Norwegian Jade, Oceana (II), Independence of the Seas & Black Watch (III)
On the 23rd August 2008 it was almost a carbon copy of the 26th July, Norwegian Jade was in QEII starboard yet again while, Independence of the Seas was in 101, Oceana was in the usual 106.  Black Watch made up the numbers in 104.  Jade was listed to sail at 4pm, Oceana and Indy at 4.45pm and Black Watch at 5pm.  But would things go to plan?  Do me a favour!  These are ships we're talking about!
We spotted work in progress at last on the new terminal site after months of seemingly nothing.  I had gone over to meet my then boyfriend from the QE2, Patrick Patton, the day before but forgot to check.  Maybe it will open in April after all.
At 3.30pm we knew things were beginning to go awry.  Jade did her eight bells half an hour late!  By this time there weren't that many people down the marina, although there was a mother with two kids who were quite amusing.  She thought the dredger Donald Redford - that beast which hit the pier in 2003 - was a tug.  She asked her son what he wanted to do.  "Stay here until they go," he replied.  "I'm NOT staying that long!" she declared.  That child clearly has taste but they didn't stay.  Well VTS changed Jade's departure time to 4.30pm, giving every lucky bugger onboard the chance to enjoy their pool barbecue as it was a nice day.  Not as hot as the previous one but dry and sunny at least despite the wind.  Last time we had gone down she went to the turning circle rather than back into the Itchen.  When she docked there again on the 9th August, it was a rotten day with torrential rain and gales but she did it!  What would she do today?  At around 4.40pm she cast her ropes and moved slowly away from the dock silently.  Usually she gives at least one blast.  Then she did it - she began reversing to an audience of the hundreds of tourists who suddenly turned up!!!  Oh how we loved that ship today!!!!  Pity she couldn't have done for us it a month ago but better late than never.
As Jade did her stuff, up in Western Docks Oceana blasted at 4.50pm.  No sign of movement from Indy and she hadn't done the eight bells on the horn either for a change.
As our favourite, Lady Madeleine, passed on the way back to the kennel, Jade gave three blasts.  This was a wonderful surprise as she normally only gives one as she's moving off.
Poor Hotspur IV.  Tethered again while Great Expectations was back on the route after just over three glorious months.  No idea exactly when it happened but Hotspur was running at lunchtime, Great Ex by the time we got there.  Bring back Hotspur!!!!  She's the best!!!!
Once Oceana was safely past Indy, she began to move.  Meanwhile Black Watch also threw her ropes and slowly edged towards the turning circle.
So another day over and by the time Black Watch had gone it was getting quite chilly.  I was glad I'd taken a jacket as we walked back into Hythe centre.

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© Patricia Dempsey 23rd August 2008
Not to be reproduced without permission