MSC Opera & MSC Magnifica
Another early start on the 17th September 2014 as MSC Opera and MSC Magnifica were meeting in Southampton.  It was the first time two of MSC's ships had met here and it was also a welcome return for Magnifica, who did her first showcase straight from Saint Nazaire in 2010.  It was cool in the wind but much better than the sub-zero wind chill during her original visit.  Opera was sailing first, at 4pm with Magnifica two hours later so I headed to the marina on my way home for the passing and hopefully lots of noise, though it would be hard to hear in the wind.  It was nearing the end of Opera's residency after three seasons and she decided to be fashionably late by a good twenty minutes.  As she sailed, I chatted briefly to a man who had been a £10 Pom then had to go for the bus to collect my dad and Barbara the dog then went back down for Magnifica.  Magnifica brought back memories of the late journalist, Steve Read, from back then.  I had a drunken phone call about 1.30am raving about the free mini bar, telling me about the presentation and other things and he still managed to pick me up so we could watch her sail.  It is still hard to believe that just twelve months later he would be dead.  I decided not to dwell on it and instead enjoy her welcome return for the first of six calls.  I waited with my dad, friend Russell and Barbara the dog as it got colder and hazier while Magnifica decided to almost emulate her last departure by being twenty-five minutes late but she was a magnificent sight.  Then it was time to go back home as the light faded.
To see photos of Magnifica's 2010 debut, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 17th September 2014
Not to be reproduced without permission