Lady of Mann
Saturday February 2
19.00 [Friday!] Liverpool to Douglas
The old saying goes "Its an ill wind that blows no good". That could be said to be very true of the recent gales and high seas which have brought disruption, destruction and death to these islands. However, the disruption to Irish Sea shipping services certainly worked to my advantage this weekend enabling me to make a day return trip to Douglas from Liverpool on board the LADY OF MANN.
The 19.00 LADY OF MANN departure from Liverpool on Friday was delayed due to adverse conditions being rescheduled to 11.00 on Saturday. This, therefore presented the opportunity for a day trip. Of course it was debatable if I would actually get a day return fare as I had not booked 24 hours in advance which is the general rule for special offer fares. As it turned out I had no problems getting a day return and was also given a £5.00 meal voucher for the inconvenience!
I had arrived at the terminal shortly before 10:00. Cars where just starting to board. The departure lounge was very sparsely populated. After a short wait boarding commenced. Shortly after getting on board I settled in the Blue Riband lounge for a while. As I was served a coffee a rumbling from the bows indicated that the anchor was being wound up.
Departure from Liverpool was prompt at 11:00 with Captain Cowin in command. The Mersey Ferry ROYAL DAFFODIL following off the stage. Running down in Langton Lock was LAGAN VIKING in the company of two Adsteam tugs on her morning sailing to Belfast.
Despite the strong winds a smooth run down the channel followed. At 11:55 the container ship STOJA was overtaken.
Q1 was passed at 11:58. The LADY OF MANN maintaining a westerly rather than north westerly course passing south of the Liverpool Bar light float at 12:04. GALWAY FISHER passed in bound at 12:11.
AT 12:24 ATLANTIC CARTIER passed inbound for Seaforth Dock.
Still maintaining the westerly course which offered the shelter of the Welsh coast the LADY OF MANN passed south of the Douglas Platform at 12:32. The Great Orme was now in view on the port side. Some miles to the stern could be seen LAGAN VIKING which was maintaining its usual north westerly route. The LADY OF MANN swung north wards around 12:43 and we left the Welsh coast behind.
Around 13:00 it was time to go and spend the meal voucher putting it towards my favourite LADY OF MANN fare - chicken and chips.
With the lee of the Welsh coast falling away the sea running in from the south west became quite noticeably lumpier with fairly high waves, the LADY was very much surfing along and the passengers appeared to be quite happy. Though quite windy it felt mild outside and I returned to the open deck around 14:10. At around this time the first officer announced that we were running at a speed of 19 knots and should be on the Pier at Douglas at 15:30.
As the LADY OF MANN approached Douglas passengers were advised that the stabilizers were to be retracted and that they should remain seated. As we approached the harbour entrance a couple of large south westerly waves rolled her a couple of times. Running into the harbour Laxey Towing Company's WENDY ANN was noted on the Battery Pier. The chartered freighter BELARD was on the Victoria Pier Link Span.
Ropes were on at 15:25.
There was a good back load of cars waiting on the pier, however, foot passengers were quite sparse. Just as passengers made their way ashore it decided to rain giving everyone a quick drenching as they walked past the BELARD before reaching the shelter of the walkway.
07:30 Douglas to Liverpool
Boarding for the return journey commenced around 15:55.
Departure from Douglas was at 16:26 with 180 passengers. The LADY OF MANN moving slowly astern off berth #2 round the knuckle of the Victoria Pier until off berth #3. At 16:35 she was away. The wind had continued to moderate with 14 knots gusting 28 knots being reported by Douglas Radio. ETA at Liverpool being stated 20:30 with a return to Douglas by around 01:30 on Sunday.
Sea was continuing to come in from SW and I would estimate wave heights as 4 to 5 metres. Though the LADY was moving around a fair amount there were no violent movements and the passengers appeared quite happy.
The lights of Douglas were still visible at 17:45 when I ventured inside to spend my return meal voucher. After the meal I retreated to the Blue Riband Lounge where I commenced writing the voyage report - amazing things these Psion Revos! Somehow or other the air conditioning had been turned up and it was distinctly chilly. Some of the other passengers grumbled and a call was made by the stewardess to have the heating turned on.
At 19:15 position was reported as 30 minutes from The Bar. Prior to this an announcement was made for a doctor or nurse to make themselves known at the information bureau.
Passed Liverpool Bar at 19:47.
Coastal Isle passed outbound at Q2.
Ropes were on at 20:52 though there was a considerable delay before the gangways were put on. There was no apparent reason for this delay. We finally disembarked around 21:15.