Sea Princess (II), Aurora & Boudicca
Quite a change of schedule on the 12th May 2007.  Originally Sea Princess was due in for 6.30am with departure 5pm then subsequently changed to 4.45pm.  However, the day before while the sailing remained the same, the arrival had now been put back to 11am.  There was no way realistically she could turnaround in under six hours.  So despite the sunshine and showers forecast with wind we decided to brave the marina.  We arrived just as Sea Princess was coming past Calshot while Aurora was in the usual 106 with Boudicca unusually in 38/9 AND portside rather than starboard and Sea Princess heading for 101.  We knew from the VTS radar she already had the Lady Madeleine tug attached since Nab when they picked up the pilot.  It was fairly breezy but tolerable.  Soon after Sea Princess passed Fawley refinery around 10am something very strange happened - she started to drift off course portside while still making her way towards the docks forward.     
By 10.10am she was starting to right herself and get back on course.
The Red Funnel ferries, normally so close to the ships coming in or out, were surprisingly quite far away so we guessed something was up.  More so when after the drifting incident, the tug Lyndhurst appeared and waited the other side of the pier for her.
Lyndhurst wasn't attached to the bow but Lady Madeleine was to the stern.  Lyndhurst just led the way closely in case of need.  Thankfully there were no more incidents.  Reports later in the day suggested the port shaft wasn't working while another said she was using just one engine.   
Rather than pass Aurora to get to the turning circle then go back down and dock, Sea Princess docked starboard, probably due to her lateness.

By 10.45am she was almost docked so we called it a morning. Then it started to rain!

So back in the afternoon for the sailings of Boudicca and Aurora.  It had warmed up a lot but was still a bit windy at times.  More people were there than the morning though still many left before anything moved.  We were in no doubt Sea Princess would not go at the designated time but also Boudicca would go first.  We thought for a while she would go early.  She cast off some of her ropes before five to but was still being loaded.  Meanwhile a Cobelfret Ferries transporter was on her way in.  Boudicca didn't care and after the last ropes where thrown in from the dockside, she began to be pulled out with two tugs rather than one as the Isle of Wight ferry was approaching.  She didn't blast but the transporter then stopped directly in front of us as Boudicca was moved to pass her.

Meanwhile Aurora was late because of the container carrier Santa Cristina.  Once that had passed, Aurora pulled out.  Normally I wouldn't put anything other than cruise ships on the site but as it was all go I am this time to show just how busy it was.
As Boudicca manouevred both Aurora and Santa Cristina stopped.  Once the transporter was on the move again, so were they.  Aurora gave many blasts but with the wind we could barely hear her.
As Aurora passed Sea Princess they blasted to each other.  With the wind and also their horns being fairly quiet it was really difficult to hear.
And then Aurora ground to a halt yet again before completing the pass as the transporter was moved towards berth 40 so Aurora could continue on her way while the transporter headed on past Sea Princess when it was safe to do so and towards her berth.
Now the fuel barge had finished it's work making Sea Princess by now an hour late while Aurora passed Hythe pier and Boudicca was almost out of sight.
As of the 13th May Sea Princess' cruise has been cancelled and she will be moving from her current berth into 46 the next day for repairs to her propulsion.  They hope she'll be fixed for her next cruise on the 26th.

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© Patricia Dempsey 12th May 2007
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