Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pontoon poltroonery

Finally, someone else has noticed that a floating barrier stretched across Dubai Creek provides an impenetrable obstruction for boat traffic. Not a problem for the abra service; these motor up and down between Bur Dubai and Deira, and can refuel at the dhow moorings next to Maktoum Bridge. Getting to the abra maintenance yard at Jadaf is a bit more tricky. Presumably the RTA in its mercy considers that an abra can make that journey in the middle of the night. The same attitude has clearly been imposed on boat owners with their gin palaces berthed at enormous expense in Dubai Creek and Festival City marinas. It's impossible to get to and from the sea except in the middle of the night. I was planning to use a boat to view this year's Flugtag in November, but boat access from Jumeira to Creekside Park is now impossible at a reasonable hour.

Any thoughts of going fishing (or diving, or water-skiing) on a Friday, perhaps, are scuppered very early in the morning because the creek is blocked by 6am. OK, on Fridays the floating bridge isn't open to road traffic until 9am. Nevertheless, assuming a start at some ungodly hour, it'll be a very long day, not getting back until after 10pm. Suppose the weather turns a bit ugly during the early afternoon. Do we have to sit on our boats in the creek and wait for perhaps ten hours until the floating bridge is opened for maritime traffic? It would seem so.

The new Garhoud Bridge is being built with plenty of air draught so that the taller vessels can access Festival City marina. It eliminates the need to use the lift span on the existing Garhoud Bridge. In an unprecedented attack of forward planning, Business Bay Bridge is similarly provided with loads of headroom. Unfortunately, apparently no-one has noticed that Maktoum Bridge has limited headroom, except for a lift span that only ever gets opened during the wee small hours, and then only with special permission and the inevitable form-filling.

Traffic chaos will ensue while I move my sloop Grum P down the creek to the Gulf. Both Maktoum and the floating bridges will have to be opened while I pick my way delicately between the buoys and gulls some time after the witching hour.

And another thing. It's already over five nautical miles from Festival City marina to Shindagha. That's at least an hour's travel at the maximum speed limit in the creek, not including evasive action to avoid the abra fleet's Brownian motion. It'll be over 6.5nm at 5 knots once the reclamation at Palm Deira is complete.That's nearly three hours of valuable leisure (or maritime business) time just getting to and from the ocean.

What seems likely to happen? Despite the appalling shortage of marina berths along Dubai's ever-increasing waterfront, it seems more than possible that Festival City could have enormous difficulty in drumming up customers for its marina. Perhaps the clients that are attracted intend not to use their boats, except as floating Tupperware platforms for the sole purpose of consuming Bombay Sapphire.


ninjacamel said...

may be it is intended to work like Hotel California...i.e. it is "programmed to receive; you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave..."

Mme Cyn said...

As someone somewhere at some point said, perhaps the floating bridge is merely a stop-gap measure made to alleviate traffic and make Salik look successful by providing a temporary place for people to cross. Perhaps when the new Garhoud is finished, they will replace the floating bridge with a real one and -- shudder-- upgrade the Maktoum AGAIN! (oh, gee -- no planning there last time...)

Harsha said...

As far as I know the floating bridge is a temp one until the Garhoud one is finished

Seabee said...

Yes, it is a temporary bridge they say. That doesn't help anything much move along the Creek in the meantime though, as Mr Goat points out.
Thinking that through was a move too far, the evidence says they can only look at one thing at a time.


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