As I arrived at the Sea Terminal it was apparent that the 08.30 sailing was going to be well loaded for vehicles.
Whilst waiting for departure the dredger CAVE SAND could be seen at work around the Cammell Laird entrances. The Cory tugs WILLOWGARTH and NORTON CROSS passed by at 07.54 after assisting the empty VLCC ORIENT TIGER off the Tranmere Oil Stage. This vessel following the tugs.
08.32 slight delay for a late arriving car otherwise departure would have been earlier as all other passengers and vehicles had checked in. Loadings were: 488 passengers, 58 crew, 112 cars, 1 van, 2 motorcycles plus 1 car and trailer. The vehicles being very tightly packed up the stern ramps. As the LADY OF MANN moved off, the Mersey Ferry MOUNTWOOD could be seen entering Alfred Lock to gain entrance to the river.
At C17 buoy Carmet Towing's tug LADY ALMA passed in bound. The Lady took a more direct course at Crosby light passing it to the starboard side.
In bound the bulk coaster RUGEN and the interesting looking GLORIA were passed near C1. The GLORIA looking something has the shape of a ro/ro freight ferry but with a layout that suggests it carries bulk cargo. These vessels were closely followed by SHIZHYNA another coaster of Russian origins.
The LADY's speed was reduced as she was rapidly catching up with the large, empty VLCC ORIENT TIGER. At 09.15 Arklow shipping's ARKLOW FORTUNE was passed at Q7 in bound as Captain Kinley carefully eased the LADY passed this massive tanker. Her pilot's steps lowered ready for the pilot cutter which was approaching from the direction of The Bar to take off her pilot.
At Q1 SEACAT ISLE OF MAN was passed on the starboard side inbound from Douglas. As the LADY OF MANN reached the end of the channel she began to take a westerly direction as opposed to heading north-west to The Bar as she has done on my previous trips.
At 09.25 the tanker STOLT KESTREL could be seen making in bound.
At 09.35 To the starboard side the coastal tanker GOODRICH BAY was at anchor, to the north a large, laden VLCC could be seen and the chemical tanker POLYVIKING was seen making in-bound.
The Douglas Gas Field rig was passed some miles off on the starboard side at around 09.56. On previous sailings I have travelled on the LADY has passed close to the rig on the port side.
The LADY OF MANN kept within a few miles of the coast. As Anglesey was approached a large VLCC was noted at anchor in Amlwch Bay. The LADY then passed within about a mile or less or the north Anglesey coast, passing the Wylfa Power Station and then on to pass the Skerries Light at 11.48 on the starboard side.
South Stack was passed at 12.00. At 12.17 the ISLE OF INISHMORE was passed about a mile or so to port followed a couple of minutes later by HSS STENA EXPLORER both bound for HOLYHEAD. STENA CHALLENGER was passed to port at 12.33 also Holyhead bound.
The sand dredger SIRIUS 660 was passed heading outbound from Dublin 15 13.51. Dublin Bay light was passed at 14.03 and Baily Light on Howth Head at around 14.20. This was followed by a sudden decrease in speed due to a cross Dublin Bay swimmer accompanied by support craft.
Captain Kinley has a pilots licence for Dublin and therefore there was no need to pick up the pilot. Unlike on previous trip the ship did not turn onto the berth - this time it turned just before the Merchant Ferries berth and then went astern to berth. KATHERINA B and MERCHANT VENTURE were noted at their berths to the east of the ferry terminal. P&O's IBEX was noted further up the Liffey heading for the P&O Pandoro terminal. On previous trips this ship has been noted heading east bound to Liverpool off Anglesey.
Dublin Corporation's sludge boat SIR JOSEPH BAZALGETTE was noted at her berth opposite Poolbeg Power Station
The LADY's ropes were on at 14.51. Crossing time 6 hours 19 minutes.
Other ships noted on the Liffey were the container vessels WESER, RHINE MASTER, COASTAL BAY and JANE.
Passengers were disembarked from the LADY OF MANN by 14.55.
Embarkation for the return trip began at around 15.50. Shortly after boarding the Russian coaster KARIANGI passed by outbound. On top of her small wheel-house was a Lada Samara saloon, some how squeezed onto the port bridge wing was a Lada Samara hatchback car. It would have been interesting to see how these vehicles had been loaded into such confined spaces! After the KARINGI passed the MERCHANT VENTURE moved off its linkspan berth and moved up river.
Shortly after 16.00 HSS STENA EXPLORER was briefly seen heading out to see from Dun Laoghaire.
Departure from Dublin was prompt at 16.30. Loadings were light, 197 passengers, 59 crew, and 47 cars. Shortly after departing the terminal the LADY OF MANN called Dublin Radio to report a small yacht with several young children on board. The yacht was running under engine power but this did not stop the adults from allowing the children to dangle their feet over the stern. Dublin Port Radio summoned the pilot cutter DODDER to intercept the yacht and advise those on board!
At 1714 a Dublin bound Merchant Ferries ship was passed to port, this was shortly followed at 17.19 by P&O's BUFFALO in bound from Liverpool.
At 17.30 STENA CHALLENGER was noted bound for Dublin followed 5 minutes later by ISLE OF INISHMORE. As the Anglesey coast came into view HSS STENA EXPLORER was noted heading back to Dun Laoghaire at 18.52.
South Stack Light was passed at 19.15 An unidentified northbound coaster was spotted at 19.16. At 19.25 the Skerries light was passed to port. Once again the Anglesey coast was closely followed. In Amlwch Bay the unidentified VLCC noted on the outbound trip had been joined by Shell's NORTHIA.
A west bound VLCC was past at 2016 on the starboard side. At 21.01 the Douglas Gas Rig was passed to port, the sun setting dramatically behind it. As The Bar was approached at the tanker GOODRICH BAY was still at anchor. To the north the Lake District mountains could be seen, in fact the whole of coastline from Formby Point round to Barrow was visible.
As The Bar was passed to port at 21.24 the LADY gave a long blast on her whistle. At the same time we passed the diminutive Manx coaster CLAUDIA W belonging to MEZERON LINE of Ramsey on the port side, outbound from Liverpool. The CLAUDIA W didn't return the greeting. It was apparent that a good time had been made to The Bar now it was a case of seeing how quick the last keg of the journey on the incoming tide could be made.
At Q4 the coaster WIRDUM was passed to port, also heading inbound. As the LADY approached Q11 the captain appeared on the port bridge wing and at 21.11 Norse Irish Ferries NORSE LAGAN was passed outbound for Belfast. At Q17 Mobil's LUBCHEM passed at 21.56. Shortly after passing the port control tower a small outbound tanker was passed but its name was not discernible. The LADY made a prompt turn to come along side the Landing Stage heaving lines going ashore at 22.21.
The crossing time 5 hours 51 minutes. Quite impressive has anyone noted a faster time for a conventional motor vessel?