Saturday, January 15, 2011

Watching the ships roll in, then I watch them roll away again

My office in Rotterdam overlooks a large harbor where they unload container ships in a constant frenzy twenty-four hours a day. There is no hint what is being transported, just that it is speedily on the way to customers somewhere on the European continent. Everything comes via container ships – cars, bananas, new stereos, everything. The ships are stacked high with containers that are delicately removed by cranes the size of ten story buildings. Large specialized container carriers move the containers around, stacking them in neat rows. On the side closest to my office, there is a line of waiting trucks ready to carry the containers to their final destinations.
As each ship approaches the harbor, it is swarmed with small tugboats that gently pull it to the dock in the correct position. It takes four tugboats to put the larger ships in place. Each ship is different, various colors, lighting, sizes, and cargo arrangements. Each ship takes between two and twelve hours to unload and reload, then it moves on to the next destination. Most of the ships coming to this port are going between various European ports, though of course there are ships coming from Asia and North America.

I found a fascinating web site that makes watching the harbor ten times more fun ( It tracks every ship in the harbor and provides information on the name of the ship, where it has come from, and perhaps where it is going. Looking at this web site, it is amazing just how many ships are in the immediate area.
As an example, I selected a ship that would be very visible from my office window called “Pluto”, a cargo ship registered in the Marshall Islands. You can pull up the basics on the vessel as well as a picture gallery uploaded by carge ship enthusiasts (yup, they exist). I was able to track the vessel itinerary over the last three days. Pluto came from the North Atlantic, south around the UK, and over to Rotterdam. Unfortunately, the history does not go far enough back to track where the current load originated.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Water Tower - Zanesville, Ohio

POTD - Awesome house in Spring Valley, OH

How many items can you spot in this picture that scream country livin?
1. Plywood over the window
2. Sticker on the door with a picture of a handgun and the words "I Don't Call 911"
3. Electrical wiring outside the wall.
4. Two skulls hanging over the door
5. Gasoline container, saw, random wood, and stolen electric pole bracket piled around.
6. Padlock on the front door.
7. Wooden fish on the air conditioner.
Anything else?

Monday, January 3, 2011

POTD - Buckeye Trail 2 miles south of Xenia, Ohio

Picture of the Day - I hiked a 14 mile round trip segment of the Buckeye Trail today. The entire segment was along the Little Miami Creek on an old decommissioned railroad bed. It was cold but the sun was shining and it was good to move around a little after over-eating for the last month.

Water Tower - East Muskingum, Ohio

Water Tower - Cedarville, Ohio

New picture of a water tower previously featured. The picture was taken with the sun directly behind the tower for an interesting lighting affect.