It’s hard to miss this one if you looked in the harbour today. HMS Iron Duke arrived into port this morning, berthing where the Condor freight ferries usually are. According to Wikipedia it is a Royal Navy ship specialising in anti-submarine warfare. I welcome the crew to Jersey and I hope they can relax and take a few quiet days off. I guarantee no problems with submarines here as you can barely sail a ship in these treacherous waters and tides.
I saw this BBC Jersey story last night, and headed down to the water with the camera. I was hoping to get a great photo of the guns going off at 10:30 when the ship did the arrival salute. I waited patiently out at the end of Albert Pier, with a couple other photographers. We were all there, waiting to photograph the same thing.
Too bad, we missed it. I guess they did it a half-hour early. I was a bit disappointed, especially because at 10:30 the Condor Express was just entering the next slip. It would have been hilarious to see the passengers reacting to cannon fire alongside. The ship will be open to the public for tours this Saturday from 10am-4pm, according to this MOD page. I highly recommend it. I got to go aboard the HMS Illustrious as a child and I still remember it fondly. According to Channelonline, the tours are free.
I went aboard today for a tour. I hope you got a chance to see it, because the tours are now over. Until the next visit, you will have to just browse these photos or watch the ITV Channel Television video.
The crew was very friendly, and there was no problem taking photos. A few of them even offered to take pictures with my camera while I stood in front of the missile launcher up front.
As you came aboard, you were guided along by little arrow signs tied to bits of rope. You were free to take your time and explore, which was great.
There were members of the crew standing at various points, explaining the different parts of the ship and answering visitors’ questions.
I didn’t expect to get access to as many places as I did. There were various members of the crew working and moving about the ship. With about 170 crew, it was busy but they were patient with all the visitors roaming everywhere.
I thank the crew for opening their ship to the public and showing us what they do. I wish them safe travels and I hope they can come back to Jersey soon.