrant ships]. freighters across the Atlantic, Alaska. be cruising end of April on this very same Liner, Greek Islands. it is the atmosphere, and great companionship. great dining, have one too many, just make it back to your cabin [with some help?]

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  2. An enjoyable perspective and read. Tugboats really are amazing vessels, and the cruise and container ships certainly look preposterous tottering on top of the water, but I must say that this is the first time I’ve heard one compared to a cupcake. Nice.

    Liked by 1 person

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