THV Patricia (III), Independence of the Seas, Aurora, Oriana (II) & Arcadia (IV)
There was supposed to be just four ships in on the 2nd June 2010 - Aurora, Oriana, Arcadia and Indy.  However, typically not on the cruise schedule because of her main role being a buoy ship, we had been joined by the Trinity House cutie, Patricia the evening before.  I was on Arcadia returning from Le Havre.  We had hit fog off there and it was very misty in the Solent and right up Southampton Water. Indy was 5.15am, Aurora 6.30am in Mayflower, so had a good view of Patricia.  Oriana was 7am after changing to 5.30am and would be annoyingly starboard in QEII while we were 7.15 in Ocean.  I was up on deck for our arrival and it was hard making out Oriana in the distance.  Because the MCP had been off most of the cruise, I had no idea about her latest time change and thought she was Aurora!
As Rowan and I waited for a taxi to take us to the train station so Rowan could catch up with Howard and Patty before she caught her train, I snapped Indy and also the little bit of Arcadia's bow showing behind us.
After a couple of hours sleep once I got home, me and my dad went to meet Howard at the ferry for the sailings.  All bar Indy were originally 4.30pm but they changed Patricia to 6pm.  Due to a dredger being in the way by the marina entrance and then some fishermen deliberately setting up in front when they saw Howard's tripod and kit, we went to watch the departures from the pier instead.  Patricia was hidden behind a fuel bunker so you tended to forget she was there.
Oriana was the first to drop lines six minutes late while Arcadia was still tied and Aurora being bunkered so she wouldn't be going anywhere in a hurry..
The last ones were sucked up like spaghetti and very promptly too.  She certainly wasn't going to hang about.  She gave three blasts to say she was going to back into the Itchen - YES!!!!  I love it when they do that.  Meanwhile as she was slowly doing her stuff, Arcadia began her reversal.
Oriana and Arcadia blasted madly to each other and, to our surprise, were joined in the conversation by a moving Indy!  It was great hearing three of them at it at the same time.
Aurora finally moved and gave some faint blasts to let us know she was on the way.  Meanwhile the bunkers Whitonia and Whitchallenger, having finished their charges, were seemingly racing but in reality Whitchallenger was returning to Fawley while Whitonia headed towards Portsmouth.
Due to various aches and pains collected on the cruise as well as my long-standing side problem, I decided I couldn't wait for Patricia, as much as I wanted to see her go.  So we said our goodbyes to Howard, wishing him a safe flight home the next day, then went to catch the bus.  To see photos of Patricia arriving, click here and to see a video of Arcadia and Oriana sailing, click here.  You can read my Arcadia cruise review here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 2nd June 2010
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