Haynes World - ships, ferries, a laugh on the ocean wave, and other interesting things...

24 August 2011

Summer 2011 Part 13 Hamburg

Summer 2011 Part 13
Happy in Hamburg

Saturday 16th July
After a plentiful breakfast on board CAP SAN DIEGO we set off down the long gangways

The Schaarhorn was just across the river

to the pontoon, and then across the old bridge with its newish roof covering. At the end was a little shop selling all sorts of souvenirs from the ship, which were hard to resist. When I think about buying Union-Castle Line goodies, I usually ask myself if I can wear it or use it; if the answer is no, then I probably won’t buy it. Today, I asked myself the usual question and ended up buying a rather lovely china mug, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the ship.

Just outside the shop was a sign set into the pavement, describing how the 3 funnel ships of yore used to come into Hamburg.

Quayside sign

There was a picture of one, with no name or date to be seen, obviously berthed just where we were standing, so I think that might be a good clue as to where the ARANDORA STAR might have berthed in August 1931 and 1932 when Father was working on there as an Assistant Engineering Officer. I took a few photos of the view this morning from the CSD deck. Father’s photograph includes one of the many churches and by checking his picture, I think I can identify it as St. Nicholas’s Church which is quite distinctive. Nowadays just the outer walls and spire of the church are intact and much-visited.

Hamburg in 1931 and 1932

Possibly the same view

As a first-time visitor to this city I was happy to walk to a wonderful bookshop, which also sold ship models – the Galerie Maritim. What a glorious place that turned out to be, as the 3 of us spent a very happy time there and the usual ‘wear it or use it’ question had to be put to the back of my mind when looking at the hundreds of 1:1250 models for sale in the glass cabinets. Conversation with the proprietors naturally covered all our favourite ships and shipping lines, and some of our favourite maritime authors too: Anthony Cooke, Bruce Peter and William Mayes (when is his next book due out, they asked) and Les Streater. I left the shop clutching a small bag – I seem to be a new addict… Oh well, I was warned.

The next bookshop we went to had a maritime section, so that was interesting too. I found a box of old photographs and when I started looking through them the young lady behind the counter asked if she could help with anything in particular. I smiled and said I wondered if she had any photographs of the ARANDORA STAR in the 1930s in Hamburg, and showed her one of Father’s photographs. She said she had more pictures in the back room and went to look for them. She re-appeared a short while later and handed me two black and white photographs of Father’s ship said to be taken in the early 1930s in Hamburg. They were obviously not taken at the same time, as her masts are different in the two pictures as are her forward arrangements.

Arandora Star arriving in Hamburg

The ship in Hamburg

One photograph had the name of Wolfgang Fuchs of Hamburg printed on the back. I was so astonished and of course I bought them. Life takes extraordinary turns, doesn’t it? I think this morning we all realised that Hamburg just loves its ships and shipping, and it is truly a maritime city to enjoy.

One of my chums had to catch a train after lunch so we saw him off safely at the Hauptbahnhof, and took a train ourselves to go to Wedel and the Welcome Point. Of course, as it was a weekend there was the inevitable engineering work on the line which meant we had to get a replacement bus (coo, it’s just like home) from Blankenese and then walk to Welcome Point. It is obviously a very popular place to visit and enjoy the café, restaurant or snack bar; we decided not to visit the ‘Ship in a Bottle Museum’, but did enjoy sitting on benches built in front of a long mural which we had seen from the HALUNDER JET yesterday. We waited in the warm sunshine to see several ships and hear the music.

Team Lines' Tina

Grimaldi's Grande Francia

The journey home was the expected walk, bus and train, followed by dinner in the city,

Restaurant toilet sign

Interesting thought, but NO.

and a soiree on deck to complete the day.

Ships seen: Transvaal Castle, Capetown Castle, Reina del Mar, S. A. Oranje (OK, they were models but what a collection they came from!), Grande Francia, Apollo, Tina, Lion King Ferry and lots of other ferries of all shapes and sizes.

To be continued…

Summer 2011 Part 12 Cap San Diego

Summer 2011 Part 12
Cap San Diego in Hamburg

Saturday 16th July

My cabin on this hotel ship was very comfortable, and I slept well. Unfortunately I heard all the party-goers leaving the hired rooms along the end of my cabin corridor and walking past me very noisily. I think all the empty beer bottle crates were taken out too, along the same route. Ah well, when I went to the tea-making tray beside the television and found a good selection of tea, I also saw two packets of ear-plugs, so now I know why they were there!

The sun was shining on the water so I was soon out on deck and able to take pictures with no-one else around, on this beautiful summer’s morning. I was to meet my two chums at 9 a.m. for breakfast in the Bord-Bistro so I had time to explore in the sunshine the few areas available inside the ship and the outside decks.

Lovely woodwork

CAP SAN DIEGO was built in 1961, so this is her 50th anniversary year. She started life as a freighter designed in Hamburg and built for the Hamburg-Sud shipping company by Deutsche-Werft, and sailed regularly from Hamburg to South America, with a gross tonnage of 9998. Eventually she was sold on and finally returned to her home port in 1986 to be used as a Maritime Monument from 1987, bought by the Hanseatic City of Hamburg (http://www.capsandiego.de). Parties, conventions and events are held on board and every summer she also makes daytime trips with passengers on board.

Outside deck space

The Bridge

Certificate of Class

Chart room

Two sextants

Surprise occupant!

Looking forward

Bridge wing

View from the Bridge

Masts and gear

Covered pool

Hatch cover

Looking aft

And up I go on the fo'cs'le deck

As far forward as I can

Looking aft at the shear

I enjoyed seeing what I could, and looking out at the Hamburg maritime city. One of Father’s photographs was ever in my mind, as I wanted to try and identify where his ship had berthed when he was here in August 1931 and I think it must have been more or less where I am now. After breakfast we plan to go ashore and enjoy some of the sights so I may find out more then.

Hamburg picture postcard

To be continued…

21 August 2011

Summer 2011 Part 11 Heligoland to Hamburg

Part 11
Heligoland to Hamburg

Friday 15th July
So we three reluctantly made our way back to the HALUNDER JET. We boarded and this time our seats were on the upper deck in Comfort Class, with free tea, coffee or juices available. I noticed that one small area had a covered rail and coat hangers for Comfort Class passengers. I also noticed that the front rows of seats had seat belts fitted to them, presumably to be used in certain conditions. I imagine they were worn this morning. Again, food was available to order with table service. The sun was still shining and at 4.30 p.m. the crowded vessel pulled away from Heligoland, after an unforgettable visit!

Ships and route

Halunder Jet ready for boarding

After a few minutes we realised that the First Officer had been right about the weather and sea conditions for the part of our journey to Cuxhaven, and we all felt a lot happier.

Calmer seas

This time the journey took the scheduled 1 hour and 15 minutes, and the disembarking passengers were soon off the ship and the new ones on, under sunny and breezy conditions.

Weather signs at Cuxhaven

We stayed on board of course as we were to continue to Hamburg for the two and a half hours journey. Cuxhaven is on the south side of the River Elbe so we went out on the stern deck this time to watch us enter the wide River.

Unknown ship

Tug Vogelsand

Ark Futura

We could also see VISTAMAR at her berth and then watch her leave to sail north again. At last I was able to get a good photograph of her in sunshine.


As we left Cuxhaven we were able to move to the empty front row seats which we had booked originally, so that was lucky.

As the river narrowed very slightly we had to keep within the marked buoys, and of course slow down when nearing other vessels, whatever their size. On the port side we soon approached the western end of the Kiel Canal, at Brunsbuttel, and could see the start of the locks. Goodness, some of Father’s photos were taken eighty years ago when he came through the Canal to here, on the ARANDORA STAR. One of his photos is of him and some others sitting inside the edge of the ship’s funnel, going through the Kiel Canal, so it must have been the dummy funnel! One day I hope to do that journey myself – one day.

The River Elbe wound its way round a slim island in the middle, and then we approached and stopped at Wedel Point – the Welcome Point.

Welcome Point

Coming alongside at Wedel

It was a daily stop for the HALUNDER JET (three hours from Heligoland) and exciting for us: every time a ship passed the Point in daylight a piece of music was played over the loudspeakers, appropriate to the nationality of the ship. We dropped our passengers off, picked up the new ones, and as we left we heard a stirring piece of German music, which lasted for several minutes. Apparently the man who owns the Restaurant and Café there has a CD collection of about 300 national anthems or similar and tries to play the appropriate one for each vessel that passes. Some ships acknowledge this with a whistle, some just ignore it, but the rest of us are perfectly happy and amused. There is a list of expected vessels and their passing times on a notice board in the grounds.

Soon we came to the A380 Airbus factories on the south side of the river. Planes fly in to be fitted out here, and in fact we could see an AIRBUS SKYLINK plane beside the factory, with several others being completed. That reminded me that I saw a RORO vessel in Palermo recently which had the AIRBUS sign on the side of it, and was carrying parts for the aircraft. We also saw the Blohm & Voss ship repair yards as we neared Hamburg. All along the riverside we could see secluded homes tucked into the hillside woods, and frequent sandy beaches on the north side which were being enjoyed by many people.

We finally came in sight of Hamburg city and this reminded me of a couple of Father’s photographs as he approached it on the ARANDORA STAR in 1931. He could see some docks on one side, (and now I’m home I have scanned the photo in case anyone can recognise the funnel markings of the ship in the picture).

Hamburg docks 1931

and railway lines and railway wagons on the other side,

Approaching Hamburg 1931

as well as several church spires. This was the end of our trip, as the sun was sinking in the west.

Halunder Jet

The sky was finally clear and the light golden as we approached the quayside. Just ahead of us was our final destination of the day: the CAP SAN DIEGO.

Cap San Diego

We had booked to stay on board her, as yet another ship experience, and it took us only a few minutes to walk along the quayside, across an old bridge that had obviously been updated at some point, and onto the pontoon leading to our hotel ship.

Welcome on Board

We checked in, paid for our cabins, and enjoyed the thought that we were on board our third ship of the day.

My cabin 206

My bunk

My cabin 206 was spacious, with a view over the starboard side to the water, city spires, buildings and ships moored along the other pontoons. It was disappointing to discover that no food or drink was available on board, other than breakfast in the morning, so we had to leave our cabins and go ashore for a light meal. The public rooms on the ship are available for hire, and we could see people in those rooms, which were then locked up when they left. Why does this sound familiar? Ah well, I was in Hamburg for the very first time and staying on an hotel ship and looking forward to my weekend in the city.

Ships seen: Dublin Express, MSC Joy, Atlantis, 2 DFS freighters, Funny Girl, Lady von Busum, Amaranth, Grandi Napoli, Vistamar,Pilot ship and Mother Pilot Ship, Delta Hamburg, Juyul tanker with an Arabic name too, Anne Ehler (small feeder container), Euro Snow, Finn Breeze, Emma, PAL Line Trans Odin, Ever Eagle, D S Agility from Monrovia), Marie Fresno (Dutch sailing vessel), harbour ferries, Marstan, Ragna, Kristin Schepers, Cap George, City of Beirut in the floating dry dock, MSC Charleston, several other ships in the docks, Cap San Diego hotel ship.

To be continued…