Adventure of the Seas, Azura, Ventura, Oceana (II) & Hanseatic (IV)
After saying goodbye to Jordan and his nan, I bought my Red Funnel ticket to Cowes to see Hanseatic sail.  This cute little ship comes in at a teeny 8378grt and debuted in 1991 as Society Adventurer but never saw active service until being chartered in 1993 by Hanseatic Tours and given her current name by Dirk Moldenhauer, who had purchased the rights to the Hamburg/German Atlantic Line logo and name Hanseatic.  In 1997, Hapag-Lloyd took over Hanseatic Tours and she retains their name to this day, though the livery has disappeared.  She had dropped anchor in the Cowes Triangle at 7am and would be raising it again at 11.30am.  My ferry was the 10am and as I waited I saw the top of the Dutch naval vessel, HNLMS Rotterdam, as she was arriving.  The passenger gangway was closed for repair so we all had to wait until the vehicles had loaded before being led to the car deck.  A couple behind me who had got off Ventura were moaning, the woman in particular, saying she would be writing a letter of complaint.  I could see their point in a way.  There was nothing inside saying we'd have to queue for over twenty minutes in all weathers and no announcement.  The notices by the footpath said closed for four weeks but didn't have a date on.  Once we were herded onboard, there was no chance of finding the lift as we all had to follow each other up several decks.  With my back and knee, I'd have got the Red Jet if I'd known.  I managed to find a couple of gaps either end as we set off.  The weather was glorious now and I was overdressed in my winter jacket.  There were loads of yachts along Southampton Water and the Solent but Hanseatic shone out among them like a beacon.  My friend Fay met me and we drove a little along the front.  Hanseatic was on time - cow!  I was changing camera batteries as she started to move.  The only parp we heard from her was telling an annoying yachtie to shift.  Who gets the blame when they sail in front of vessels with priority?  Not the idiots trying to sail them, that's for sure.  After than flying visit it was back to Red Funnel and that passenger walkway was now closed so we had to go up the car ramp.  At least foot passengers weren't after cars this time.  .We left ten minutes late and I was glad of my winter jacket as it was colder and windier going back.
We were taken off the ferry via the car deck but after a few cars had gone.  I headed to Town Quay for the 2pm ferry home but because of passenger numbers, the Red Jets were running ten minutes late so they were too as they couldn't dock until the Red Jet had left.  Hotspur had been replaced by Great Ex which was a shame on such a gorgeous day, which she's more suited to.

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© Patricia Dempsey 31st May 2013
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