For weeks now I have watched party and restaurant boats leaving the Docklands on Friday and Saturday nights. Last night while eating dinner I noticed one loading up with passengers and I noted the time so I could plan a recording session. Tonight I came out at 7pm in time to catch on of the boats loading up and preparing to go. This allowed me to capture a good amount of material over the 20 minutes it took to get ready. Using the hydrophone I got tons of material of its engine running underwater, as well as some material with the H4Ns built in mics to capture the surface sounds.
When the boat finally manoeuvred out of the docks I got a good sample of its engines as it reversed and moved out. Just as the main boat was pulling away a second boat headed in. This gave me a great opportunity to capture two boats and to be able to compare the differences in sounds. I could really understand how navel personnel could tell what type of boat they were near by the sound of the screws (propellers) the incoming boat was much older and I could hear that its motors were not running as smoothing as the first boat. I now want to sample some more boats so I can get a selection of different boat sounds.
I also captured the bilge pumps pumping out water onto the wharf. I think I might contact some of the boat operators to see if I can get access to one of the boats during one of its outings, I would like to record the sounds inside the boat as it runs, and especially the engine room if possible. I also plan to get down to station pier and record the spirit of Tasmania as it heads out. This is a much larger ship size vessel that transports people and vehicles between Melbourne and the Northern tip of Tasmania. I’d love t o record some naval vessels, but I am not sure they would be too happy about having the sounds of their ships being recorded. Something for the future maybe.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences