A date with a 117 year old

6 11 2010

With a few friends, I paid a visit to the H/V Vega, which is in Singapore for a short stopover before heading off on 9 or 10 November 2010 to the Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta, where she will be deployed as a press boat. It was my second visit to the historic top sail ketch which I first visited in March of this year. The ketch has been wonderfully restored in 1995 having been built in 1893 as a stone carrying vessel for voyages in the harsh climes of the North Sea and in the Arctic and is a marvel of 19th century craftsmanship and certainly a joy to wander around and photograph.

I love the old sailing ships for the rigging that seems to clutter the main deck.

The Vega is a very photogenic boat and is a joy to photograph.

During this visit, we had the opportunity to have a chat with the very friendly owner and master of the ketch, Captain Shane Granger and his wife Maggie (who incidentally was responsible for the wonderfully designed cabins below deck). Captain Shane was able to share with us some of the experiences in carrying out the humanitarian aid work that the magnificent vessel is engaged in, a lot of it in the outer and remote reaches of the Indonesian Archipelago – places that are ignored and often forgotten by the authorities and mainstream aid organisations.

The very affable Captain Shane Granger, owner and master of the Vega.

Another view of the rigging.

Among the stories that Captain Shane shared was how the gift of very simple things that we take for granted can transform the lives of the inhabitants of the remote islands. With a gift of pencils and erasers, children were able to have the tools necessary to learn to write, where they had been taught to do so previously on a slate that was the moistened sandy ground beneath them. The erasers had been particularly treasured by the teacher, as it meant that exercise books which were in short supply could be reused by erasing the deliberate light scribbles of the children on the pages of the books.

The not so friendly ship's cat eyeing the camera suspiciously.

Besides school supplies, the Vega also delivers aid in other forms such as much needed medical supplies once a year to her regular destinations around the far east of the Indonesian Archipelago. She was able to receive sponsorship for some of this and among the benefactors were Jotun Paints in Singapore and hopes to continue the good work with further sponsorship. More information on the Vega can be found at her website, as well as on my previous post on her. Captain Shane can be contacted at the Vega’s email address. The Vega is due back in Singapore in April of 2011.

Old tools including a traditional caulking tool at the bottom - traditional methods and materials are used in the upkeep of the ketch.

The ketch's anchor.

A pirate awaits the visitor below decks.

The visit provide some of my friends the opportunity to climb up the mast ... well part of the way at least ...

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