Friday, February 12, 2010


I retreated from the western end of the sound when the swell started to build and had a close look at the sqare riggger at anchor in the sound. She is looking a little tired and needs a lick of paint but although a cruise ship I think I would like to be aboard when they make full sail and the captain says "Finished with engines"

At first I thought it might have been a conversion but a little internet research shows her to be purpose built and what a job they had. The skills needed for the masts and rigging is mostly gone but piece by piece, boat and shipbuilders, welders, turners and smiths in across Europe produced the complete upright and running gear – a bewildering and fascinating mixture of more than 13 miles of rope, steel wire and plastic cable. In the meantime, a sail maker in Poland produced 24 new sails and the masts were built at a Spanish shipyard.

Making sail is a labour intensive operation and while the crew has some powered winchs a lot of it is done the old fashioned way.

Any readers of this blog and people who know me realise that a cruise ship holiday is not something I desire but I would like to stand on deck and look up at that cloud of sails and hear the creaking of the rigging. It is as close as anyone can get nowadays to a tea clipper racing for the channel from the orient with a cargo of Earl Gray.

This is taken from their online brochure.

Back to the mundane I was polishing the brightwork in the cockpit when a tender from a nearby megayacht went past and I heard some one say " Oh look Elephants Child, what a strange name!" Now I don't mind, after all it is a little funny, but I am pretty sure they came from this boat.

All this polishing raised a sweat so I dinghied off and managed to find a spot away from the big breaking waves and came across a shoal of these strange and somewhat miss shapen fish but elegant little fish.

I need to get a fish book and look them up.


  1. Try www.photographers look under reef fish stock

  2. Looks like they were baby spotted drums. The behaviour quoted was exactly what I saw, a small shoal of maybe 25 all swimming back and forwards across a patch of coral and providing a I did not move suddenly I was ignored so I got pretty close.

    Yet to see an adult though. Fooled me to begin with as the babies only have stripes!

  3. Thats is a spotted juvenile drum fish.
    I love cleaning stations but you need a lot of patience to get close. When you have a big fish with cleaning shrimp and fish darting in and out of their mouths you don't want to surprise him as he might decide to have a dinner as he leaves.