Queen Mary 2 & Explorer
The adorable Explorer was making another visit on the 22nd August 2013.  I'd missed her in June, when she began this latest Semester At Sea voyage, so was glad to get her this time as it ended.  I've loved this little ship since first seeing her and her sister (now Costa Voyager) together in Bergen back in 2008.  But before she graced us with her pretty presence, Mary was back in town - and late!  7am was her time but she hadn't even rounded the Hook by the time we arrived and was going head first into the naughty corner at the time she was meant to be docked.  Then it was the wait for the cutie, who was scheduled to 8am.  The car carrier, Tosca, was supposed to arrive at 8.30am, partially blocking the view of Mary but came first while Explorer docked half an hour later than she meant to with the help of Wyeforce.  As we waited, the rain came down and wind whipped up making us very cold.  Thankfully, by the time we could see her, that stopped.
That afternoon we were back out for Mary sailing.  Explorer wasn't going anywhere for two days.  The weather was still a bit cool when the breeze was strong but it was lovely and sunny.  The Mary blocker from the morning, Tosca, was leaving as we got there - yay!!!  I saw Denny Jones, who I had met with her husband Stan on the Mary cruise a month before while docked in Olden.  Mary needed the help of two tugs so Bentley grabbed hold of her bum while Alma, after initially loitering around Shieldhall, returned into the dock to gave her a friendly nudge on the side as she moved out of the berth about ten minutes late, which was good for her!  After she straightened, she gave three shorter blasts than normal then proceeded to have a horn battle as she passed Explorer.  No prizes for guessing who won!  Explorer's teeny toots couldn't compete, though I'm sure Mary increased the volume of hers going by the previous ones - cheat.  Big, fat and loud - don't you just love her?
To see photos of Explorer sailing, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 22nd August 2013
Not to be reproduced without permission