Saturday, 15 June 2013

The historic coal-fired tugboat/icebreaker S.S. Bjørn approaching its home port Helsingør

A classic steamship in action is always a nice sight. Watching the beautifully restored, over 100 years old  tug/icebreaker S.S. Bjørn approach and enter its home port Helsingør late this afternoon was a particular pleasure.

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Hittarp reef

The Hittarp Reef is one of my favorite spots in the neighborhood. Out on the reef you have a feeling of standing in the middle of the Sound, surrounded by a constantly changing environment.

Here are a few of my " reef observations" from today:

Cargo ships Falkland Cement (left) and Sterno passing Kronborg castle in rather windy weather.
A kite surfer in action at the reef.

Part of the action happens in the air.

A common shelduck.
A crow passing by.
The Kulla Gunnarstorp castle is clearly visible from the reef.
The Falkland Cement on its way northwards in the  Sound.

The MS Emerald Princess on its way to Oslo

The MS Emerald Princess (290 m x 36 m) was tonight going northwards in the Sound on its way from Copenhagen to Oslo. The ship is one of the largest in the Princess fleet, and has accomodation for 3080 guests. The number of crew is 1200. 

The Emerald Princess in Øresund on June 14, 2013.
The Emerald Princess a  couple of minutes earlier.

MS Crystal Serenity - The third cruise ship to visit Helsingborg this season

The 250 m x 32 m Crystal Serenity, here approaching a grey Helsingborg early this morning,  offers accommodation for 1070  passengers in 535 cabins/suites. From Helsingborg the ship continues to Copenhagen in the late afternoon.

MS Crystal Serenity is the third - and most luxurious - cruise ship to visit Helsingborg this season. The Serenity and the Crystal Cruise's other ship, the MS Crystal Symphony, are highly rated in the luxury segment of the cruise market:

Beyond the company's innovative programming and ship features, it has one of the industry's highest passenger-to-staff and passenger-to-space ratios, and, perhaps not coincidentally, one of the most loyal repeat passenger bases afloat. There's a huge positive to Crystal's biggest-ships-in-luxury-class status as well; there are simply far more options, in terms of entertainment, socializing, casinos, spa and fitness facilities, activities and enrichment opportunities, than there are on its smaller luxury brethren. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Classic cruise ship MS Delphin and cargo ship Hagland Boss in the Sound

The MS Delphin and cargo ship Hagland Boss in Øresund on June 13, 2013.

The 157 m x 22 m MS Delphin was the second classic cruise ship in the Sound tonight. The ship, which was built already in 1975, passed the small cargo ship Hagland Boss (81 m x 13 m) soon after Helsingborg/Helsingør.

Classic cruise ship MS Braemar on its way to Gothenburg

MS Braemar passing Hittarp at about 8.15 PM on June 12, 2013. The ship was on  its way from
Copenhagen to Gothenburg.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' MS Braemar is one of the small number of classical cruise ships still in active service. The 196 m x 28 m ship was built in 1993, and has before it joined the Fred. Olsen fleet sailed as Crown Dynasty, Cunard Crown Dynasty, Crown Majesty and Norwegian Dynasty.

The Fred. Olsen Cuise Line has a reputation for offering excellent value-for-money to its mainly 60 + UK clientele.

Are reefers becoming an "endangered species"?

The classic reefer Andalucia Star (159 m x 24 m) in Øresund on June 10, 2013.

Reefers could become an "endangered species". During the last few years there has been a shift away from conventional reefers in favor of containers ships, when it comes to export of fruits. The maritime refrigerated container fleet grew by a record 13% during 2011, according to a study by Dewry Maritime Research In 2006 the world fleet of maritime refrigerated containers consisted of 1,377,00 units. By 2011 it had reached 2,048,000 containers. 

However, not everything is doom and gloom for the traditional reefers:

Ole Schack Petersen, Global Head of Perishables at Damco, says there is still a place for break bulk reefer shipping. 

"It all depends on the type of trade you are talking about and whether or not the ship is filled," he explains. "The economy of scale - particularly in relation to seasonal trade - often benefits the reefer vessels, as they can more easily swing in and out of seasons."

Pictures from the Kullaberg Nature Reserve

The Kullaberg Nature Reserve is always worth a visit. These photographs are from last Sunday:

The Kullen lighthouse.
Visitors' facilities at Kullaberg.
Cliffs, seen from the lighthouse.
A summer cottage among the cliffs.
A view to the north from the lighthouse.
The classic seaside resort Mölle, seen from Kullaberg.

Cunard's Queen Victoria on a grey evening

Queen Victoria in Øresund on June 12, 2013.

Last night Cunard's Queen Victoria (293 m x 32 m) passed Helsingborg/Helsingør on its way from Copenhagen to Kristiansand, Norway. Let's hope the weather in Kristiansand is a bit less gray than it was here yesterday ...

Swedish shipyards in the early 1920s

Slipway at Bergsunds mek. verkstad in Stockholm.

Sweden was until the the 1960s one of the world's leading shipbuilding nations. Shipbuilding was considered to be on of  the nation's basic industries. However, following an extensive crisis in the 1970s, an entire industry was more or less wiped out. Today no merchant vessels are being built in Sweden. The few existing shipyards are mainly dealing with repair and maintenance.

Map of Swedish shipyards in 1921.  (Symbols indicate  number of  workers).

In the beginning of the 1920s, there were about 100 shipyards in Sweden employing close to 16000 workers (without counting the two naval yards). In the preceding year these shipyards had built a record number of ships; 32 steamships, 35 motor ships and 11 sailing ships. 

The pictures on this page are from this early heyday of the Swedish shipbuilding industry.

Öresundsvarvet in Landskrona.
Dry dock at Öresundsvarvet.
Finnboda shipyard in Stockholm.
The Helsingborg shipyard.
Interior from the Götaverken shipyard in Gothenburg.
Another interior from Götaverken. 
A large wooden ship being built at the Västervik new shipyard.
A floating dry dock at Finnboda varv in Stockholm.
The icebreaker Thor II launched at Bergsunds mek. verkstad. 
A floating dock at Götaverken in Gothenburg. The ship is the Swedish America  Line's S/S Drottningholm.
A concrete barge built at the Marinbetong shipyard in Nyköping. 
A general view of the Götaverken shipyard in Gothenburg.

(Source: Sveriges Sjöfart, Hasse W. Tullbergs Förlag, 1921.)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

An interview with L.N. Tolstoy in 1905

The only known color photograph of Tolstoy. (Yasnaya Polyana, 1908).
(image by wikipedia)
In its March 5, 1905 issue, the Swedish weekly Hvar8 Dag published an interview with
Count Lev Nikolayevich (Leo) Tolstoy. The Swedish interviewer, who used the pseudonym Oleg, had met Tolstoy at his Yasnaya Polyana estate in the Tula region.

Below is a selection of Tolstoy's views, as published in the interview:

On Sweden and Swedes

”Oh, you are Swedish, I have always been interested in Sweden, and you may know that one of my sons is married to a Swede; for the time being, he is living in St. Petersburg. But do you know, what has saddened me, is that also in your country people have more and more began to spend their energy on armaments. The blame for all this goes to the insane patriotism, and the governments, which incite peoples against each other.”

On small nationalities

”I feel a deep sympathy for all these small and subdued nationalities, Poles, Finns, Armenians and others. Their cause is right, and their fate has always grieved me.”

On Maxim Gorky

”I cannot say that I admire him as much as is fashionable now. Of course, he is not without talent, but he has not built himself a stable world view, which one would like to find in a writer, no norm according to which he judges things.”

On Anton Chekhov

”As a playwright he is of minor importance, only for entertainment. However, among his short stories, there are many, which are of a very high quality.”

On classic writers

”It appears, after all, that all these modern ones in the end are so small compared with the classic writers. I have to restrain myself not to lose interest in them, when I think of the old masters, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Schopenhauer.”

On August Strindberg

”I have not read anything by him, so I know about his views only in a general way. Is he not a half mad person, even worse than Ibsen?

Holland America Line's MS Eurodam in Øresund

MS Eurodam in Øresund on June 10, 2013

Last night, Holland America Line's Eurodam was going northwards in the Sound. The 287 m x 36 m ship is on its way from Copenhagen to Tallinn.

Cable Lay Barge Atalanti in Øresund

Yesterday morning another seldom seen visitor, the 93 m x 27 m Cable Lay Barge Atalanti, was towed southward in the Sound by the tug Artemis (both ships registered in Cyprus). Their destination is Finnish Pikkala, with estimated arrival on June 13. 

The Atalanti has been specially designed for cable laying works in shallow waters, which are normally not accessible by larger cable laying vessels. The ship, which offers accomodation for 77 persons, can handle at least 4500 tons of cable on a maximum draught of 4.1 meters. 

Cable Lay Barge Atalanti approaching Helsingborg/Helsingør on June 10, 2013.

The 68 m x 16 m tug Artemis towing CLB Atalanti in the Sound.

AIDAcara passes by early in the morning

The AIDAcara (193 m  x 32 m), the smallest ship in the AIDA fleet, early this morning passed Helsingborg/Helsingør on its way from Oslo to Copenhagen. The ship, which entered service in 1996, has 590 cabins for max. 1180 passengers.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Krapperup Caste Park and Gardens - A Gem in Scania

This time of the year the rhododendrons are glowing in the Krapperup castle park - one of the finest in Scandinavia. The rhodos in the nearby Sofiero palace gardens may be more well known, but the beautifully landscaped historic Krapperup park and gardens make them my personal favorite. The pictures are from last night (between 8.30 and 9.30 PM).