10 September 2008
sunset on the Bay of Fundy / the itty-bitty digi-camera i have grudgingly agreed to strap to myself / Brantford, Ontario by night / CAT ferry
For a long time I wouldn't bring a camera with me when I travelled, even if I was going to the Pyramids or the Petronas Towers or Antarctica. Just as I was about to take the train from Toronto to Winnipeg to Hudson Bay (in polar bear season), a woman realized I had no camera, and went totally ballistic, and forced her camera on me. And that was cool, I got some snaps that were pretty damn spiffy.
But the deal is, I think almost all the time a camera is just a big clumsy complicated machine that weighs a lot and is awkward and cumbersome and gets in the way of what I'm trying to grok with just my eyeballs and my brain, so that I can hose in not so much The Thing Itself, but what The Thing Itself looked like and meant to me when I saw it. And the way I subsequently remember it.
Local postcards, on the other hand -- now here's a guy or a woman who set up in front of the Cathedral for three days with a very expensive big camera and tripod and light meter and lenses and color filters.
This photographer captures the local soul, essence and meaning of The Taj Mahal or Angkor Wat, and the final tourist postcard emphasizes what the local folks want to ballyhoo to the world about the Scenic Wonder.
A local postcard is a Lure, a Seduction, to wind up in a mailbox in Topeka, Kansas USA, and suddenly smash the recipient in the brain with an Obsession to travel two-thirds of the way around the planet (he isn't a very experienced traveller) because now he must see the Thing ballyhooed on the haunting, evocative Postcard from Far Away.
I buy all the prettiest local tourist postcards. My favorite is the above postcard from a town in Ontario. You can put jokes in a postcard. I can't put many jokes in my travel photographs. In Stockholm I bought a 50-cent postcard of Kroninprinsess Viktoria and have been profoundly smitten by Her Royal Highness ever since. I told this to a Swedish guy, and he said, "Take a number."
(In most monarchies, getting lucky with so august a royal personage is considered High Treason, in England it used to get you drawn and quartered. Be careful whom you date.)
Well, anyway, I finally got Rational and agreed to wander through this world with a little digital camera strapped to my belt. At an electronics store in Willemstad, Curacau, a salesman superhighpressured me into buying the itty-bitty Konika PhD (Push Here, Dummy). It has everything. It does everything. Back home, the photos always turn out amazingly pretty and high-class. And it's about the size of a belt pager. It's got a quite powerful telescopic zoom.
Stores a gazillion photos (or takes a short movie). Communicates fairly easily and straightforwardly to the desktop computer through a cable.
When the Sunset over the Bay of Fundy began, a murmur ran through the CAT jet ferry passengers, and a little crowd formed at the starboard bow. Cameras began clicking. My efforts were immediately noticed because my flash kept flashing; another passenger politely approached and helped me turn off the Auto-Flash, because the flash would get me all-red snapshots of my flash reflecting off the glass window. There's a shitload of sophisticated features in the dingus' software, most of which I am wholly ignorant about.
On this crossing I've seen spouting whales, probably humpbacks. (cf. earlier post about Annapolis Royal Tidal Generating Plant's trapped whale Sluice.) The high-speed jet engine CAT ferry (built in Australia, I think) has a casino of about 50 slot machines. (The old big slow Yarmouth-Portland ferry had blackjack and roulette with a human dealer and croupiere; this casino is entirely self-serve, but an attendant wanders around to keep players happy.)
There are several kinds of seating -- comfy plush airline-style reclining seats, and cafeteria-style tables and chairs, with about 3 snack bars. Several television screens, three movie areas, one especially for children.
You can step outside at the stern -- great view of the long, white ship's wake -- but you can't access the outdoors at the bow. I carried Gravol with me, but didn't need it; a very smooth crossing.
I asked, but the CAT ferry offers no bridge tour. One fellow who'd seen the bridge says it's a bit spooky, the ship is steered by a joystick and the instrumentation resembles a high-tek video game. A few accidents a few years ago led to an agreement between the ferry operator and the US and Canadian coast guards calling for an extra bridge officer on duty for each sailing.
Builder: Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd.
Class Society: Det Norske Veritas
Clarification: DNV +1A1 HSLC R1 Car Ferry "B" EO
[I think they mean "Classification.]
Length Overall: 97.22m
Length Waterline: 92.00m
Beam overall: 26.60m
Beam of Hulls: 4.50m
Draft: 3.42m maximum
Speed: 36 knots @ 750 tonnes deadweight
... & 40 knots @ 375 tonnes deadweight
* Note – All speeds quoted at 100% MCR (4 x 7080kw @ 1030 rpm) and excluding T-foil.
Maximum Deadweight: 750 tonnes
Passenger Capacity: 900
Vehicle Capacity: 240
Design: Two slender, aluminum hulls connected by a bridging section with center bow structure at fwd end. Each hull is divided into nine vented, watertight compartments divided by transverse bulkheads. Two compartments in each hull prepared as short-range fuel tanks and one as a long-range fuel tank. Welded and glued aluminum construction using longitudinal stiffeners supported by transverse web frames and bulkheads.
Air Conditioning: Yes
Evacuation: Escape is via Four Marine Evacuation Stations, two port and two starboard, and two external stairs aft. The two forward MES serve a total of 200 persons each, the two mid MES serve a total of 200 persons each and one aft stair serving 100persons. A total of ten 100 persons rafts are fitted. 2 x SOLAS inflatable dinghy with 30 hp motor and approved launch/recovery method.
Main Engines: 4 x resiliently mounted Ruston 20RK270 or Cataerpillar 3618 marine diesel engines, each rates at 7080kw.
Water Jets: 4 x Lips 120E waterjets configured for steering and reverse.
Transmission: 4 x Reintjes gearboxes, approved by the engine manufacturer, with reduction ration suited for optimum jet shaft speed.
Hydraulics: Three hydraulic power packs, one forward and two aft, all alarmed for low level, high temperature and filter clog and low pressure. One pressure line filter an two return line filters fitted. An off-line filter/pump provided.
Ride Control: A "Maritime Dynamics" active ride control system is fitted to maximize passenger comfort. This system combines active trim tabs aft and optional fold-down T-foil located at aft end of center bow fitted with active fins. The structural abutment, electrical and hydraulic services to receive the forward T-foil will be fitted as standard to the vessel.