Artania, Balmoral & MSC Orchestra
Crack of night start on the 13th September 2011 for Balmoral and Artania - well that was the plan!  Balmoral had been due for 6.30am then put back fifteen minutes while Artania's second call since leaving us as Artemis was 7am-8pm.  She would be in Ocean Terminal, used only once as a P&O ship in November 2010 when she was moved from Mayflower and stayed overnight due to bad weather.  MSC Orchestra's return call was to be 1-8pm so no hurry there.  Before we left, Balmoral had been put back to 9am while Orchestra ended up being pushed back to 2.30pm because they'd been caught up in the remnants of hurricane Katia.  We walked down in the dark and it was just beginning to get light as we neared Hythe and the marina.  My dad spotted some lights and when I looked towards Calshot, all I could see was a moving eye, which is the Phoenix Reisen logo on the funnel.  It was a bit windy and cool but at least dry, unlike her previous call in July which my dad got soaked for, and we were witnessing a gorgeous sunrise.  As she neared Ocean, a bloke came from the other side of the lock at the marina asking if Queen Mary 2 had been there the night before because he thought he'd imagined it when the QEII terminal was empty when he woke up on his boat.  I assured him she had been.
Time to head over on the 11.40am ferry to meet Liam and Ben, who had come from Liverpool and Hove respectively to visit Orchestra.  They had to be at the terminal for 1pm so would miss part of the arrival and, as it was, we only had half an hour before they had to leave.  My dad took an age taking photos (both of which I've used below) then, after a chat, headed back under cover just as it started to rain which was NOT good since Orchestra was still around Ryde.  As we crossed, we saw some boats being delivered to the Boat Show while the Alison MacGregor was doing a harbour tour.
We killed time and kept out of the rain by trying to help Phill with his phone.  I don't understand how phones using the same platform (in this case Android) can have different apps.  We had tried to find one of mine on his but his search only revealed one you pay for whereas mine had been free.  I also had several options, pay and free, which he didn't.  Perhaps it's the different handset manufacturer or network provider (he has HTC on O2 while I'm Samsung on Vodaphone).  It's odd to say the least.  Anyway after the heavy downpour came the sun and Orchestra!  We hot-footed as fast as we could towards the end and bumped into Steve again like the day before with Costa Luminosa.  He was soaked but with the wind and sun, should dry quicker!
We chatted with Steve a while then spotted the ferry coming so soggy-footed it back after all those puddles.  I took a few photos of our now three ladies as we bobbed back to Hythe pier.
Balmoral left on time at 4.30pm.  Artania was due to sail 8pm while Orchestra kept varying, the most often being 10pm.

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© Patricia Dempsey 13th September 2011
Not to be reproduced without permission