Navigator of the Seas, Queen Mary 2 & Oceana (II)
Summer officially returned to the south coast on the 25th August 2007 after going on its own holiday for the past couple of weeks.  Phew what a scorcher, as they say in our papers!  It was flipping boiling down the marina with hardly any breeze and was pretty packed as well.  Quite a few were tourists as apart from QM2, they had absolutely no idea what the ships were.  Well this day heralded a couple of firsts.  Navigator of the Seas was docked port rather than starboard!  Thud!  Taken them four months to get it right!!!!  And she was also due to pass Mary for the ONLY time this year thanks to them having her the wrong way all this time.  Oceana was also in Mayflower Terminal.
Navigator was due to leave at 4pm, the same as when I cruised on her and being port meant she'd be out quicker instead of time wasting.  The other two were both listed as 5pm.  They were doing tender drill on Mary as Navigator sounded eight bells for lifeboat drill.
I was getting a little annoyed by now as the camcorder, after filming putting it on standby then filming it again, would flash up, "Cassette Cleaning".  It had never done that before so naturally it was very worrying.  We put it to the back of our minds as we waited for Navigator to cast off while Mary did her own lifeboat drill.  Finally she did just over ten minutes late which was still better going than I had but looked very strange not trudging up to the turning circle after all these months of getting used to it.  Once she'd straightened and began to pass Mayflower Park she blasted three times.
And here was what we'd been waiting four very long ship stalking months for - passing!!!!  Disappointingly neither blasted.  How rude!  Okay so Carnival/Cunard and Royal Caribbean are rivals but it's been known to happen in the past.  Meanies!
Unusually rather than the Cross of St. George flying from the mast, today it was a Union Jack.  It made me wonder whether someone from Scotland or Wales had complained.
Mary, cheeky cow that she is, slipped a rope before the hour.  Keen to get away again, huh?  The rest didn't come off until gone 5pm and she blasted three times as she pulled away from the dock.  Oceana was still being bunkered and, as we heard lifeboat drill, knew she was going nowhere for at least another half an hour.  Once Mary was in the shipping lane and moved slowly forward she gave another three blasts.  That laryngitis has definitely gone.  Boy is she back to being loud!
We gave up with Oceana at 6pm after a call to VTS told us she would now be sailing at 6.45pm.  We actually heard her blast from home as she cast off then again fifteen minutes later.  However, while waiting I discovered the camcorder tape had been faulty so taped absolutely nothing - ARGH!!!!  Wish I'd known before but I saw no signs of it on the 8th August when I started it.  Damn technology! Anyway, Oceana passed the house at 7.15pm and was going extremely slowly even for her.  So that was my shippy day which started out so promising and ended up crap.

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© Patricia Dempsey 25th August 2007
Not to be reproduced without permission