Saga Sapphire & Saga Ruby in Dover
Some ship stalking in Dover on the 4th July 2013 when Saga Ruby and Saga Sapphire were in together.  They would often be together here but never Southampton, although February's meeting was pure luck as Ruby was undergoing repairs in the port.  My friend Fay and I arrived in Dover the afternoon before and planned to see them arrive at 8am but checking the AIS around 4.15am saw Ruby already there with Sapphy just over an hour behind.  Typical bloody ships!  It turned out Rubes was having a deep clean after norovirus, which would explain the arrival at stupid o'clock.  So our first sight of them was on the way to the ferry terminal after checking out of the hotel.  We were taking the Spirit of France to Calais in the gloom and light fog then returning on Pride of Burgundy in time for their 4pm departures.  It was a good way of seeing the girlies and thankfully it was sunny upon our return, just bloody windy and cold.
Fay parked the car and we walked along the Prince of Wales pier for the departures.  It was far more blustery there.  Unlike Town Quay, where the fishermen ignore the signs, causing problems for everyone else, the notices are obeyed here.  They even have their own designated area away from the harbour traffic and have to get a permit.  Come on, ABP, do the same or restore the Royal Pier as a fishing free zone and create a wonderful public viewing area!  Sapphy's muster was 3.40pm and a tug went to attach.  They slacked the ropes before tightening them again and we saw a yacht being escorted in by the harbour master because it was loitering, without a sail even, in the way.  Many owners of these things are menaces just showing off they have a boat.  If there was an accident the odds are the larger vessel would be blamed even though some lunatics go in front of them.  There was a solitary lady waiting to wave her friend off on Rubes and wrapped up well.  We got chatting as we waited, she saying she hadn't heard anything from Rubes so we had no idea when she would be going.  Half an hour late, Sapphy moved with the aid of the tug, Doughty.  The lady said they had been known to turn in the basin so we waited, only for her to be unceremoniously dragged backwards, blasting to Rubes on the way.  Rubes paused a bit before responding and I did wonder if she'd reply at all.  As Sapphy was completing her departure, the Captain of Rubes came on the tannoy to tell everyone that muster would be at 5pm.
Because of traffic and Fay's ferry back to the Isle of Wight, we decided not to wait for Rubes.  Fay had already returned to the car to try to avoid a ticket after her two hours parking lapsed while I headed back once Sapphy had dropped the pilot.  While I was walking away, I heard muster begin.  As it turned out, she didn't actually sail until 6pm, also with the aid of the tug, Doughty.  To see photos of them together in Southampton, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 4th July 2012
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