To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Hong Kong

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Apart from being Rememberance Sunday aka Vetreran Day, yesterday was also the day for the annual Arround The (Hong Kong) Island Race organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. There were no maritime accidents as far as I know - No reports of container ships running down sailing boats nor ferry's colliding with pleaseure boats (Thank God). The Marine Department had issued clear Notices to Shipping and like last year, patrol boats were out sheparding yachts, outrigger cannoes and the like arround the island.

Middleburgh watches Outrriggers Between 9-10am the outriggers with their escorts hove into sight off of South Horizon ploughing 'westward ho' up the Channel and armed with my camera I waited for a photo opportunity like last year. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) there were no drama. In contrast, last year as I was drinking my coffee, Looking out my window watching the rowers racing past, one of the outriggers suddenly "stuttered" in mid flight and 4 member of its 6 man crew were tossed into the sea. I am not sure who was more shocked, myself or them. As scrambled for my camera I wondered in amazement at what the odds would be that I would be looking out the window at the precise moment that they got thrown into the briney . .

Middleburgh watches Outrriggers swimming
As I brought my camera to bear I realised that the outrigger although depleted in crew, was still powering on. Evidently the 2 remaining oarsman had no intention of conceding their position, Not like a horse throwing it's jockey. These guys were taking advantage of the reduced weight . Nor for that matter was the following outigger going to stop and give assistance - it was left to one of the escort boats.

It then became obvious what had happened. A local fishermen of whom there are many in Aberdeen, had laid a line of lobster pots just off shore and had properly flagged them. It would appear that the outrigger crew who were obviously unfamiliar with the ways of the local fisher folk were so preoccupied doing their "outrigging thing" that no one noticed the marker flag and instead of passing it by safely they overun it catching it on the leading "outrigger boom"' between the "Hull" and the "outrigger". It had similar affect to the arresting wire on Aircraft carriers which catch landing aircraft, or alternatively a bungee cord attched to a jumper. The cannoe came to an abrupt halt until it's momentum carried it over the marker by which time the crew had been catepaulted into space.

On the moral of this story is ... Wear your glasses and watch were you're going !!!

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