Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Port Hedland, WA.

As we leave the Rio Tinto Iron Ore Shipping Port of Karratha and Dampier we are heading North to the BHPBilliton Iron Ore Shipping Port of Port Hedland. There is one major difference between the two ports, that is, in Karratha and Dampier the loading facilities are apart from the town areas and not really accessible by the general public. Whereas, in Port Hedland, the loading facility is integral within the town precinct and easily viewable by the public. Hedland is two separate entities, Port Hedland the Port area and South Hedland the domicile and shopping precinct.

Travelling the Coastal Highway between Karratha and Port Hedland we have noticed a great number of Brahminy Kites. These birds don't project the power or the majesty of the Wedge Tailed Eagle but with their Chestnut Plumage on body and wings and White Plumage on their head neck and breast the Brahminy Kite is one elegant looking bird when seen soaring in these Northern skies.

There is a Seafarers Mission in Port Hedland and what they do is collect seafarers from their loading Ore Carriers and ferry them into town where they can go shopping and use computer facilities at the Mission or just go sightseeing. At the conclusion of their Shoreleave they are returned to their vessels. The public is able to board the launch as it travels the Harbour and get a real close up look at these enormous ships and the workings of the Harbour.

There is an astronomical phenomenon seen in the North West at certain periods. This is The Staircase to The Moon. This occurs when The rise of the Full Moon coincides with a Low Tide and just before or after Sunset. We were able to see this happening at Hearson Cove near Dampier and also at Cooke Point in Port Hedland.

While travelling South to Karratha in the torrential rain storm we bypassed Whim Creek Hotel as the highway was about to become flooded, and eventually was closed, we later found out. Therefore we turned in during our Northward travel to Port Hedland. What a pleasant surprise we received, expecting an old derelict country pub we were presented with an entirely renovated hotel, retaining the charm of the old exterior but totally modernised inside. See pictures below.

While waiting for The Staircase to The Moon at Hearson Cove we were witness to a Wedding Ceremony on the tidal flats.

This Staircase to The Moon was not really great as the sun had not yet set and there was a lot of cloud in the sky. We did get a bit of an idea what happens though and the Staircase came all the way up the bonnet of our BT50.

The front of The Whim Creek Hotel.

The Spacious Outdoor area under a Shade Sail.

Looking across from The Outdoor Area to the Beer Garden.

The Modern and Spacious Interior of The Whim Creek Hotel.

The fairly quiet Wedge Street in Port Hedland.

The Port Hedland Hotel on The Esplanade.

The entrance to The BHPBilliton Port Authority.

The Servicemans' Memorial along side the entrance to the Port Authority.

On the edge of town loading ships are visible to the public. This is a Cape Class Ore Carrier. It has 9 Holds and carries about 177000 tonnes of ore when fully loaded.

The same ship as in the photograph above but now visible much closer from the Seafarers Mission Launch. This ship has only begun loading as you can see from the seaboard.

Same ship again and even closer. The returning Seafarers are mounting the gangway with the proceeds of their shopping spree.

Close up view of the ore leaving the loader.

This Ore Carrier is almost fully loaded as it is sitting low in the water. These ships are 300 metres in length and 50 metres wide. It takes around 30 hours to load each ship.

This berth is empty and a loader is sitting idle. There are 17 active berths in Port Hedland with more to be added. Gina Rhinehart's Roy Hill Iron will be shipping ore from here later this year.

Part of the Conveyor complex that feeds the ship loaders.

An empty ore carrier being escorted into port by 5 tug boats. Probably heading for that empty berth above.

The Port Hedland night sky as seen from our caravan site at Cooke Point.

Staircase to the Moon from Cooke Point in Port Hedland. This is two hours later than what we saw at Hearson Cove, Dampier. The sun has long gone from the scene.

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