Liverpool to Douglas
24 July 1997
SEACAT ISLE OF MAN
Commander: Captain Albiston
Whilst I have taken my car on the KING ORRY and LADY OF MANN many times in the past few years, this was my first journey with a car on SEACAT ISLE OF MAN. With 72 cars, 1 car and trailer, and 2 cycles plus the baggage train it was amazing just how cramped the car deck is on the SeaCat with an almost full load. Given the large size of vehicle wing mirrors it can be quite difficult getting to your vehicle!
SEACAT ISLE OF MAN departed promptly at 11.00 with 400 passengers on board. Visibility was not to good. A pleasing sight in the River Mersey off Tower Buoy was the new Norse Mersey Ferries' MERSEY VIKING dressed overall with flags and a good load of vehicles visible on the open deck. She was at anchor and presumably had arrived some time earlier, the reason for her later entrance into the docks is not known. Quite a few passengers were visible on deck.
In the channel the dredger UKD DOLPHIN, the container vessel CAST ELK and the sludge vessel CONSORTIUM 1 were passed along with a pilot cutter.
There followed an uneventful journey to Douglas. On entering the bay the new DoT Maintenance vessel TARROO USHTEY [WATER BUFFALO] was seen at anchor off the promenade.
Douglas to Liverpool
28 July 1997
SEACAT ISLE OF MAN
Commander: Captain O'Toole
SEACAT ISLE OF MAN appears to be having problems keeping to schedule. Whilst on the Isle of Man I noted her Sunday evening arrival from Dublin was late. Her 21.30 departure for Liverpool not taking place until around 22.40.
When I was due to return home on the Monday she arrived from Belfast at around 21.30. Whilst there was a quick turn round in terms of loading vehicles and passengers with the gangways removed at 21.37 departure was not possible as bunkering was still underway. This was not completed until just prior to a 22.00 departure.
There was a reasonable load of vehicles with 61 cars, 1 van, two motorcycles. Passengers numbered 258 with 21 crew.
There was little to see as it was by now quite dark. However, the antics of a very strange passenger appeared to attract the attention of quite a few people who was seen to inhale some kind of substance and then start striding round the bar and open deck staring at other passengers. The crew noticed these antics and two of the crew, accompanied by the Captain at one stage followed him around whilst trying to keep a discreet distance.
The Bar was passed 23.48 and arrival at the Landing Stage was at 00.30. For just once I was glad to be getting off the vessel. Somehow or other the very strange behaviour of a fellow passenger can be rather unnerving!