Sea Princess (II), Navigator of the Seas & Queen Mary 2
On the 16th June 2007 two of the largest ships in the world were in Southampton as well as Sea Princess.  Queen Mary 2 had unusually docked starboard on arrival but that had already been listed two days earlier.  Navigator of the Seas was docked the same way (nothing new) while Sea Princess was port.  The weather forecast had been rain but it was the opposite.  Despite the occasional thick cloud cover and slight chill in the wind it was actually very nice and the marina was packed.
All three were listed to sail at 5pm which we knew just wouldn't happen with two of them needing to turn around.  Although they had slackened one of Mary's stern ropes, it was Sea Princess which cast off first at around 5.05pm as we'd suspected.  She blasted but then was silent as she passed Navigator.
Once Sea Princess was safely out the way, Navigator headed slowly towards the turning circle.  As Sea Princess approached Mary, it was Mary who blasted first with Sea Princess reciprocating the gesture. Well I say blasted.  Seemed like the cold had given Mary's horn laryngitis as she struggled to get anything out any of the times.
After we finished watching Sea Princess, we noticed the rest of Mary's ropes had gone.  Slowly her pods frothed up the water making it hit the dock and there was a tug at the stern clearly to make sure she turned safely in this breeze, unless there's something they're not telling us.  A man nearby had me in hysterics with his repeating everything I'd said to my dad to his family, looking at Mary's webcam on his phone after I'd said it was a shame Pam was without Internet so couldn't get a great shot of Navigator and the classic how they dock starboard on arrival and they turn them around later in the day so they're the right way leaving.  No idea how they find the time for that then!  Don't you just love them?  It really makes ship stalking so much fun.  Mary slowly eased herself away from the dock and headed towards the turning circle.
Once Mary had positioned herself she decided to surprise us by turning with her bow facing us!  A very rare event, more than docking starboard.  I know of her doing at least once in the past when I watched her webcam but have never been down the marina at the time.  We were expecting her to flash her big backside at us as normal.  Meanwhile Navigator got so far turning then ground to a halt while Mary did her stuff.
Finally at nearing 6pm, Navigator was able to finish her own turn, head out and follow Mary towards the Solent.  Disappointingly neither blasted!  Perhaps there was more to Mary's laryngitis than we thought.  No idea what the excuse for Navigator was.
About ten minutes before the above photo, we finally heard Navigator blast as she responded to the Shieldhall who was returning from a trip.  Below is the saviour of the day!

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© Patricia Dempsey 16th June 2007
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