1978 - Blake Pier | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1978 - Blake Pier

1978 - Blake Pier
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Sunday, August 6, 1978


This view of the outer section of Blake Pier takes me back to the late 1960s when it was my departure point for heading for work at 7-a.m. six days a week on a ‘Walla-Walla.’

Being the only Gwailo departing on it with a gang of company workers, the initial problem was determining which of the many similar looking Walla-Wallas jostling off the steps was the one I needed. This gradually resolved itself when my fellow passengers recognised I was with them on a daily basis and not a “boss”. Getting on the wrong Walla-Walla could find yourself being taken out to a cargo vessel in the mid-harbour under the impression that you were a seaman returning to his ship after a night ashore.

The 40-minute voyage out to our workplace gave an opportunity for most on board to eat their rice/noodle breakfasts and read the newspapers. I usually sat at the open back-end enjoying the near sea level view away from the noise and fumes from the diesel engine up front.

In the Spring, fog could be a problem as these vessels did not appear to have on board a compass with which to navigate. On one occasion after an hour and no sight of our destination, we stopped with engine shut-down listening to the engines and thrashing propellers of unseen vessels moving around us. The boat-boy stood on our roof trying to see above the fog, as we drifted past an outer harbour buoy far away from our normal route. Then the sun broke through the fog and the boat-boy gave a shout pointing to our destination where we arrived 90 minutes late.

These traditional types of Walla-Walla appear to have now disappeared from the harbour and replaced by conventional motor boats.

Blake Pier’s top deck was a very popular sitting-out area for office workers especially at lunchtime munching on the new McDonalds fast-food products from the popular nearby outlet on Connaught Road Central which seems to be in about the same location even today. A café/Bar was also on the top deck of the pier.