Oceana (II), Independence of the Seas & Queen Mary 2
Something unexpected happened in Southampton on the 6th June 2009 - they docked the humungous Queen Mary 2 in the new Ocean Terminal!  Due to her size, many, including me, didn't think she'd go in without having a rather large navigational hazard sticking out.  I had to go to town to meet my friend Richard who was visiting the area so decided to take the camera along for pics of how she was tucked in or not as the case may be.  Unfortunately it was back to being Great Expectations but it was generally fine, unlike the weather.  Cold, murky with the threat of rain.  Indy and Oceana were also in.  The Gruesome Twosome still had just inder two months to ruin views and there was a car carrier in 43 opposite Mary.  So how much space was there in Ocean Dock?  I was about to find out!

Just as we were getting closer, along came the banana to ruin the shot again.  At least it hadn't been a repeat of Monday when she'd stalked Boudicca to Weston Shelf.  We let it slip by as we neared the pretty one.

She was as snug as a ship in a rug with still some free dock at the stern.  Would have been better of she was facing outwards though.  Since I'd failed all 2008 to get bow shot of Indy from Mayflower Park, I used this opportunity to rectify my omission.  They had new railings which were so much better.  I'd been so used to the broken ones and awful fence it took a while before I even noticed it was different!

As I was showing Richard around, I spotted a rather large lady playing peek-a-boo.  We walked along the walls a little which gave a few different views of Indy and you could just make out Oceana down at Mayflower.

One drawback of the walls (there at least) is you can't see Eastern Docks so you have to find another vantage point.  By chance, we found a couple.

Despite the weather improving during the day, it began to return to how it had been in the morning as I caught the ferry back to Hythe.  It was a force 5 so the sea was choppy, leading to us on the crap deck getting splashed badly on more than one occasion.

I know the original Ocean Terminal was home to the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, as well as original berth for QE2.  But after all these years of having a Cunarder in QEII, it looked strange empty while the only true Cunarder left was stuck in a corner.

As we neared the pier a container ship passed which had Lady Madeleine bringing up the rear.  I had seen her head out as I walked down to catch the ferry that morning as she went to meet another.  She was having a very busy day!

I met my dad and we went to the marina.  My feet were aching so much from the walking I desperately needed a sit down to stalk.  Oceana was due to leave at 4.30pm, Indy fifteen minutes later with Mary on the hour.  As we waited, the car carrier opposite Mary left, the harbour master boat dipping in the waves from time to time.

Oceana left on time and a woman behind us said they should let the Queen go first!  Clearly has no idea about schedules.  As Oceana was moving, she also said to whoever she was with P&O own Mary and that it's cheaper than 'Royal Cruises'.  I suppose, since P&O now RUN Cunard instead of Princess they sort of own her but it's just a shame Cunard aren't as cheap as 'Royal Cruises' or even P&O.

As soon as Oceana was safely out the way, Indy began to move and gave three very loud blasts.  She was only a few minutes late but at least it wasn't going be a wait for Mary to move first.

Oceana blasted to Mary as she neared.  Because Mary was facing the wrong way, her response was very muted except to anyone in her line of fire.  It's hard enough to hear at times anyway so I hope in future she's going to be docked facing outwards.

Indy neared Mary and blasted lovely and loudly to her.  Mary, yet again, was very sadly muffled.  Indy did one more parp as she continued on her way.

Mary dropped her ropes and gave several blasts then a few more.  With the assistance of Lady Madeleine, she slowly moved sideways then backed out.

Despite the wind and cold, the sun was trying to come back through the clouds without much success.  There was the odd spot of rain,  Mary blasted very loudly as she passed her former home terminal.

We packed up and headed back home after that to warm up.  It was amazing how the weather had become a copy of last June with the cold while a few days earlier it was roasting.  It's quite disappointing now they're putting Carnival UK vessels in the former naughty corner there will be very little passing of anything in QEII.

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© Patricia Dempsey 6th June 2009
Not to be reproduced without permission