Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13, Astoria: Big ship in town - the Sapphire Princess

Here she sits, looking for all the world like a huge white whale with a pointy beak. I've always intended to get down near one of the cruise ships when they come into port. They are so monumental, it's staggering to look at them. The photos don't do justice to the way it feels when you're near one of these monsters. I wasn't able to get all the way up to the ship to get the angle I wanted, and you'll see why in a minute. For now, I'll do my best to show the size.

This is clearly not even the whole ship, even though I put the camera's setting on wide. The little thing on the right with yellow stripes is a bus, and behind that, a two-storey building.

Here's the other end of her.

I'm shooting this through chain link fence, or I'd have gotten closer. The vendors come out when a ship is in port, and there are greeters. You can sign up to do this, but I never have. Some people say it's fun. What I like about this photo, especially if you click to enlarge it, is the different shades of white on the tent tops, and how they appear to be a painting rather than something real, with the gray lines and the white on white against the light gray sky.

There was live music, too. When I arrived, this man was playing and singing an Eric Clapton song. Nobody was watching, but everyone could hear, as the PA system was quite effective. The tents are off to the left and the ship is to the right.

The weather had gone from drizzle to rain while I was walking around taking pictures. If you enlarge this one you can see the water coming down. The musician was dry under the tent.

Going to town with umbrellas, hoods and hats. Shuttle buses take the passengers into town and have several stops for them. I'm not sure how it all works. There must be various arranged times when they can hop the bus back to the ship. Everything is close enough that some people just walk. I'm not sure if this is one of the six or so ships that had been scheduled for Mexico and had to settle for rainy Astoria because of the swine flu. Passengers fill the streets and make the shop owners' day when a cruise ship is in port. The visitors usually seem in good spirits, too, whether it's raining or nice. We try to give them nice weather when we can, and much of the time we do!

Here's what I mean. They really don't want visitors like myself anywhere near the cruise ship! I believe this is standard procedure, although I don't know when it became so rigid.

Eeek! Did you ever feel like you'd done something wrong before you even got started?

It was raining pretty hard by the time I headed back to my car.

Here's a look at the back of the Red Lion Inn and one of the hills of Astoria at the west end of town. The ship is now behind me.

This is the coolest thing! When I looked up the Sapphire Princess online this afternoon, I found they had a WEB CAM on board! You can see the same bridge in my first photo. In fact, they have two cameras - a bridge cam (bridge = part of the ship, not to be confused with the Astoria-Megler bridge in view!) and a wedding cam. If you look in the upper right of the cam page, there's a drop-down with all of their ships. I don't think they really update after two minutes, but right now I'm waiting see the Tahitian Princess docking in St. Petersburg, Russia. I wonder how it's going to get past that car-filled bridge its heading toward? It doesn't look like a drawbridge from here!

Tonight as I was posting, I looked again at the Sapphire Princess's bridge cam. Here it is in the dark, heading to Seattle with lights on. Pretty darn cool. Yes? I think I'll be taking a virtual sail around the world for the next few days!

By the way, I decided to use this post for my first Thursday Challenge photomeme. The theme is appropriate! It's "BIG." Check out the link for more BIG THINGS!


Rinkly Rimes said...

We recently returned from a cruise to New Zealand so your photos were nostalgic. The weather in Auckland was exactly the same!

magiceye said...

exclusive and impressive

Barb's Photo Blog said...

This is what I miss about the coast, the big ships. Great shots and write-up