Celebrity Eclipse, Oceana (II), Ventura & Silver Whisper
On the 12th June 2010, the gorgeous Silver Whisper was due to make a return call.  People think it was her maiden visit but it wasn't.  Her last visit had been the 29th August 2005 and we had seen no Silversea ships since Silver Shadow in June 2007 until May when they brought in the new Silver Spirit for an overnight stay.  This would be the first of two calls by Whisper this year and with both those vessels and Silver Cloud calling during 2011, things were looking up for us.  It was to be an early start, since her arrival was listed as 7.30am instead of 7am.  Eclipse was already in at the usual crack of yawn, Oceana was due for 6.45am and Ventura for 7am.  Being a Saturday, the buses started a little later so we caught the first just before 6.30am and when we arrived, Ventura was passing the marina.

A mad dash to the marina revealed Whisper wasn't that far away so I hurried forward, ignoring my long-standing side pain, while my dad lagged behind since he can't walk that fast these days.  I also noticed, despite it being 6.45am when I arrived at the front, Oceana was still coming out of the turning circle.  Apart from walkers, we were the only ones there which was a surprise.  But then I daresay the ship nuts would have got her during her previous call whereas I only had video of her sailing past the house.

Since she was docked early, we headed back for the bus.  There's always plenty TO Southampton at that hour of the morning but hardly any from there which is annoying.  We went down for the sailings later that afternoon and went on the pier, since the dredger was still by the marina.  Also, due to plans falling through, I hadn't been able to get my ferry shots of Whisper so we planned to do that after the others had gone.  Oceana and Ventura were due to sail at 4.30pm, Eclipse fifteen minutes later and Whisper at 6pm.  As usual with ships, things rarely go to plan.  Oceana actually was the first to cast off but then held position as not only Ventura backed out, but then Eclipse moved from her berth.
We went to wait for the 5.40pm ferry and as the ferry neared the pontoon, I noticed her ropes being thrown.  Once onboard, it was clear she was singled up and it wasn't long before that went too.  She was going to leave early!  That's the unexpected I love!
At the time we headed back from Town Quay, she should have still been in sight somewhere along Southampton Water.  Or would she?  Horribles were conspiring against me, and I know what they're like for blocking the view!  Firstly, Red Eagle came away from Royal Pier, which we slowed down for and let pass.  Then as she was, Höegh Shanghai emerged from 34!  With difficulty we saw her near Fawley gleaming in the sunshine with the Isle of Wight in the distance.  She'd certainly reached there fast!
I hadn't realised until I was home looking at the photos on the laptop that in my last few desperate shots of Whisper as we closed in on Hythe pier, I had also managed to capture Ventura after she had passed Cowes.  When we were on the pier train, I spotted the distinctive twin funnels of Eclipse so managed the crappy last shot through the glass as we went to the other end of the pier.

So that was an excellent day.  Despite a few sailing plans falling through, Whisper sailing as we crossed to Town Quay was a bonus and I look forward to her return in 2011.  To see screen captures of her previous visit as she sailed past my house, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 12th June 2010
Not to be reproduced without permission