It was kinda like watching a car race where there were no accidents. The pitch was that these cranes were arriving from China for installation at the Port of Oakland, and that they'd go under the Golden Gate Bridge with 7 feet of clearance, and the Bay Bridge with only 22 inches of clearance.
So being something of a ghoul I snagged the cameras and drove down to the Marin Headlands this afternoon. The images don't scale well, you'll probably want to view the blow-ups of each.
To the right is an average freighter going under the bridge, for perspective.
I got to the golden gate early, a little after 3, and hiked down the bluffs a bit to get a better angle. It approached very slowly, I'd planned on going a bit later from home, but I'd had to make a run over to the Coyote Grits offices before-hand and had forgotten a jacket. The weather was sunny and warm when I got there, but while I waited the fog started to roll in, so I was freezing my butt off as I watched the tugboats go out to rendezvous with it.
Here's an empty outbound container ship next to the inbound boat loaded with the cranes for scale. Note that the container ship is on the far side. Note too that there are two tug-boats, one pointed out-bound. Low tide was apparently at 6:30, one of the reasons for the 5:30 arrival time was to make sure that there was enough current out of the bay to provide rudder control on the big boat. I think the blow-up of this version shows some of the hovering news 'copters, there were at least 4 plus a couple of light planes that often passed below the height of the cranes. Not airspace I've any desire to occupy.
Here's a side-view of the cranes, with the tug-boats visible. Note the low waterline, and the tops of the letters along the side of the boat. I won't be able to tell 'til I get the film developed, but I'm fairly sure that they lowered the boat dramatically from when it cleared Point Bonita 'til it actually got into the Golden Gate.
They'd promised us 7 feet, but based on the heights of the vehicles on the bridge I think they miscalculated by quite a bit, that looks like nearly as much clearance as when the tall ships came in.
The image on the right is the big money shot, no crashing destruction that would cause home prices in Marin county to fall to merely the unbeleivable, but still the impressive passing of some large and impressive structures. Note too that they lowered the arms of these beasts to make it possible to fit under the various bridges. Can you imagine crossing the Pacific with those things up? My vote for the titanium testicles award goes to the captain and crew who crossed the ocean with 300' of unstable counterweight.
Tuesday, October 24th, 2000 email@example.com