Queen Mary 2
On the 11th November 2008, we went out on a cold afternoon day to say goodbye to the QE2.  Exactly a year later it was for QM2, except it was just au revoir until January.  We couldn't help but make a few comparisons to that day, especially the weather.  It was cloudier and far colder than a year earlier.  We decided to go to Town Quay, and at least the day wouldn't be as long.  Well, providing the bugger stopped pretending to be Lizzie and actually left on time!  Now that WOULD be a first over the past couple of years!  There were just four on the ferry plus Stewart and the skipper but loads waiting at Town Quay.  The tug Lady Madeleine pulled away from Dock Head and appeared to be following us.  She was, in fact, going to attach to the car carrier blocking the view of Mary.

She was flying the Royal Mail pennant, something I'd never seen on her before.  Easy to miss when she was docked port at QEII.  But even this year starboard and in the new terminal, I'd not seen it.

We stopped in the cafe for a quick bite to eat while we waited for 4.30pm.  My friend Gary found us.  He was on his way home.  We had a brief chat then he went to catch the ferry.  We went out and there were a few people around, but generally they would take a photo then leave.  As seems to be the norm before sailing, there was a tender down waiting to be hoisted up after Mary moved.  Two blokes near us were discussing ships but quoting things they'd read such as you can hear Mary's whistle ten miles away (generally untrue since it depends on wind and if she has power in it or not).  They talked about Caribbean cruises yet didn't know where she was going after New York.  But the classic was one calling the tender a dinghy while the other never corrected him!  As we waited and waited the windchill made the cold feel almost as bad as January.  Fingers were going numb.

Seventeen minutes late she cast her first ropes.  Then nothing.  We waited and waited.  The party band onboard was having a whale of a time it appeared, various passengers taking photos of something.

Seven minutes later, at 4.54pm, the remaining ropes all went.  She gave three short blasts to indicate reversing.  It wasn't a strong blast.  More like deep-throated raspberries.

As she moved forward while still hoisting the tender, she gave three more throaty raspberries.  It was quite hard to hear her and fingers were frozen by now.

I'm particularly pleased with the final shot.  We were on the ferry coming back to Hythe and had the wash of Huelin Endeavour to contend with as that was slightly ahead, as well as wind and I aimed the camera at the distant shape.  All my other attempts were appalling and deserved deleting.  As Mary sailed into the distance I couldn't help be reminded of her elder sister last year.  At least Mary would be coming back, which is more than can be said of Lizzie.

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© Patricia Dempsey 11th November 2009
Not to be reproduced without permission