Thursday, December 28, 2017

Sunset over Marine Police Pier

A peaceful sunset over the Hong Kong Marine Police Pier. The small craft and crews of the Marine Police continue to make their patrols from early mornings throughout the night during the Holiday Season, as they have during the rest of the year, no matter what the weather.

Monday, December 11, 2017

View from the Boat Yard

We've had our boat, Watermark, hoisted out of the water at one of the small shipyards, repairing some minor damage from one of the typhoons and cleaning, recaulking, and resealing the hull. We've continued to stay aboard for the last few days, which has been another adventure in itself, but has offered new views of the activity in the Typhoon Shelter.

This one is from our top stern deck, looking directly across the channel to Ap Lei Chau Island. The new (now just 1 year old) MTR train bridge is to the right next to the Ap Lei Chau Highway Bridge. It's been fun to have this vantage point to watch the variety of the traffic of small boats and trawlers flowing past us as they make their way under the bridges.

If luck holds, we will have Watermark in the water and back to her home mooring tomorrow.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Ferry departing at sunset

One of the small fleet of private ferries heading out from its mooring at sunset.  It is passing a trawler moored along side the Marine Police Pier.  The trawler could possibly be impounded there for a violation or search / safety check.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Police Pier in the Typhoon Shelter

Hong Kong Marine Police small patrol craft and a "go fast" pursuit boat returning from patrol. Police Pier at sunset. Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, Hong Kong Island

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sunset over the Marine Police Pier

Hong Kong Marine Police Patrol Boat PL4 54 "Preserver", preparing for her evening patrol as the sun sets over the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, Hong Kong Island.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Week of Two Typhoons

Hong Kong has weathered two major typhoons within a week, Typhoon Hato at Signal 10+, and Typhoon Pakhar at Signal 8. In the Typhoon Shelter, we've seen waves breaking over the sea wall, debris from other boats flying through the air, sails and canvas awnings ripped away and carried by the wind. We've seen and felt boats swing about as hurricane strength wind gusts blew them into others, including ours. We've had temporary electrical power outages, and loss of fresh water. There have also been a few sleepless nights rocking and rolling, checking the typhoon's position, and getting up early mornings to make sure that all the ropes and lines were still secure and bilge pumps working. There have been a few days, because of the danger of winds, that there were no small sampans running to take us to shore if we had wanted to do that. But all and all, for Joanna, cats, and I, no serious problems, for which we are very grateful. We've come through the storms fine.

The storms have passed us, and unfortunately done more serious damage elsewhere, particularly Macau and coastal China. We've had messages from friends flying into and out of the Hong Kong airport who have had to cope with delays, or a more than usual exciting landing, but all that we know of have finally safely reached their destinations. We've not heard from anyone we know who has been injured or suffered serious property damage. Again, we are very grateful for this, as well.
It's still raining here, sometimes heavily, in the weather system following in the wake of Typhoon Pakhar, and grey skies still very grey. But Hong Kong is returning to normal, and its another working Monday for Joanna and I. For that we're grateful, too.

Thank you again to everyone who sent us your prayers, thoughts, and wishes for our safety. They always mean a lot to us. I do look forward to be able to see, really soon I hope, more blue skies and golden sunsets over the Typhoon Shelter and the Harbour. To those of you who may be going through your own severe weather where you are, particularly along the US Texas coast, I hope you will continue to be safe, and your blue skies and golden sunsets will return soon, too.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Typhoon Hato

Hong Kong has gone through its first Signal 10 Typhoon (the most severe rating) in the last five years, and the strongest I've experienced since living in Hong Kong. The worst is now over for the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, with Typhoon Hato moving away from Hong Kong, but still at Signal 8 strength. The storm was made worse by happening during an unusually high tide and storm surge. Joanna, cats, and I are ok.

We have just had shore electrical power restored, and the fresh water supply is being repaired (thanks to those out in the still heavy rain who have worked on this!). Several of our neighbor's boats have been damaged or lost their moorings in the storm. The boat we are tied up next to literally exploded its main cabin door and large window due to the hurricane force wind and atmospheric pressure changes, blowing debris across while I was checking our mooring lines on deck. Watermark has suffered some heavy damage to one of her mooring points, which will require a visit to the shipyard to repair, but fortunately with some jury rigging of rope we were able to keep her anchored and minimize her crashing into other boats. Very luckily for us, nothing more serious. Cats handled it well, with only a case or two of sea sickness.

We are thankful for the Typhoon Shelter's seawall, which for a major portion of the time was the only thing that stood between Watermark and crew and the Typhoon when directly south of us. Here are a couple of video clips shot by neighbors showing the waves of the South China Sea breaking against the sea wall as it held them back from the Typhoon Shelter and those of us in their path. We hope all of our friends and colleagues in Hong Kong, Macau, and South China are also safe and dry.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Search and Rescue in the Typhoon Shelter

Joanna and I both woke up at about 2:30 am this morning to the sound of helicopters making close
and repeated passes above the Typhoon Shelter.

This is invariably bad news, and cause for concern. It may mean that there is a fire on the hillsides of the peaks surrounding the Shelter, and the fire control helicopters are making water or chemical drops to try to suppress it, or hikers injured and in need of rescue. That there is a building fire at one of the shipyards or high rise condos on shore that may threaten to spread to Watermark and other boats. Or that a boat in the Shelter is on fire, with the possibility of exploding its gas canisters or fuel, or sinking. That there has been a collision of ferries or boats off shore that may sweep survivors or bodies onto the coast, the sea wall, or into the Shelter itself. That someone has fallen off the seawall, or a man overboard of one of the boats, or a suicide. There may have been smugglers trying to make their get-away from the Marine Police. Or even a response to the sounds of automatic gunfire.
All of these events have actually happened during our time in the Typhoon Shelter. All of these possibilities run through our minds as we hear the sounds in the darkest hours of the night and try to count the rotors.

So, after a sleepless night, the story today, reported in a Chinese language newspaper:
A very drunk gentleman decided that he could dive off of the Ap Lei Bridge (which connects Hong Kong Island to the island of Ap Lei Chau, and spans the Aberdeen Channel) and swim to the Jumbo Restaurant floating in the middle of the Typhoon Shelter. He then made his dive. He survived. He made the swim towards Jumbo. He survived. He told his rescuers "Thank you", but that three or four others had jumped off the bridge with him, how were they?

So there were not only the multiple helicopters we heard, but Marine Police Cutters and "go-fast boats", Fireboats, emergency Rescue and Recovery scuba divers, Hong Kong Police on shore, ambulances, and other emergency responders in a search and rescue attempt through the early morning hours to save the lives of his friends who had joined him in diving off of the bridge.
In reports this morning, it turns out that the others in the water were non-existent. Either his friends did not join him in his jump, or he only imagined he had friends who were willing to followed him off the bridge.

A much better ending to this morning's story than it could have been.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Last Typhoon Shelter Sunset Photo of 2016

Sunset over the Typhoon Shelter during the last week of Year 2016. While most of the evenings this week in Hong Kong have been overcast, this sunset from earlier in the week was one of the more spectacular I've seen this year. Wishing everyone a fun and safe New Year's Eve, and a Happy New Year  2017.