Queen Mary 2 & Ventura
As Mary was due to be in City Terminal for only the fifth time during her entire Southampton existence on the 8th August 2013, I had to go down and get her return from her short to Guernsey and Zeebrugge.  My Facebook friend, Michelle Pellay-Walker and husband Paul were onboard and they had confirmed this terminal when I met them on the 3rd.  Ventura would also be in, hogging the Naughty Corner, thus pushing Mary elsewhere.  Mary was due at the usual 6.30am with Ventura half an hour later.  Despite us leaving in plenty of time, once we reached the top of South Street, I saw a massive fat lump in the distance passing Hythe!  We were at least ten minutes away from the waterfront, longer with the extra time getting to the marina so I wasn't a happy ship nut.  Bloody diva cow!  For the last time, you are NOT Lizzie and need to be at least twenty before you earn the right to be a pain.  Never listens.  Been copying since she was two years old.  Why is it again that I love her????  She was by Town Quay when I got there, knee and back killing plus a pulled muscle in my leg for good measure.  I was incredibly pissed off and made my feelings clear to her briefly.  But, like her diva predecessor, she is very easy to forgive.  Ventura was already on the way down but with the overgrown foliage, it was hard to see until she was closer.  Mary went up to turn, which explained her crack of yawn arrival instead of at least an hour before.  Being big boned, she takes longer to do things than others.  We had thought she may have turned at the Lower Swinging Ground and gone astern like Norwegian Breakaway had.  At least we'd have been there in time!  There was faint sea mist tickling her hull.  Her first rope was fast dead on time, according to Derek Walker on Facebook, while Ventura docked slightly early.  We left before she had.
In the afternoon, it was time to watch them sail.  Shieldhall was returning from her latest outing as we walked down the pier.  And finally White Horse have started to replace the top of the gangway which blew off in February or March!  We went over on the ferry, and the sweetie, Challenge, was emitting brief puffs from her funnel.  We arrived at Town Quay for 4pm and as we were still walking away from the ferry, Mary did eight bells - on her horn!  I know I'm not the only one to have been surprised by that as it's usually the internal alarm, which is what Ventura did fifteen minutes later so both were going to be late.  Steve Carrett and Christian Reay were there and my lovely Cunard jacket, which I'd bought during my Fjords cruise on Mary a month before, was busy keeping the wind off.  Mary began to throw her ropes just over fifteen minutes late and as we waited for the rest, Ventura gave three long blasts from behind followed by a few shorts and started moving off.  Mary then decided to chuck the rest and slowly edged away herself.  It was more crowded than it has been during previous times I've been there, making it difficult getting any clear shots of either ship for a long time with so many bloody heads and arms in the way.  Just after I changed the battery in my camera, Mary blasted three long times.  Once she'd passed the old Royal Pier, we had a quick chat with Steve and Christian before heading to catch the 5.30pm ferry.  Ventura was passing Calshot while Mary was nearing Fawley.  She was rounding Calshot by the time I got on the train and, due to the bumpy journey and being packed, the photos are the best of the bunch.
To see photos of Mary sailing five days before, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 8th August 2013
Not to be reproduced without permission