THV Patricia (III), Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth (II), Boudicca & Oriana (II)
On the 5th January 2011 we had Balmoral and Black Watch together for the first time in Southampton.  One year later, on the 5th January 2012, it was Royal Viking sister, Boudicca with Balmoral.  It was exciting!  As a year earlier, Balmoral was first to arrive, docking for 4.50am in City.  Oriana was next followed by Boudicca and Betty.  All ships had tug assistance due to the gale force winds we were experiencing.  There had been a bit of musical berths with Bouddy and Betty when originally Bouddy was in QEII and Betty in Ocean but they swapped them around.  Originally too, Bouddy was starboard but, I assume due to the wind, she went straight into the naughty corner.  The little Trinity House vessel, Patricia, was already in.  So we went down for the sailings of Balmoral and Betty, since they were 4.30pm while the other two were 6pm.  This was the first time I'd seen Oriana since her refit, where she had balconies, cabins and a ducktail added.  Unfortunately, dredging was taking place down the marina with posts partially ruining the view of the pretty ones in Western Docks.
I hadn't noticed as I took the dredger photo that Patricia was passing Balmoral  She had been due to sail at 5pm and it was my dad who noticed.  The wind was horrendous, gusts over forty knots and bitterly cold, making it difficult to hold the camera steady.  Some of the following photos are at an angle.  I decided not to straighten them because, with the flipping wind constantly moving the camera, even slightly, I was just glad of any coming out decently.
Both Betty and Balmoral cast off at 4.45pm, but Betty was the more obvious mover as she reversed into the Itchen to turn.  She gave a mix of short and long blasts to signal going astern from her first time in QEII.  It's such a shame the terminal is rarely used now except for car carriers.  Balmoral was silent when she passed Bouddy, unless the wind straight in our faces drowned it out.
We were frozen, like for the Sagas in 2009, so left to go home and warm up after that.  Bouddy had been brought forward to 5.45pm but left after 6pm, as did Oriana, who had fireworks to send her off on her world cruise.

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© Patricia Dempsey 5th January 2012
Not to be reproduced without permission