Thursday, January 10, 2008

The "Romance" of a Bygone Era

There is something that seems so romantic about the beautiful old sailing vessels from a bygone era.

The other day on our Port Elizabeth Daily Photo blog, we featured the replica of the Goteberg, which visited PE in March 2006 on her way to China. There was great excitement when this rare sight wafted into our harbour, and left a few days later with much razzamatazz, brass band playing, small yachts following and canon fire salutes.

Goteberg leaves PE Harbour, accompanied by yachts, while a large modern tanker waits across the bay to come in to port.

In the early 1900s, they were all there was, and Port Elizabeth was the busiest port in South Africa, due to the exports of wool and ostrich feathers, as well as diamonds from the Kimberley mines, so there were always many of these ships on the horizon, waiting in Algoa bay to be brought into port.
loading wool bales in 1900
However, this place did not earn its nickname "the windy city" for nothing! There have been a few major gales through the centuries, but none as devastating as that of September 1902.
I got hold of some copies of photos yesterday, which were taken on North End Beach the following day..... bet it did not seem at all romantic for the sailors who were in the 21 ships which either ran aground or disappeared!
They were intrepid adventurers, those men, who worked in terrible conditions to open up new territory around the world. One of my all time favourite photos of old sailing ships is Shackelton's Endurance being crushed by ice in Antarctica. I have read so many versions of that story, including his autobiography, and find myself constantly awed by the feats of endurance achieved by those extraordinary men.
On another note, I want to thank Janet and Shirley for each giving me a "you make my day" award. As my blog is a "no tag zone" I won't go through the whole "post the rules and name others" routine, but still the thought is deeply appreciated, thanks!


RuneE said...

Very nice pictures of (and information about) the old ships. I have a weakness for them, as you may have noticed from the picture at the top of my Blog.

Thank you for a very nice comment!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Excellent pictures of truly great vessels.
I agree so much with your thoughts about these ships and the men who sailed them.

A very good informative post..

imac said...

Very nice story of these Tall ships and also the photos very interesting post.

Janet said...

Great photos of the old ships. I'm sure it was a rugged life back in those days!

CJ said...

Wonderful ships, there is one in Cornwall at Falmouth, that we visited. There is such an aura of romance and adventure contained in those timbers.
What a pity when family visits have to be so true that everyone has the choice as adults; how they chose to be negative and impossible is beyond me!
You and Max must recharge your positive batteries, healing is so much easier when you're smiling!

Kate said...

The stories of these intrepid seamen certainly makes fascinating reading. Thanks for sharing the photos with us, too.

Sheila said...

I cn't imagine what the sailors endured..they deserved a girl in every
Having crossed the Atlantic on a liner in the middle of November, I have a feeling for how awful it must have been for them.
Just thinking about it makes me sea sick.
Great photos Suze, a really good post..

Sailor Girl said...



I must come here on a regular basis!!!

ImperfectNerd said...

I too love the old as opopsed to the new and my favorite book of all time is "Two Years Before the Mast" by Dana. Thanks for such great images!