There’s no questionthe shipping industry has played a vital role in shaping Hong Kong. But despite having one of the busiest ports in the world, most of us know little about its inner workings. Hong Kong Yachting hopes to change that with the return of its popular Private Container Port Tour.
On Sundays in October, the tour takes place on-board Jungle Jane, the 45-person-capacity junk that’s one of the most popular in the company’s fleet.
Run by husband-and-wife team James and Jess Hargraves, the day trip caters to a crowd looking for something different from the usual junk trip. And guide James knows his ships. The New Zealander taps his 15 years in the industry to give guests insider information, taking them through the “Danger Zone”, where hazardous goods are moved and river barges operate. It’s here that maritime junkies can get an up-close view of the giant container ships (some are 350 to 400 metres long) in action. James will also share stories of what life is like for the crews.
“It gets really close to the action” says Jess, Hong Kong Yachting’s managing director. “We manoeuvre next to the huge container ships as they are loaded and unloaded.”
Lunch is a beach barbecue (think sausage sizzle, salads and dessert, plus wine, beer and soft drinks) and is followed by a stop at Ma Wan island, off the northern coast of Lantau. Once a thriving fishing and farming community bustling with seafood restaurants, the village is now a ghost town, its residents deserting the settlement to make way for development.
Jess says all age groups will love the tour and recommends visitors also get on-board. “Travellers should sign up – it’s just a different way to see Hong Kong,” she says. The tour starts at Central Pier, sails along Victoria Harbour to the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals before heading for Ma Wan island.
The ticket price – adults HK$900; children HK$760 – includes barbecue lunch and free-flowing drinks (alcohol included). Every Sunday in October from 11am-3.30pm. For details, go to www.hongkongyachting.com.