Oriana (II) & Queen Mary 2
QM2 had joined the ranks of dented Cunard ships on the 21st July 2009.  While on a four night cruise, a sudden squall happened in Zeebrugge causing her bow lines to break.  Some tugs helped her into the berth but she'd had a scrape aft starboard side.  They did a patch up job and she continued to Rotterdam a few hours late.  Upon her return home on the 24th she was docked starboard in QEII.  Since the new terminal opened she's never in her old berth so we'd planned to go down to get her hopefully reversing again and try out my new camera properly.  Then we heard about the accident and couldn't wait to see how they fixed it.  Oriana was also in and both were due to sail at 4.30pm.  It was busy on the water and surrounding area.  There was the tug Shannon at Hythe, who began service in 1981 and had been sold by Svitzer to the Enviromental Monitoring Unit to be converted to a survey ship.  Then the R.V. Callista came up the water, which is used by the Oceanography Centre.  We also had the yacht Le Grand Bleu tied up in 49.

It was nice to see Mary where she should be.  The little Williams Shipping tug Wilanne was busy around her stern with a paint float, preparing to return it to wherever it's stored.

Then she had to stop due to the CMA CGM Turquoise heading towards the container terminal.  As we watched we were also keeing an eye on the weather.  The forecast had said heavy showers after 4pm and there were some ominous dark clouds about with some strong winds.  Slowly the marina built up.

Just before 4pm, we heard the eight bells of muster ringing from Mary.  Shortly afterwards we heard eight blasts on Oriana's horn.  They wouldn't be on time then!  Meanwhile little Wilanne continued with her task.

Lady Madeleine appeared from near her old kennel and headed towards Western Docks, we presumed for Oriana.  The clouds became more ominous over us by the minute while Wilanne returned then settled nearby fuel bunker Whitchallenger, which was still filling up Mary.

Over Oriana was a sudden rain shower which quickly headed in our direction and it was a mad rush finding the umbrellas in the bag and putting them up.  We learnt a long time ago to take them regardless because forecasts cannot be believed.  It is British weather after all.  Thankfully it didn't last more than a few minutes.

About 4.40pm Oriana began to move and her blastmania began.  She blasted further along as well, while Svitzer Sussex came away from the dock by Mary and hovered around waiting.

As Oriana neared Mary, round two of blastmania started!  Whoever had their finger on the button was clearly having a great time, while Mary struggled to keep up.  But then Cunard blasting is never as much or as fun as P&O and other lines.  We had some silence before more from Oriana.

Finally at 5.10pm, Mary was full and Whitchallenger unhooked!  The tug had been attached since Oriana passed waiting just like we had.

Things were looking up when she threw the first of her ropes ten minutes later but then nothing.  A police boat came along then loitered.  Typical Mary.  On the day Lizzie was moved to dry dock in Dubai, she continues to behave like her.

It was another ten minutes before the remaining ropes were cast, she sucked them up like spaghetti and she gave three blasts to indicate reversing.

She made the turn sooner than she had in April so it was much closer to the dock.  With the wind, we hoped there wouldn't be a repeat of Zeebrugge!

Waiting by the Gruesome Twosome was Autoprogress.  Once Mary finished her stuff, it would continue on its way, catching up and then passing, subsequently getting in many of my shots of the grand lady.

When the light caught her stern aft, you could see where they had painted over the damage.  At least, unlike QV's, immediately afterwards, it was something you could easily not notice if you didn't know about it like many of my fellow spectators.

And so the timeshare tennis ball was heading back across the Atlantic to New York so they could see where she scratched her itch.

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© Patricia Dempsey 24th July 2009
Not to be reproduced without permission