Artemis, Queen Elizabeth 2 & Queen Mary 2
Summer appeared to have finally arrived on the 24th July 2007 after months of rain on and off and unforecast thunderstorms.  It was the annual Queens Day in Southampton apart from one problem - QM2 was docked starboard in 106 rather than port.  QE2 was in the usual terminal with Artemis in 101.  They were all listed to sail at 5pm so what would happen?  This was the third time in a row Mary was starboard so it didn't bode well.  In 2005 they moved Lizzie's departure time back an hour and a half but it didn't look like they would this year.  The marina got very packed with at least 300 people down to watch the Queens pass.  Would we all be disappointed?
Despite them all casting off their first ropes at 5.05pm, Artemis actually was free with Lizzie still attached.  Artemis slowly began to move out as they let the last of Lizzie's go.  Then Lizzie was pulled out sideways during which time Artemis blasted and Mary headed for the turning circle.
Lizzie blasted yet again as she passed us which was unexpected.  She was on a roll today.  Perhaps she was saying to Mary, "Try and catch me!" or something rude.
Lizzie blasted another four times and several people decided not to wait for the other two.  It was quite disappointing there was no passing as it was Mary's turn to pass her older sister.
Once Artemis had passed the pier she took us by surprise by blasting one more time.  Mary was still trudging around in the turning circle while Lizzie was getting near Fawley and would soon be out of sight.
Mary finally came out of the turning circle and as she straightened up, blasted.  She seemed to be having a bit of trouble again.  As she passed the QEII Terminal, she let rip again and it was certainly loud!
So despite the odd spit of rain the weather held out until all the ships had gone.  It then started as we were on the way home.  Thanks, Mary!  Or at least the idiot who decided to dock her starboard.  We've have been completely dry otherwise.  Oh well.  Such is ship stalking life come sun, rain, gales, cold.  No snow yet!

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© Patricia Dempsey 16th June 2007
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