A sunrise from Ghost Island

25 09 2013

A view of the rising of the sun at 7.25 am on 24 September 2013, looking across Keppel Harbour from Keppel Island. Keppel Island before 1983, was named Pulau Hantu or “Ghost Island” and was renamed when Keppel Shipyard started development of shipyard facilities on the island which was obtained in exchange for two graving docks, the Victoria and Albert Docks, which were transferred to the Port of Singapore Authority for development of the Tanjong Pagar Wharves. The island where the Marina @ Keppel Bay is now located, is now linked to the mainland by a cable-stayed bridge, the Keppel Bay Bridge (on the left of the photograph). The bridge, opened in early 2008, is said to be the longest in Singapore with a span of 250 metres. The bridge and marina are part of a luxury waterfront development taking place in what was formerly land occupied by Keppel Shipyard. More information on the shipyard, the historic graving docks it operated in the area and the developments taking place can be found in two previous entries: A sunrise on another strange horizon and The King that lost its glory.

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More information on Keppel Bay Bridge can also be found at Keppel Corporation’s website (click on this link).

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A 120 year old vessel prepares to set sail

23 04 2012

Currently berthed at the Marina at Keppel Bay is a 120 year old historic ketch, the H/V Vega, which I first visited in early 2010 and following which I made several more visits during her subsequent stays in Singapore. The vessel, which is owned by Shane Granger and Meggi Macoun, is a beautifully restored top-sail ketch which was originally put to service as an open decked vessel that carried stone and slate along the tempestuous waters off the Norwegian coastline. I was able to drop by again yesterday to say hello to Shane and Meggi, who were in the midst of getting the H/V Vega ready for what has become an annual 6 month-long voyage of mercy which she is taken out on every April or so. The voyage is one that will take the Vega to the distant eastern distant reaches of the Indonesian archipelago with a cargo of much-needed items – medical supplies, farming tools, books, stationery and even sporting gear – a lifeline that many of the remote and often overlooked island communities especially in the Banda Sea area depend very much on.

A coil of rope. The H/V Vega is being prepared for what has become an annual mission that will take her to the Banda Sea.

The H/V Vega is a 120 year old ketch that has been very nicely restored and is now used to bring aid to remote island communities in the Indonesian Archipelago.

With most of the supplies they are carrying over from Singapore already packed in, what was left for Meggi and Shane and two volunteers to do was in packing in the last few items of aid they are carrying from Singapore, as well as getting the boat’s gear prepared for the voyage. The H/V Vega is due to set sail on 25 April 2012 for Jakarta where she will pick up some more supplies for the island communities. A peek below decks revealed the amount that is being carried. Having been designed as a high density cargo carrier, the Vega is limited not so much by the displacement but by its available volume and this was very evident below decks where the items the Vega is carrying seem to spill over into all available space that will possibly make the voyage a rather uncomfortable one for Shane, Meggi and two other crew members who are joining them. Besides the boxes of medical supplies, books and stationery, loose items such as CPUs, toys and sports gear were seen to have been stowed on sleeping berths as well as free spaces in the accommodation areas, including a mechanical sewing machine – once a common household items in Singapore that will be very useful to the island community that it is being delivered to, in the dining area.

Shortlink anchor chain being readied on deck.

Ropes being prepared deck seen through a portlight.

While the Vega has been able to obtain much of what is needed by the communities, as of yesterday, there are some small but essential items that she is short of (see also: http://sailvega.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/list-of-one-off-items-needed-by-the-communities-we-assist/):

  • 1 x 12 Vdc cool box for vaccine storage
  • Reading glasses
  • Battery for Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop
  • Battery for Dell XPS M1210 Battery type HF674
  • 200x Nail / Hand scrubbing brushes
  • 100x Plastic closeable hand soap carrier (should have a snap to keep it closed in bag)
  • Sharpening Stones
  • Thread and sewing needles
  • Guitar strings (Metal and Nylon)
  • Power cables for desktop computers
  • Cables between monitors and CPU for desktop computers

Anyone be in a position to help with any of the items may get in touch with Shane Granger.

The annual clutter in the living spaces - aid items stowed in the accommodation spaces for delivery to the island communities include books, stationery, medical supplies and a mechanical sewing machine.

Supplies stacked up on a bunk.

The view down into the forward accommodation space filled with medical supplies.

Used sports equipment and CPUs being packed.

More boxes to be brought below decks.

A cabin being partially used to stow supplies.

The forward accommodation space as seen from below decks.

Even Elmo is going along on the voyage.





The Cariad: photographs aboard another historical top sail ketch, built in 1896

21 04 2010

At berth across the Vega on display at Boat Asia 2010 was another historical top sail ketch, the Cariad, a purpose built racing yacht. The Cariad, named after the Welsh word for “Sweetheart” was built by Summers & Payne in Southampton for a Lord Dunraven in 1896 and is currently in magnificent condition, having undergone a full restoration in Korat, Thailand. It was certainly a treat to be able to step onto her expansive wooden deck and into the gleaming wood panelled accommodation below decks.

The Cariad in 1896 (source: http://www.cariad1896.com/).

Designed by A. E. Payne, the Cariad’s hull is constructed of teak wood laid over a steel framework. The Cariad has an length overall of 118 feet, a beam of 81 feet and a draught of 12 feet 6 inches. She is currently powered by a 240 HP diesel engine. More information is available at the Cariad’s website.

The Cariad is a 114 year old top sail ketch built in Southampton.

Stern of the Cariad.

Polished wood name plate.

Ship's bell.

The helm.

The fore deck.

Rigging on deck.

The main deck.

Ropes on deck.

Compass repeater on the main deck.

The newly restored ketch is on sale at a princely sum of USD 3.5M.

Accommodation below decks.

The lounge below decks.

The heads.

A stateroom.

Skylights.

Hydrostatic information on the Cariad.





The Vega: A historical top sail ketch built in 1893

19 04 2010

I had the opportunity of going onboard a delightful little ketch, the Vega, at the recently concluded Boat Asia 2010. The pictures I have seen of the Vega, which is 117 year old, in full sail, conjures up images of salt seasoned seamen in oilskins braving the elements and the tempestuous seas, but seeing it at berth among the luxury cabin cruisers on display at  the boat show, the trimaran mega yacht White Rabbit Echo and the under construction Reflections at Keppel Bay forming the backdrop, seemed somewhat surreal.

The Vega is a historical ketch built in Norway in 1893.

The Vega's bow.

The Vega was restored in 1995 and flies the Maltese Flag.

The Vega, with its hull of teak, oak and pine, which was built originally as an open decked stone and slate carrier in 1893 in Hardanger, Norway, and rebuilt in 1905, trading on routes that took it along the coast of Norway and Sweden, is in excellent condition, having been restored in Denmark in 1995. A deck has been added and accommodation designed by the owner’s wife has been placed in what were the cargo holds, transforming the underdeck area into a delightful and cosy living space.

Principal Particulars of the Vega.

The Vega as she was as a top sail ketch (Source. http://www.sailvega.com).

The Vega is currently being put to a noble cause and is involved in humanitarian missions, delivering food and medical supplies to the less accessible places such as the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea during the aftermath of the Tsunami, and is said to sail 10,000 nautical miles annually. It is currently crewed by her owner Captain Shane Granger, his wife and another crew member. More information on the Vega and her missions can be found at her website.

The Vega in full sail.

The Vega is used to deliver humanitarian aid to hard to access areas in need, such as in the Solomon Islands in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami.

Blocks and tackle.

A tender carried at the stern.

Contributions for the upkeep and missions the Vega are involved in are most welcomed.

Throttle control.

The helm.

More tackle ...

The tool rack.

Inclinometer.

The galley.

Implements of the galley.

Glasses on the rack.

Sundries ...

The fo'c'sle store / accommodation.

Cosy and comfortable Captain's quarters aft of the engine room.

The Heads.

View of the Ketch at berth.

Main deck of the ketch.