Ventura, Queen Elizabeth (II) & Queen Mary 2
Two of the three Queens were back on the 27th July 2012, a fortnight after they all sailed.  Betty was in Mayflower - the wrong bloody way round AGAIN!  Mary was in her rightful home (don't mind her being the wrong way round) while Ventura made up the numbers.  I saw two of them in the morning after I'd been to the dentist then returned in the afternoon for sailaway.  The weather was lovely, which brought out the crowds.  Meanwhile, poor Hotspur returned sporting that awful green!
I noticed something by Mary - the elusive lifeboat 16, which had been missing since February!  It had been damaged off Mauritius and removed in Adelaide.  I spotted it by Empress Dock on the 3rd July, and it was still there twn days later.  ABP said it had been removed for repairs, yet was meant to be in Australia.  Also, this one has no name on the stern.  All three ships were scheduled to sail at the usual 4.30pm, but then Mary was changed to 6.15pm for some reason.  We heard her muster at 4.30pm, and the rubbish barge was still alongside.  The other two set off about fifteen minutes late, Ventura making a racket as though the Captain got a new toy for Christmas, while Betty was time wasting.  Ventura went at the horn like a lunatic, Mary making weird noises which were like laryngitis.  It didn't help she faced the wrong way but the tone varied quite a lot to a whisper a few times.  Betty upped the stakes when she'd emerged and they were at it full pelt from about Town Quay until she was almost past.  Once Betty was safely out the way, lifeboat 16 was raised into the empty space on Mary's Prom Deck, though they did lower it a bit again before tucking it in.
Despite the pilot flag being up around 5.30pm and the tender raised by 5.50pm (and they often do it on the move from Ocean Terminal), they insisted for some reason she left one hour and forty-five minutes later than her scheduled time.  Well she singled up at 6.10pm, final ropes off by the new time and still had her weird voice when she ended up giving four blasts to signal going astern, three of those were almost squeaks.  It was back to normal as she gave three almost halfway through her turn.  Lots of pomp aboard, the sailawy party which had been going since before 5pm had turned to things such as orchestrated cheers like we had on the Jubilee cruise, classical music, Land of Hope and Glory and ending with God Save The Queen, but no blasts after that.
And then it was time to go home, glad it hadn't rained!

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© Patricia Dempsey 27th July 2012
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