As you can imagine, this industry brings protest and activism, and understandably so. The coal industry is problematic on a number of levels, and for some the continuing connection of newcastle to the mining and export of coal is something to be lamented. I understand this position, and from the position of ecology and sustainability, I support it wholeheartedly.
(This photo hunted from here)
I have asked a few folk about the ships over the past few days - about what they think about their presence. They have told me about watching them as they surf, listening for their horns to know if they are too close to someone else, explained the craziness of the beached Pasha Bulka. Bar none, they have loved them. Loved watching them. These ships that are guided by equally impressive pilot boats, that are such a part of the Newcastle coastline, landscape, cityscape, of the culture and fabric of this town. They are part of the way that Newcastle is not like everywhere else. The way that people here are connected to the economics and industries that have been such a part of Newcastle's past, and which continue to be, in a multitude of unavoidable and intertwined ways, a part of its present.
(Like a small child, I waved at the driver of this pilot boat. No, really. I did.)