01-Mar-2004 -- After zigzagging around in severe gale winds and high seas with various
weather permitting courses from Sardinia towards West the
weather finally improved yesterday evening, and so we could resume normal
navigation to Gibraltar.
This morning, at 37N 1W, in very good visibility, we could
clearly make out parts of the Spanish Sierras, namely Sierra Cabrera, about 950 m
high, and Sierra de la Almenara, about 900 m high, to the Northwest.
Towards North, in direction Cartagena (which means: "Little Carthage"), we
could not see anything. The mountains around this town are about 650 m high
and should be theoretically visible as well, but visibility at sea is often
not equal to all directions due to many atmospheric reasons and conditions.
In a former visit I have spoken about bulk carriers.
Here, in the vicinity of the confluence, off Cabe de Gata, several busy
shipping lines do converge.
Bulk carriers are used to carry huge quantities of coal, ore, phosphate and
grain. Here we see a "Panamax". Panamax are mostly
Here the characteristics of a typical Panamax, the "BALTIC MERMAID", I have
captained about ten years ago:
built 1984 by Burmeister & Wain, Copenhagen
Length over all: 225 m
Maximum draft: 13.1 m
Maximum deadweight (i.e. the quantity the ship can load): 64145 metric tons
Gross Tonnage: 35319
Engine: 1 MAN Diesel Engine, 12600 HP
The most governing dimension for a Panamax, however, is its width. All
Panamax have a beam of 32.3 m (105 feet), in order to just match with the
locks of the Panama Canal. When entering the locks with a Panamax, you have
just a few inches left on each side.
A few minutes later the next smaller issue of a bulk carrier, a "Handysize", passed.
Handysize bulkers are mostle geared with cranes and therefore more
Here the characteristics of a handysize I captained about 12 years ago, the
built 1983 by Dalian Shipyard, China
Length over all: 195 m
Width: 23 m
Maximum draft: 10.2 m
Maximum deadweight: 28030 metric tons
Gross Tonnage: 18121
Engine: 1 DALIAN-B&W Diesel Engine, 9760 HP
Although not all handysizers have the same width, the one of this ship above
is very characteristic. The expert learns from it immediately for which
trade the ship has been especially designed:
23 metres equals to 75 ft 6 inches, and the locks of the Saint Lawrence
Seaway and the Welland Canal are exactly 80 ft wide.
Sailing on the Great Lakes more than 200 metres above the sea level with an
oceran going ship is very interesting. Especially the fact is appreciated
that the ship is sailing in fresh water, and she can be nicely washed and
cleaned from the salt, of which you usually never get rid out in the oceans.