This post is mainly directed at two of our regular readers who, whilst staying with us recently, experienced some unusual night-time Katabatic winds coming down from the hills that are in the background of the photo. Sleep was not easy for a couple of nights! For them, this photo is evidence to prove that that really was unusual weather. For the rest of you, please just enjoy the calm, reflective photo.
Last week I commented on the stresses involved in turning my home around in its berth without causing any damage. Today it had to be turned back around again and I thought I’d call in the ‘experts’ to do it, rather than drive it myself. Their plan was to keep the boat tethered to the dock and then manoeuvre our home using the Marina speedboat as a tug – as you see in the photo – whilst insisting I didn’t run the engine. Shortly after the photo was taken, things got a little frantic as the wind caught the slab sides of the boat, overpowering the speedboat’s tug-ability, and gently crunched it into our next-door-but-one neighbour. Luckily, we managed to get a roving fender in just in time so no damage to the neighbour and just a bent drain on ours – next time I’ll trust myself and accept the stress!
A few hours after I had gone to bed, Tropical Storm Vicente morphed suddenly and unexpectedly into Severe Typhoon Vicente. At a distance of about 120km from central Hong Kong its fury was being keenly felt. You may have gathered from yesterday’s photo that I had gone to bed on a boat – and that boat was by now rocking and rolling enough to wake me up. Over the next few hours I could only hold on tight as the boat pitched and bounced like some demented stallion at a rodeo. The wind was howling through the superstructure and the rigging of boats all around me and their mooring lines and fenders squeaked, popped and groaned and they struggled to hold boats in place and prevent them from crashing into either each other, adjacent piers, or jettys. I kept myself updated on the Typhoon’s progress through the wonderful Hong Kong Observatory website (isn’t it amazing that amidst all nature’s fury, not only does the internet continue to function, but we continue to rely on it) and kept my wife, in UK, updated on my plight. I was considering going outside to check and adjust the mooring lines, but with the website reporting measured wind speeds locally of 100+kph and at a maximum of 190+kph within Hong Kong, thought it prudent not to step outside! By this stage the Observatory was issuing the ‘Hurricane level 12 Warning’ – the first time in 13 years that things had been so bad. Warnings were also in place for landslides and flooding. The storm peaked at about 2.30 am when the ‘eye’ of the Typhoon was just under 100km away from central Hong Kong and it was about an hour later that I recorded these images from the Observatory on my iPhone. The first shows the wide area satellite image. The ‘eye’ of the Typhoon is just to the southwest of Hong Kong, but its coverage can be seen extending from Taiwan in the east, The Philippines in the south, and Hainan Island and Vietnam to the west. The second image is centred on Hong Kong and gives a graphic image of the Typhoon’s shape in recording rainfall levels. The final image is the ‘meat’ of the Observatory’s commentary, which was continually updated. Some time between 4 and 5 a.m things calmed down enough that my fatigue from yesterday overcame even nature’s waning efforts and I fell asleep. The boat and I survived; countless trees didn’t.
I’ve photographed Hong Kong from land, air and now sea. Each has its own unique perspective and appeal and each can delight or frustrate with the images it allows. After 3 hours of persistent rain, flat overcast skies and dull images, conditions finally relented to allow this ‘sea’ image mid afternoon today.