Ship Spotter Spotlight: Nektarios from Greece

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After such a chaotic and crazy year like 2020, we started the new year by returning to what we at truly care about. The answer came to mind immediately – Our community, of course! It is all those great people enjoying their time uploading unique vessel images and adding vessel information to the datasheets. You guys add value to our platform every day! Therefore, from now on, we would like to put the spotlight on our community members, introducing one ship spotter or maritime enthusiast every month on the corporate blog.

The community is growing! This month, we start with a new member joining in September 2020: Ship spotter phduck2k from Greece. He uploaded 120 vessel photos already and has been ship spotting practically all his life.

Please tell us about yourself and your ship spotting hobby.

My name is Nektarios Papadakis and I am a ship spotter and maritime historian based in Heraklion, Crete, Greece. I was born in 1972 and I work as the IT Manager for the Department of Biology, University of Crete, Greece. In addition to photographing ships, I am conducting historical research about Greek-owned shipping. I am a member of various Greek and foreign web sites and groups about ship spotting and maritime history, too.

When did you start vessel photography?

I have been ship spotting practically all my life. My 9 years older brother and I started in Rethymnon, Crete in late 1976. My brother was 13 years old and I was only 4! We started taking photos with a Kodak pocket camera and when we relocated to Heraklion in 1980 we bought a Soviet ZENIT camera, our first “proper” camera.

4 decades and many cameras later, I am still as enthusiastic as I was in the beginning. Sadly, my brother Emmanouil is no longer with us but I have an 11-year-old son, Konstantinos, who is just as enthusiastic about ships as me and takes great photos with his camera.

What’s your motivation to spot ships and photograph them?

Ships always fascinated me. I grew up by the sea in Rethymnon and my father was a professional fisherman there, so my earliest memories are walking in the port admiring the small cargo ships (499ers) that called there. It was only natural that photographing ships became a hobby of mine. When I was old enough to start searching for a vessel’s history, a whole new world opened for me, also learning about history and economics in the process. After all these years I can’t imagine myself without my hobby.

Right now I have a Nikon D5300 with various lenses and I also have a Nikon D3200 with an 18-200 lens for my son Konstantinos.

What’s your favorite vessel type to shoot?

I am interested in all types of vessels, with a special interest in tugs. I also have an interest for smaller vessels (workboats, barges, floating cranes, fishing vessels, tour boats, etc.) because information for them is hard to find, so they intrigue me to search for it.

I have approximately 25,000 negatives from 1976 to 2004 (when we went digital). So from that era, I have around 15000 different ships. The digital age provided us with the opportunity to take many shots of the same ship so it’s harder to calculate how many different vessel photos I have in the digital age, but I think around 20,000 would be correct.

What’s your favorite ship spotting location?

Piraeus of course! The main port and the surrounding ports/areas are always full of interesting ships. There is a mix of older and newer vessels of various types, shipyards, and laid-up ships, so you can move around photographing different subjects all day long without getting bored. I usually visit the area once or twice a year to meet with other ship spotters and friends there and photograph as much as I can. A great place for ship photographers in my opinion.

I visit Heraklion port every day and I go on frequent ship spotting trips all around Crete and once or twice a year to Piraeus and various other places.

Nektarios’ favourite vessel is the museum ship HELLAS LIBERTY laying in the port of Piraeus

What’s your favorite global spot to visit?

I have always wanted to visit the port of Singapore. Judging from the photos I’ve seen it’s an incredible place for a ship photographer. There are also many interesting “exotic” ships working in the wider area of South East Asia that call in Singapore Roads. I hope I will manage to go there someday.

Since I am new to, I just started uploading. My first photos were from my recent trip to Piraeus in August 2020. I have a lot of favorite photos that were taken all these years and they will be uploaded to FleetMon in the near future. So, lots of great photos to come, stay tuned!

Be part of FleetMon! Join our community to meet with other maritime enthusiasts. Provide vessel photos and datasheets to grow and improve our crowdsourcing platform even further!