An interesting week at Port Chalmers with a visit from Stellar Eagle, the largest ship to load logs, and a record cruise ship season ending with visits from Pacific Pearl yesterday, and consort Pacific Dawn today.
In the past we used to see quite a lot of them, fully refrigerated vessels (reefers). They called here to load for overseas markets, fish, meat and apples when the export apple season was in full swing. These cargoes now go by container ships.
Now operated by foreign-owned container ship companies, regular transtasman services were once the domain of Australian and New Zealand lines.
Sunny conditions added to the pleasure of watching the cruise ship Saga Ruby arriving at Port Chalmers last week.
The annual summer cruise ship season is starting to wind down. After today only five more visits are scheduled before it ends early next month.
Three vessels of particular interest made their maiden visits to the harbour last week. The log ship Port Phillip brought back memories of a well-known Port Line cargo liner, Aetos also called to load logs, and Araon is the first ice-breaker to come our way for almost 39 years.
The latest visitor, to Ravensbourne last Saturday, the Chinese-built Montauk Maiden, may have a similar appearance to bulk carriers that have turned up here over the years.
Another two cruise-ship names will be recorded here for the first time this week, with the arrival of the 2009-built Silver Spirit on Wednesday and the 22-year-old Balmoral on Saturday.
The Holland-America Lines (HAL) Volendam has become a regular visitor from the time of its first visit to Port Chalmers on October 31, 2008. It was back for the 22nd time last Friday and the Port Otago cruise ship schedule lists the vessel to make a further 14 visits up to December, 2012. It will be replaced by the larger 81,769gt, 1968-berth Oosterdam.
After an absence of almost five years, the Seabourn Cruise Line returned to Otago yesterday in the shape of Seabourn Sojourn.
Further to Hamburg-Suds' 50-year association with this port and the introduction, during the past few years, of larger vessels into the fleet, mentioned last week; I have found even bigger ships have joined the fleet since last October.
It all began on January 19, 1961, when the 4106gt Cap Corrientes berthed at Dunedin, representing the Hamburg-Sud group in this harbour for the first time.
Shipping schedules can often be upset.
The year 2010 was an interesting one. Compared with 50 years ago, when most of our overseas import and export trades were handled by cargo liners flying the British flag, they are now the domain of foreign-owned interests.
The run of vessels making their first visits to this harbour continues for the rest of this year with Hanjin Bombay and SJN Nordic visiting the upper harbour and BC San Francisco calling at Port Chalmers.
This year, Leith wharf has been used on 10 occasions by vessels loading logs. Two more log ships are due there before the end of the year. However, in a few days' time, it will also be occupied by the brand-new, Chinese-built Florijngracht, which will discharge the first shipment of wind farm equipment to be handled in the upper harbour.
The Holland America Line (HAL) Volendam, which first arrived here on October 31, 2008, was back on its 18th visit last Friday.
Another week of activity with four vessels making their first visits to the upper harbour. It commenced yesterday with the arrival at Ravensbourne of Duncan Bay. Fanoula and Voge Renate will also be berthing there and the Dutch-owned tanker Iver Excel at Dunedin.
Last week, I mentioned a return visit by Seven Seas Navigator, a vessel originally laid down for the Soviet navy.
The cruise ships that have already called this season are all purpose-built vessels that have entered service since 1995.