If you’re expecting photos of Brisbane and the surrounding area, you’ll be disappointed, I’m afraid.
At 2:30 a.m. we approached Moreton Bay, a large number of ships were at anchor, waiting their slot for berthing and the opportunity to work cargo. We, however, being the floating palace that we are, had precedence and took our pilot on arrival.
It’s almost 50 miles from where he embarked to our berth on the Brisbane river. The first section of the transit consists of weaving our way through the sandbanks until we then reach a dredged channel leading us into the river itself.
First past the Container berth and then coal berths (or ‘black gold’ as it is referred as, here in Oz), then tanker berths until we are, basically, on our own. The channel twists and turns and is extremely narrow for a vessel this size; compounding this is a strong tidal current.
Negotiating these twists and turns, passing small anchored boats and marinas, we are careful to adjust our speed. As a ship transits a narrow channel, the water it displaces has to rush back in, the faster the speed the faster the water is replaced; basically, a small tidal wave can follow, if the speed is too high. Thus we keep our speed down to 5-6 knots, this makes handling the ship more challenging, however it prevents us ‘wiping out’ the entire boat community on the Brisbane river.
Finally, we have to pass under a bridge; this has a clearance of 57 metres in the centre, we have a height, (or ‘air draft’) of 48 metres, no problemo, providing you get it dead centre, otherwise it will involve a great deal of report writing and explanations as to why we have lost our funnels. 😳
The cruise terminal can take ships our size, thankfully. Any larger and one is marooned on a ‘terminal’ (aka general cargo berth), several miles down-river. There is a turning area, for we have to back in to the berth and there is a strong flood current. By the time we had swung, we had carried down about 100 metres just because of the effect of that current and then it was a matter of allowing the Amsterdam to slide towards the berth while counteracting the current’s effect.
Alongside at 8 a.m. (and after several cups of coffee), our guests depart for various tours involving ‘panoramic’ Brisbane, beaches and cuddling Koala bears.
This is why I have few photos, for a rest beckoned after such an early morning and frankly, there wasn’t a great deal in our immediate vicinity to take photos of, (unless you like photos of apartment blocks. 😉
As I write, on the 15th, we entered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Sanctuary border about 2 hours ago. We have a GBR pilot with us, (compulsory) and he will stay with us through to Papua New Guinea, as Australia still has some jurisdiction there. Contrary to what most believe, we cannot actually see the reefs all the time, they are underwater and if one were to not know, it would appear to be open ocean.
Tomorrow, I am making a detour and we will be cruising through the Cumberland Islands and Whitsunday Passage and all being well, there should be some photo opportunities.