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The Pilot's Bicycle

As the Condor Express headed out of Poole Harbour, heading past Swanage and then south to the Channel Islands, it slowed to let the pilot off. As it throttled back the waiting Pilot Boat pulled alongside, matching speed with the massive catamaran ferry - bright orange against the blue green Channel.

Camera in hand, I leaned out over the ferry's railings to photograph the pilot's leap from ship to boat. The seas were relatively calm, so I wouldn't have long before the boat peeled away back to port.

Pilot Boat

What I didn't expect to see was the pilot handing his bicycle to the boat crew, who then proceeded to juggle it for a while, before finally stowing it safely on board.

The Pilot's Bicycle

It all actually made sense, when you think about the size of a ferry port, with wide expanses of concrete for cars to line up before loading - and buses that carry the passengers on board. How else is the pilot going to get from the pilot house (in a completely different part of the port) to the ferry?

Off Swanage, Dorset
August 2010