Saturday, July 16, 2011

James Bond versus The Wash Monster?

click photo to enlarge
I have a few rules of thumb for choosing the films that I watch. One of them is is that if the film's trailer includes a shot of a couple running from a building, usually a wooden structure, that suddenly explodes in a ball of orange flame and shattered timbers, throwing them forwards to the ground - but leaving them unscathed - then I know it's not for me. Consequently you won't be surprised to hear that I'm not a fan of the James Bond franchise. However, the regularity and ubiquity of the 007 offerings is such that I have, at various points in my life, seen clips, longer sections and occasionally a whole film starring the all-action hero. Therefore, when I saw this motorized parachute (also called a paramotor) buzzing The Wash Monster off the beach at Hunstanton, Norfolk, I wondered if the the suave spy was on a mission for her majesty. I knew it couldn't be 007 when a second paramotor swooped down and did the same thing: a man of Bond's calibre doesn't need a partner to accomplish his missions of derring do!

Until I visited Hunstanton last week I wasn't aware of The Wash Monster, a 60-seat, ex-U.S. military amphibious vehicle that gives calm-weather rides on The Wash. But, the deep thump of its motor, the gaze of onlookers and a huddle of people on the promenade next to its booking office, soon brought it to my attention. I've seen ex-military DUKWs on the River Thames in London, and I've heard of their use elsewhere in the UK, but this is the only one I've seen operating on the sea, and it's certainly the biggest I've come across.

I took a few more shots of the vehicle after it had lumbered up on to the sand, one of which I include. There's also another shot of the skilful, if a touch imprudent, paramotorist.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Photo 1
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 228mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On