11.00 Liverpool - Dublin
16.00 Dublin - Liverpool
5 December 1998
When I arrived at the Pier Head on Saturday it was windier than I had anticipated after seeing the TV weather forecast the night before. However, it turned out that north-westerly gusts of up to 30knots were being recorded. This combined with a strong incoming spring tide made conditions at the landing stage somewhat wild. It was nice to see that the usual efforts had been made to decorate the ticket office for the Christmas Season.
SUPERSEACAT TWO arrived on time from Douglas, and after a short wait embarkation for the Dublin departure commenced around 10.20. Down on the stage it was apparent that the combination of tide and wind along with the need to keep the ships engines running was causing the floating linkspan pontoon to behave in a somewhat wild fashion.
Suffice it is to say here that boarding was "interesting" for both vehicles and foot passengers! Some concern was being expressed over the motion of the vessel against the stage and span and an early departure at 10.52 took place. On the Wirral side of the Mersey could be seen CONQUEST IPSWICH involved in pipeline laying work off Seacombe
On board SSC2 seasonal decorations had appeared, but disappointingly no Christmas Lunches available. These had been a feature of the LADY OF MANN operations during December last year. Then a Christmas lunch cruise for £15.00 was on offer, which included a four course Christmas Lunch. I had also noted them on sale on the KING ORRY during December 1996.
Passage down the channel was rather bumpy, with passengers being requested to remain seated and the duty free shop remaining closed for the first half of the crossing. As the Rock was past waves could be seen breaking over the promenade and Fort Perch Rock at New Brighton.
At 11.10 the inward bound Ramsey Steamship Coaster BEN ELLAN was passed followed a few minutes later by STOLT TERN. Just after passing Formby lightfloat we overtook the tanker GALWAY FISHER. Leaving the channel at Q2 we headed in a north-westerly direction passing the Bar lightship to port.
The NW track was maintained until around 12.34 when SSC2 swung south-westwards about 15 to 20 miles NW of Holy Island. By now the seas had moderated considerably and the Duty Free shop opened.
P&O's EUROPEAN ENVOY could be seen heading eastbound for Liverpool at 13.30. The Kish light was passed to port at around 14.29 with the Baily Light being passed to starboard at 14.34. SSC2 was fast alongside Dublin's berth 49 at 15.00.
Noted at work just off Poolbeg power station were the sand barge LONG SAND and the GUNFLEET SAND undertaking some dredging work. The usual Coastal Container Line vessels were in the nearby container berths.
Whilst in the departure lounge at Dublin ARKLOW BAY was noted departing with pilot launch DODDER running alongside at around 15.17. In-bound in the bay heading for DUN LAOGHAIRE was HSS STENA EXPLORER.
Turn-round at Dublin was quick and efficient with departure 3 minutes early at 15.57. Once in the channel it was noted that HSS STENA EXPLORER had also done a quick turn round and was nosing out of Dun Laoghaire harbour, for some time the two ships ran side by side. However, as the vessels' tracks diverged the HSS STENA EXPLORER was seen to pull slowly away.
An uneventful run back to Liverpool followed. The lights of STENA CHALLENGER and ISLE OF INISHMORE were seen to pass on the starboard side
The Bar was passed at 19.10 with SSC2 along side the landing stage at 19.55 and fast at around 20.00.