Azura, Oriana (II) & Aurora
Three ships in on the 23rd July 2010.  Azura was in Ocean Terminal, Oriana in Mayflower while Aurora was in City, docked unusually starboard.  All three for listed to sail at the usual time of 4.30pm.  I'd arranged to meet my young friend Harry Cotterill and his parents, who had come from Colchester.  I had passed on Harry's drawing of Norwegian Epic during my cruise and one day he'll be designing his own for some cruise line.  They had been stuck in traffic on the M25 so didn't arrive at Town Quay until 3.15pm, the time I was on the ferry.  As we went over, Red Eagle was gaining on us, coming in towards Royal Pier.  We slowed as there was an incident involving the police and two lads in a boat at Hythe Knock, so the Red Funnel went ahead.
I was sure I'd seen Barry from Worthing in the waiting room on the pier but didn't get a chance to check.  After arriving at Town Quay, I met up with Harry and his parents and we went to the cafe as we waited.  A woman on the next table took a photo of Azura then complained she was so big, you couldn't get her all in.  I suggested she go further along, past the Red Jet terminal and you could.  Then we went out to wait for the departures.
My dad had joined us by the time anything happened, which began with Azura having a case of blast mania as she backed out of Ocean a few minutes late.  She barely shut up as she went astern.  We got the message she was off!!!!  This was followed shortly afterwards by Oriana coming away from 106.
Oriana blasted to her sister after, we think, Aurora started it.  It was difficult to hear her.  The horn is quiet as it is without her facing the wrong way!
Fifty minutes late, Aurora finally singled up.  Once all her ropes were gone, she edged away from the dock and did something she hadn't there before - turned on the spot!  Mind you, for ome moment it looked like she would go to the end to turn.  We expected her to turn port so surprised us by going starboard and wished we were in Mayflower Park for her pirouette to see just how close her prow came to the dock..
Harry and his parents waited with us as the ferry returned.  Due to the Red Jet being late, ours had to wait.  On the way back, I spotted Aurora heading towards Calshot and in the far distance around Ryde was Oriana.  I couldn't make out what it was from that far.  Being squashed and lengthened in that perspective in the mist, it could easily have been Azura!
The last shot is of the former Wight Link ferry, St. Catherine, which has been a familiar sight for so long at the marine park.  Now she has been bought by Italian company Delocmar and has a new name, GB Conte.  She left on the 30th July 2010 for Sardinia.
And do after an excellent day we headed home where I took some much-needed painkillers for my side.  Soon, after months of constant pain, it will be gone then I won't aggravate it by twisting to take photos.  Still, some things are worth suffering for!

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© Patricia Dempsey 23rd July 2010
Not to be reproduced without permission