No disrespect intended to the Royal New Zealand Navy, but that song always comes to mind when the subject comes up. Not so much due to The Village People as it is to these guys:
The whole idea of Vikings singing this song in their longboats cracks me up.
Anyway, back to the actual Navy, the Navy was in Wellington over the weekend to mark their 70th anniversary. And when I say "the Navy", I mean literally the entire fleet bar one ship. Not often you can get almost the entire navy in one shot. There are nine RNZN ships out of twelve in this pic, with another couple berthed around the corner to the right:
The aforementioned couple, Fleet Replenishment Tanker HMNZS Endeavour and Survey and Research ship HMNZS Resolution, along with the just returned from being upgraded Interisland Ferry Aratere.
Sealift and Amphibious Support Vessel HMNZS Canterbury at Queen's Wharf (middle), with Inshore Patrol Vessels HMNZS Taupo and Rotoiti (left) and Hawea and Pukaki (right):
Offshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS Wellington:
ANZAC/Meko 200 class Frigate HMNZS Te Mana, and OPV HMNZS Otago:
The other half of the combat element, HMNZS Te Kaha. That we only have two instead of four of these was one of the bigger NZ public spending controversies of the early 90's.
Te Kaha with Canterbury behind. Charlotte was concerned that the big gun might frighten people:
Te Kaha from astern:
Te Kaha's Phalanx Close In Weapons System for self defense. A bit like R2D2, but less cute:
The girls and I went for a wander amongst the crowds and ships around the waterfront on Saturday morning. Charlotte liked the helicopters (both Naval and Civilian) best. Combined with the World Cup games at the nearby stadium (we ran into the All Blacks leaving a signing session just as we got there) it was a busy weekend in the city. With all the overseas visitors here for the tournament, there has been a nice buzzier than usual atmosphere around town.
Reports that much of the buzz was from excited singles reacting to the sudden appearance of hundreds of sailors wandering around in uniform are unconfirmed :).
Along with most of the ships being open to visitors, Helipro was conducting operations as normal from it's Queens Wharf base. Small helicopter (Robinson R44), big ship (Canterbury):
Slightly bigger helicopter (Eurocopter Twin Squirrel), still a big ship:
While the crowds waited to board the Canterbury, they could check out Helipro's BK-117 which was opened up for inspection (and which can be seen hard at work in this post ). It made an interesting contrast with the Navy SH-2G Seasprite embarked aboard the Canterbury.
Three helicopters in one shot. R44, Jetranger, and Te Kaha's Seasprite
The Navy has since left Wellington to go back to their usual ports and duties. Before they sailed the stood out into the harbour yesterday so they could be inspected by the Governor General. I happened to drive into town in the evening and they made for a moody and impressive sight looming out of the heavy rain in the gathering twilight.
It would have made a great photo, but I didn't have my camera with me (plus I was driving along the motorway at the time, which is probably more critical).