Black Prince (II), Ventura & Queen Mary 2
The day Black Prince was originally due to sail to Venezuela was upon us, only she was going nowhere on the 23rd October 2009.  She was, in effect, in limbo sat in the QEII Terminal.  Ventura was in Ocean with Mary annoyingly the wrong way round in Mayflower.  She had been due to dock port but someone changed it to starboard.  I had breakfast mid-morning in John Lewis with my friend Andy and snapped the view.

Black Prince was looking more forlorn sat there with seemingly no work going on when me and my dad went down for the sailing.  My side was still hurting so we didn't go to the usual spot.  Instead we sat near the end.  Ventura and Mary were both for 4.30pm.

Hard to see in the photo below but the Fred Olsen house flag was STILL flying, meaning either something had gone wrong with the new owners or the handover would be just before she left.  Meanwhile the Hythe ferry had got caught in the wash of the NYK container ship which was heading out and having a bumpy time!

As we waited two beautiful swans swam by.  I pointed my camera at them and told them to say something.  One made a noise and lifted its leg out the water as if waving before putting it back under.

Mary had another tender down.  She was making a habit of leaving with one in the water and we wondered why.  There were a few people about in the cold but 4.30pm came and went with no movement, apart from the tender.  VTS had Mary as gone when her fat backside was still there.  Almost fifteen minutes late, Ventura threw her first ropes and they were all gone eight minutes later.  If she blasted before backing out we didn't hear it.

Oh dear.  With the washes from Ventura and Red Jet 5, poor, crappy Great Expectations was in for another very bumpy ride!  Hold tight, everyone!

It just HAD to get in the shot, didn't it?  Bloody banana!  Mind you, there's only one reasonably pretty ship in the photo and it's not the banana or Ventura.  Meanwhile on the ferry, Andy was watching the P&O as they neared the pontoon before turning his attention back to his job.

And so the silent Ventura went on her way leaving Mary still motionless.  People began to leave as time dragged on.  We were on the verge of doing the same since she was almost an hour late so it would be getting dark by the time she reached us when she FINALLY threw the ropes!  As the light was fading, we went to the lock end.  I didn't have my tripod and there were no good flat places to put the camera on my end.  The whole idea had been to get Black Prince under Mary's vast bow but this was now going to be harder.  A few people remained with cameras and videos but as the sun went down, it became colder.

As the ferry left the pontoon I noticed someone climb up the top to take the flag down.  Since I was further away than usual, I couldn't tell if it was Andy or bearded Phil until I got home.  It was Andy and he's braver then me doing all that on a moving vessel!

Rather annoyingly, even though she kept everyone waiting by thinking she was Lizzie, she didn't even blast to make up for it.  There was a little parp from somewhere but that was it and we weren't even sure of the direction.  Even a little further on when she was parped by a Red Funnel, she kept her gob shut.

I do wish someone would tell Mary she cannot act the diva until she's about twenty!  She needs to earn it yet has been behaving that way for the past couple of years.  Maybe this time she was protesting was because Cunard tried to fool the uninitiated into believing she was five years old during her previous cruise when it was the 12th January.  Then we went home to warm up.  To see photos of Black Prince's arrival the week before, click here.


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© Patricia Dempsey 23rd October 2009
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