Queen Mary 2 Maiden Call To Fremantle & Athena
A Day in My Life as a Ship Stalker

So I had once again been roped into chasing a ship by Patricia who is a bona fide ship stalker.  I am the one who suffers through her obsession usually when she is visiting.  Still, she had dropped a number of very unsubtle hints about the Queen Mary 2’s presence here in Perth – unsubtle as in directly telling me!  As she got me in a state of weakness I agreed to try and held her out with some photos.  I’m too nice for my own good.  So Sunday, 14th March 2010 saw me heading for Fremantle to see, of all things, a ship! (I so want to say ‘boat’ there just to annoy her!)

I finally managed to arrive down in Fremantle at 5pm, which the last I knew was to be the sailing time as I was held up with other things and couldn’t make it any earlier.  As it was, there wouldn’t have been much point in arriving earlier as we had to wait for another half hour before there was any indication anything was going to happen.

The first hassle was just trying to get into the flow of the traffic to get down the wharf area.  There were a LOT of people who decided that this was a good thing to do – ogle the Queen Mary 2.  Parking was at a premium so it was a case of grab what you could, when you could.  People were parking in places and then sitting on their cars, some even on the roof to just watch.  Mind you, this was from the other side of the train tracks across from the berths even.
I walked over the tracks to get closer and fought my way through the crowds.  There was a mixture of people there – from elderly to young, with photo taking being the common past times.  Water sprays were in continuous use by the boats – and I’m sure most of the spectators wished that some of that spray drifted their way as it was quite a warm day.  A plane was circling overhead with a big red banner saying farewell to QM2.
Never being one to pass up a good opportunity, Fremantle had put on a mini-carnival along the wharf with food stalls, kiddy rides, clowns, face painting, and a couple of stages set up for bands.  One of them was quite good and easy to listen to, and they had dressed up as pirates which was amusing.  As the E Shed markets are here anyway and run on weekends there was enough there to keep people amused for some time and ensure they probably remained there until the QM2 sailed.  At about 5.40pm there was finally ‘movement at the station’ and we could see QM2 begin to sidle away from the side.  She let out three blasts of her horn, and as she slowly pulled away she was sent on her way with replies from various vessels still alongside.  The spectators cheered and waved flags, and all were merry.
At this point I did a quick run along the berths heading for the Maritime Museum at the end, dodging the thick of the crowds as much as possible.  Of course, the ships nowadays move at a reasonable clip so it was a bit of race to see who would make it first – me or QM2.  Needless to say, I won - but only by a breath!

As the QM2 passed the end of the Maritime Museum she was followed by the usual flotilla of boats – looking like a hoard of ducklings following their mama. A Big Mama, at that!  Photos were becoming a little more difficult at this stage as she was naturally sailing directly into the sun.

Finally she exited and turned to head for the open water and the rest of the crowd dispersed.  And that’s all, folks, as they say!

Back to Stalking Index

© Juanita Adie-Cooper 14th March & Liner Lovers 27th March 2010
Not to be reproduced without permission