On the 22nd September 2009 I had a Facebook message from my friend Jo Biza telling me she and her partner Andy were on the way down to go on Aurora and suggested meeting up at the Novotel at 10am the next day.  The last I'd heard nearly a week before was she was having trouble getting insurance due to her health so was delighted she was able to make it after all.  Due to a late bus pulling over beside me to let me on (when I was going for the next) I ended up getting an earlier ferry than planned so had to kill time at Town Quay with a so-so cheese and cucumber sandwich from the cafe.  I'd had no breakfast and it was better than fish finger and whatever-it-was.
I missed the free bus so caught a taxi.  Jo and Andy were still having breakfast.  My friend Andy knocked off from the ferry at 9am.  After a trip to the dentist to get a problem tooth sorted a second time, he picked us all up at the hotel at noon and took Jo and her Andy to Mayflower Terminal.  All these Andy's in the car was getting confusing!  My Andy said he hadn't been down there for a few years and noticed the old Martini/Bacardi bottling plant was no more.
Later I waited for my dad by the ferry yard, grabbed some chips (since I'd not eaten since that sandwich), couple of cakes and headed to the marina to wait.  As well as Jo and Andy there was also Tracey onboard to try and find with the camera as they sailed by.  Part of the marina was closed off but I didn't see any work going on.
We decided to go the other side for something different.  Aurora was due to leave at 4.30pm and we worried about the weather.  The wind wasn't too bad but again there were ominous low, dark clouds and it had drizzled on and off since I'd left the house.  There were about eleven people down, including us, and it was deathly quiet except when one bloke was on the phone to someone onboard.  A few minutes late, Aurora gave a couple of blasts and slowly moved away from the dock.  Everyone was off and now came the fun!  I often think it's those who have NEVER cruised who believe it's a piece of cake seeing someone on the shore or ship.  It isn't!
I noticed the tug Sussex trailing her down Southampton Water and wondered if it was due to her breaking down in New York on the 8th.
So off she went for Belgian chocs from Zeebrugge, Paris from Le Havre and illusionist Derren Brown (the only reason Jo booked what is now her second cruise) with no further problems.  I couldn't see Jo and Andy in the photos but think I got Tracey.  To see my friend Howard's photos of the events in New York, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 23rd September 2009
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