15.45 Larne to Cairnryan - EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY - Capt. P.Blackwell Smyth. January 14,2001
En route to Larne I checked out Belfast Harbour. At 12.30 approx SUPERSEACAT II was seen at the Donegal Quay layover berth. STENA GALLOWAY was at the Stena Terminal while HSS STENA VOYAGER was further up the River Lagan having just departed at 12.20 for Stranraer. The outline of HSS STENA EXPLORER was just visible in the Harland & Wolff dry dock together with an unidentified Viking at the Norse Irish berth. Just north of Carrickfergus SEACAT SCOTLAND I presume was heading up Belfast Lough at 13.10 on the 11.00 ex Troon.
On arrival at Larne at 14.00 EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY was still off loading having recently arrived from Cairnryan she was flanked on either side by EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER and EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR. Seatruck Ferries RIVERDANCE was lying off outside Larne Lough.
At around 15.20 foot passengers were taken to the quayside by minibus then had to climb an extremely steep narrow gangway to the vehicle deck and onward up the internal stairs. Quite a climb!!
Departure was on time at 15.45. We were passed in mid channel by EUROPEAN TRADER at 16.40 on our starboard side closely followed by STENA CALEDONIAN on our port side. Approaching Cairnryan EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR departed at 17.30 and we were alongside at 17.48. Eventual disembarkation was at 18.02 via the lift to the vehicle deck then by minibus to recently built terminal building. A conversation with one of the engineers revealed that to maintain a 2 hour crossing on the less demanding winter timetable with a light load and reap the benefit of a considerable fuel saving EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY only requires to run 2 of her 4 engines. My one disappointment was that after now some months in service there were no still postcards of the vessel on sale in the shop. I have refrained from describing any of the facilities etc. on board as these were more than adequately covered in a previous report by Gary Andrews.
While waiting at Stranraer station I observed HSS STENA VOYAGER berth on time at 18.55.