Dragon Boat Festival

I have been trying to arrange things to be in Hong Kong during the Dragon Boat Festival, and specifically the Aberdeen events.

Finally, this year, everything aligned, and yes, that includes the infamous weather gods, so with the rain finally stopping, I headed off.

The trip there is minor, just a quick ferry ride from Discovery Bay, followed by a walk to the Exchange Square bus terminal to the number 70 service.

Yes, I said bus, and no, I am not joking; the HK buses are excellent and basically free to ride; with the ride from the bus terminus to Aberdeen being about 30 minutes, the fare was under HK$10, which is about AUD$2. Back home in Sydney, that trip would be way more expensive.

Ok, enough of the public transport minor rant

So, arriving at Aberdeen promenade, it was not as crowded as expected. I had expected a repeat of the Kowloon New Years Eve, nightmare, but no, you could actually get to the waterfront.

Aberdeen Crowds - June 2024 Samsung SM-S908E, 6.4mm, f1.8, 1/950s. GPS: N:22° 12' 49.34" E:114° 9' 29.86"

From talking to several people, it seems that this year, the police put the barriers closer to the waterside than last year, when they were about a meter back.

Dam, I was a little late arriving, so missed the extra-long dragon boats going through the races. When I arrived they were just finishing off.

Long Dragon Boats - June 2024 Samsung SM-S908E, 2.2mm, f1.8, 1/1600s. GPS: N:22° 12' 49.34" E:114° 9' 29.86"

Yes, I said extra-long, and I really mean it; these are 90 feet long, whereas the normal ones are much smaller. I'll have more on this later, as I need to do some research.

Being a little late to the party, I was talking to some locals, who let me know the normal-sized boat races were about to start and pointed me in the right direction.

While the crowds were heavy, no way as bad as they could have been, so off I went, and I even got a spot fairly close to the races.

Long lens in hand, er well, its 200mm but still better than some

While on the subject, one of the things I really like about HK is the popularity of photography, and this festival is a classic example. Many people were using very high-end cameras, lenses, etc.

Photography being what it is, multiple people saw me wandering with my D850 and 200mm lens and struck up conversations.

Dragon Boats - June 2024 Nikon D850, 80-200@200, f5.6, 1/1250s. GPS: N:22° 14' 48.94" E:114° 9' 29.56"

Just as the first race started, the sun went in, AH those weather gods really hate me. ⛈️

Dragon Boats - June 2024 Nikon D850, 80-200@200, f5.6, 1/1250s. GPS: N:22° 14' 48.94" E:114° 9' 29.56"

But still plenty of opportunities for photo ops, and so far the rain had held off, although the sky was looking ominous.

Dragon Boats - June 2024 Nikon D850, 80-200@200, f5.6, 1/1250s. GPS: N:22° 14' 48.94" E:114° 9' 29.56"

The rain started after I managed to see a few races and took a few more photos, so I decided to head for Stanley and see what I could see with the races there.

Heading for the bus stop, I came across something unexpected outside what looked like a motorcycle repair shop.

Security - June 2024 Samsung SM-S908E, 6.4mm, f2.4, 1/100s. GPS: N:22° 14' 50.78" E:114° 9' 29.94"

These guys are popular, as while waiting for the bus, many people stopped to say hello, and the cats seemed to enjoy the attention. Someone, who I think may have been the owner, pointed at them and said with a smile, “Security” 😂

Anyhow, the bus arrived and off to Stanley.

Well, that was a fun trip, a totally packed bus vs narrow and twisting streets, but still, I got to see more of HK island than usual. So worth the trip.

Getting to Stanley, it was packed worse than I have ever seen, with the police directing people.

Stanley - June 2024 Samsung SM-S908E, 6.4mm, f2.4, 1/100s. GPS: N:22° 13' 6.73" E:114° 12' 50.60"

Regardless of the crowds, I headed down the hill.

The bad news was that it got even worse the further down the hill I went, so there was zero chance of seeing anything here, let alone taking photos.

Now, why did they not hold the races on the other side of Stanley, where there is a wide-open waterfront?

Oh, well, it's Stanley, so it’s time to look around the markets.