Big Ass Cranes: Port of Long Beach tour

5 Aug

Apparently the port boat tours put on by the Port of Long Beach are POLB’s best-kept secret. Since I first heard about these tours I’ve tried to get reservations, but to no avail. Getting a spot on the free tour is harder than booking a campsite at one of California’s state park campgrounds. And that’s not easy. So, after begging asking a friend of mine who works at the port to see about getting a slot, I finally landed some seats. Excitedly, I spread this news far and wide. I finally got seats on the port tours!!!! In return everyone responded with, “Oh, what’s that?”

OK, enough of that nonsense. The tour takes you from inside the Long Beach harbor (by Shoreline Village) out past Pier J and into the Southeast Basin, the East Basin, the Middle Harbor, under the Gerald Desmond Bridge, into the Inner Harbor and back. A POLB employee narrates the whole tour, throwing out impressive facts about how much cargo moves through the port on a monthly and yearly basis. But the main thing is the sightseeing. The huge cranes used for loading/offloading the cargo ships are simply beautiful. What engineering. Luckily when we were out, we got to see several ships being loaded/unloaded. The whole process is a fantastic brutal ballet — you can see the crane operators swooping in and lowering the boom to lift the containers from the back of the trucks, make contact, connect and then lift the boxes skyward back toward the ship. The movement causes the containers to sway, but the operator uses the motion to swing the box into the stack on the ship, pulling up slack just in time to rest it on top of the container beneath it.

It’s really great stuff. The visuals are the best. Check out the pics.


One Response to “Big Ass Cranes: Port of Long Beach tour”

  1. ribshots August 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Great shots dood – I really like them!

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