What’s a Tai-Tai to do on the rare occasion that she actually has to tend to her own offspring?
Well, Baby T-T and I recently found ourselves with a morning to spare between spa manicures (me) and Suzuki Method violin (him), so decided to head east for a breath of fresh-ish air and a slice of Hong Kong history aboard the Fireboat Alexander Grantham.
If you’ve ever been on a Sai Kung-bound junk trip, you may have noticed this striking red relic of Hong Kong’s maritime history dry-docked in front of Quarry Bay Park. Alternatively, you may have been too busy getting stuck into the Sea Breezes to notice. Either way, the Alexander Grantham has been sited there since 2006, a few years after it was decommissioned as a working vessel, and has been open to the public as a museum since 2007.
Once you clamber aboard, you’ll see that the layout has been left largely untouched, with a series of small rooms to explore, each with its own specific purpose. These include the galley (ooh, get me with the nautical terms!), a medical room, the officers’ sleeping quarters and even the heads (there I go again!), which managed to look more appealing than many hotel loos that we encountered during our time living in Shanghai.
Each room has a plaque with some basic information about its purpose, alongside displays of the original equipment carried on board. Outside, you can wander the lower and upper decks and admire a fabulous view of Victoria Harbour from the east. Baby T-T enjoyed bombing around upstairs pretending to be a fireman, and was only briefly narked when I wouldn’t let him clamber up a near-vertical staircase that was out of bounds (we learned all about “No Entry” signs that day).
Once you exit the ship, there is a small gallery below the boat, featuring real-life footage of the Alexander Grantham in action, interviews with serving firemen and comparisons with the AG and its replacement, the Fireboat Elite, which usually be found moored up at Central’s Pier 1 – when it’s not at sea dealing with fires, obvs. Baby T-T now avidly looks out for the Elite every time we’re on the ferry, and shrieks “Fire! Mummy, fire!” at the top his lungs whenever he spots it. (Yup. Sorry for the alarm, fellow ferry-goers).
Overall, this was a fun distraction for 20 or so minutes, and as admission is free, makes for a nice bolt-on if you’re planning a visit to Quarry Bay Park with the kids. We headed to the fabulous (and huge!) playground in the eastern part of the park after our visit, before grabbing lunch at the ever-reliable Pizza Express at Taikoo Shing, followed by a ride on the ding-dings down to North Point.
Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday to Sunday (closed Tuesdays), 10am – 6pm
The Fireboat Alexander Grantham, Quarry Bay Park, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong; 2367 7821