Silver Cloud & Silver Whisper
A first in Southampton on the 7th September 2011 when two Silversea ships would be in port together.  We were used to one at a time but more was exciting!  Both Silver Cloud and Silver Whisper had called already this year but now they would be reunited in the port and, not only that but in 105 and 106 respectively!  Originally they had been due for 6.30am with Whisper in 106 (Mayflower) and Cloud in 101 (City).  Someone had the better idea of putting them side by side instead.  Due to bad weather, timings changed with Cloud due for 6.45am while Whisper remained the same but Cloud would now be changed from port to starboard.  I had been in 105 on Artemis, back in 2008 with Oriana in 106 (also bow to bow) so knew the passengers aboard both ships in and out would love every second of the experience.  Cloud surprisingly arrived first, leading Whisper around the Solent and to their berths and they were minutes apart.
I had decided to watch them go at 6pm from the pier but, because they were now nose to nose, I reverted to the original plan of Town Quay and hoped my back would be okay.  It was very cloudy and still windy when we went over on the ferry, me getting a few of the gorgeous twosome through the open train door before boarding the boat.  Waverley was alongside 49, kept there since the day before by the weather with a hopeful sailing at 8am on the 8th.  There were also barriers erected by Red Funnel for people going to the Bestival event over on the Island (thank you Red Funnel on Twitter for answering my question).
The tug Bristol was already attached to Whisper while Bentley went to assist Cloud as we arrived.  We couldn't stand where we wanted because of a fisherpain but it worked out okay, apart from the Boat Show works.  Cloud went first around five minutes late, her and Whisper blasting to each other as she headed towards the turning circle.  It was so windy we could barely hear them.  Once she was safely out of the way, Whisper silently moved away from the berth, a helicopter whizzing over both of them, as she kept a slow speed to enable Cloud to catch up for photo opportunities.  We'd already had Red Falcon go by as they moved but that wasn't so bad.  Red Eagle arrived just as Whisper came to the Pier Head buoy!  Then more fisherpains turned up.  Grrrr!
Thanks to the fisherpains getting in the way, we went to the fence down the end to get them disappearing around Dock Head.
We caught the 7pm ferry back and it was much calmer oddly enough, though light fading despite the last-gasp attempt by the sun to appear.  Cloud was still in view - just! - then disappeared behind the tankers at Fawley while Whisper was easily seen rounding Calshot, Cloud trailing after her.
Home to warm up after that fabulous spectacle by Silversea.  Silver Whisper returns several times during 2012 but none of the others will call.  I wish they'd bring Silver Wind here at least once - she's the only one I haven't got!

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© Patricia Dempsey 7th September 2011
Not to be reproduced without permission