Black Prince (II), Saga Rose Farewell Cruise & Oceana (II)
On the 2nd October 2009 Saga Rose and Black Prince said a fond farewell as Rosie sailed on her penultimate voyage while Prince was her final.  They were not supposed to be in the same port on the 30th, Black Prince supposedly having left on the 23rd only it kept being delayed due to a hold up with the Venezuelan deal.  Black Prince was now docked in berth 49 awaiting whatever fate she had in store, having been moved there the previous day.  Saga Rose made an early entrance for 2.30am and docking in City while Oceana was 6.30am and in Ocean.  The weather was cold, misty and windy.  Rosie was an earlier than usual sailing too at 4pm instead of 5pm, while Oceana was the normal 4.30pm.  We decided to go to Town Quay for Rosie's departure so caught the 2.45pm ferry.  Phil from South Africa was the only first mate and we had a nice natter during the crossing.

It was absolutely freezing and we were there too early so I could collect something Pam left me she'd bought on QM2 and left with with whoever was on Town Quay duty.  So we decided to grab a bite to eat in the cafe.  While we were there I received a call from Cunard about a visit to QV and told I had a place.  They were phoning people because of the post strike in case letters didn't arrive, which had been sent on Tuesday.  Just before 3.50pm we headed out to find a reasonable spot to get Rosie's sailaway, which wasn't easy with the remains of the Royal Pier there.  I wish they'd just get on and demolish the damn thing!  Because I wanted to get a shot with Black Prince we couldn't go down the end as usual.  No sooner had we found a good spot than she was moving ten minutes early with Sarah and Lady Madeleine giving her a hand!  She gave three blasts, voice going during the third.  She was also flying her paying off pennant which was tied down and curved in the wind.

She gave another three blasts, still having throat problems.  I hope she recovers because it would be awful being mute the rest of the trip!

That bugger Red Falcon decided to leave and block the view at that precise moment - grrr!  Thankfully it was all over fast so the view became a good one again.  Suppose I ought to be grateful it wasn't the banana!

We headed through the alley towards the opposite side to wait for her.  As we neared at 4pm, Oceana was giving eight bells.  Well she wouldn't go on time!

A shame the pennant had been removed.  Then bad luck number two - my camera batteries died.  I put the rechargables in only they'd lost their power.  Grrr!  Good job I always carry some lithiums for emergencies and frozen fingers.

And so we waited for the next one to go.  Someone had a VHF radio and I heard the pilot say now 5pm.  Time went on and on and on and it became colder and colder with the biting wind.

It was getting ridiculous to the point the band had even played Auld Lang Syne.  We joked at this rate she'd still be there for New Year!  We decided if there was no movement we would get the 5.30pm ferry back because we were frozen.  Then finally, fifty minutes late, not long after Great Expectations had departed Hythe pier and at the same time as a Red Jet was coming away from the quay, Oceana silently began to move.  Not even the blasts to indicate reversing.  She was determined to make us stay!

Poor Black Prince.  She looked abandoned, forgotten and unloved.  It was sad thinking of all those public rooms had been once full of life.  Now she just waits.  When we went over she was flying the Olsen flag.  Couldn't see going back on the 6pm ferry.  To see photos of her being moved there click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 30th October 2009
Not to be reproduced without permission