Arcadia (IV) & Black Watch
Another unplanned stalking trip happened on the 20th September 2009.  Peter Knego was flying in to go on Black Prince two days later followed by Saga Rose as a lecturer when they returned on the 2nd October.  So we arranged to meet up.  I'd been on Lizzie when he was last over in June 2008 for Eurodam so missed him.  Arcadia and Black Watch were in, both listed to sail at 4.30pm.  Unusually Black Watch was in Mayflower instead of City, meaning she'd time waste by going all the way down to turn.  I went over on the ferry to Town Quay where I'd wait for him.
As I waited for the ferry to come back I noticed someone was cleaning Hotspur!  What a shame she wasn't running.  Peter would love that old classic.  Maybe when he's back she will be.
It's nicer when the ships are bow out that shoving their great bums in your face, especially Mary.  As we were passing Arcadia, Andy pointed out her lifeboats in the water.
I wandered along a bit past the Red Jet terminal for a photo.  I did ponder going to the end but decided not to.  If there was time I'd take Peter down there after he arrived.  The weather was changing all the time.  Sunny and warm, cloudy and cold.  Clouds would be ominous but thankfully the rain held off.  Then I returned to the ferry part.
Phill was on Town Quay change duty.  He's originally from Port Elizabeth in South Africa so we discussed the troubles, especially since I'd gone over just six months before apartheid really kicked off.  He explained its whole misconception in the western world.  He left in the mid-80s, not being able to take it any more and doesn't want to go back.  Then the subject returned to local matters as we looked at Arcadia.  He told me the pilots wanted the new terminal built on the site of the old one due to the prevailing winds but the port owners wouldn't listen and that location causes them no end of problems.  He was also filling me in on ferry crew stories, winding each other up.  Andy was giving him cheek (what's new?) so he called for him to write out the tickets instead.  Those two are as bad as each other!
A boat came out of the marina pretty fast while one went in slower.  Next thing a police boat emerged from the same area.  The ferry came back and forth, having a half hour break in the meantime.  When we'd been over for the late arrival of Grand Princess a couple of weeks earlier, Andy had mentioned a broken pontoon.  I couldn't see it.  Phil talked about the same thing and actually pointed it out.  Each time the ferry or Red Jet came in, we'd go out and watch the wash to see if it caused it to bob up and down.  Only once disappointingly.  But I was trying to catch it with no success.  You really couldn't see it from the right side so I went the other and took a photo of it motionless.  I think Phil's right and it won't last the winter.
Peter arrived at three as the ferry returned after the break.  The queue was too big though so I told him we'd get the next and we could take a wander down to the end while we waited.  We collected Mike, who was at the cafe.  I hadn't met Mike when I was in LA last year so it was nice to finally to.
I saw the ferry heading back so we returned to wait.  Phil doesn't shut the gate like Andy so I suggested to Peter I go on down to be first on while they buy their tickets because I know where to stand for photos.  When the boys got them they joined me.  On the ferry Andy told us the skipper and Stewart had seen me taking pictures of the boat and checking my watch and believed I was doing a time and motion study.  He said I was!  Then Stewart appeared from somewhere giving me a steely glare and didn't take his eyes off me for a long time.  Either that or he thought Andy was sucking up to get a good report.  We waited on the pier and my dad eventually turned up.  Luckily Arcadia was late sailing.  With the Gruesome Twosome in the way it made it difficult to tell if she was moving.  Eventually, nine minutes late, she was but didn't blast.  Black Watch had been moved back to 5pm.
As Arcadia passed the pier she gave five long blasts!  Peter had gone down the end and when he came back I remarked she did it just for him.  He replied he appreciated it.
We went to sit down and wait.  It was a good job the ferry was running an extra hour due to the boat show otherwise Peter and Mike would have to go.  A pigeon above was taking an interest in Peter, or maybe it was his tripod.  Both the boys were knackered after the flight and day so it was a relief when Black Watch slowly slipped away from the dock and moved forward.
Disappointingly Black Watch hadn't blasted.  As we waited for the 6.15pm ferry which was imminent, one of the tugs started its water spray to signify the end of the boat show for another year - HOORAY!!!!  We get Mayflower Park back!!!!!  Andy and now the other Phil were about to go back on the ferry while Peter and Mike were on the pier so me and my dad yelled madly at Andy tell him there were still two to come.  So that was that.  We were on the train when the ferry pulled away so I hope Andy behaved himself with Peter and wasn't cheeky.  It had been a great day all round and a better few hours with Peter and Mike.

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© Patricia Dempsey 20th September 2009
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