View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Saturday 24 April

Quite a nice day, although not with a lot of bright sunshine about. The mercury is going in the right direction, with a max of 13C this afternoon, making it feel much milder than earlier in the week.

Last night, we had the first indication that summer was on its way. The small cruiseliner Quest came into port just before sundown, and left at lunchtime today. The picture I took this afternoon was not very good, but she is a regular appearance at the start and the end of the cruiseliner season.

Today's excitement centered on the Condock II, the strange ship which has been in Glumag Harbour, directly opposite my position, for the past few days. It appears, so Hebrides News tells me, that this ship can pump water into tanks in its hold, lowering it into the water. As a result, it is like a floating dry-dock. When the stern doors are opened, water floods in and the barges that it has transported here can be taken out.

Which is exactly what happened earlier this evening. I noticed a flurry of activity, with a small tug in attendance and the stern doors of the Condock II open. With a lot of manoeuvering, choice language and tight squeezes the first barge was eased out of the ship and towed to one of the piers on South Beach. The whole exercise took about 45 minutes. I had taken up front row position by the Coastguard Station and later on Goat Island and gathered about 30 pictures of proceedings.

The barge

The tug

The tow

Emerging from the hold of the Condock II