I arrived at the terminal early to ensure a space at the new car park. This facility is a most welcome provision, given that there is no all day parking available near the terminal. The nearby NCP Newquay Car Park has never been particularly suitable for day trippers closing in the early evening.
The other advantage of the car park is that one can check in and buy your car park ticket and then return to the car, only going back into the terminal building when boarding is about to commence. Something which can be particularly useful when there are large numbers in the departure lounge!
Passenger loading commenced at 07:35.
As I walked up the link span MERSEY VIKING was noted arriving at Twelve Quays South from Belfast.
08:10 Engine Start
There was a slight delay in departure due to a crew member taking ill and having to be put ashore.
08:20 Stern ramps reported closed and secure.
08:22 Ropes were let go and SUPERSEACAT THREE sailed with 415 passengers and 104 vehicles.
As SUPERSEACAT THEE moved off the Wijsmuller tugs ASHGARTH and OAKGARTH could be seen awaiting the tanker MATCO CLYDE bound for the Tranmere Oil Terminal which passed inbound at 08:31.
The Rock was passed at 08:37 several inbound vessels could be seen further up the channel.
Ramsey Steamship Company's BEN VARREY passed in bound near Crosby Lightfloat at 08:47.
08:52 Tanker STOLT ASPIRATION passed inbound closely followed by a pilot boat. Just entering the channel could be seen SEACAT ISLE OF MAN on her morning sailing from Douglas
SUPERSEACAT THREE was clear of the channel at Q1 at 08:58.
09:01 Liverpool Bar passed to starboard
STOLT PETREL and an outbound container ship were heading away to north west. Approaching or anchored from the north was a large, unidentified bulker.
Douglas platform passed at 09:16.
Passed north of Skerries 10:26. The chief officer in his mid voyage report informed passengers that we were running at 34 knots. Weather condition: wind force 2 with slight sea and swell.
10:40 A group of dolphins or porpoises caused some interest amongst passengers on the outside deck.
11:16 ESCO's VARBOLA on charter to Norse Merchant Ferries passed eastbound for Heysham.
11:25 Position reported 30 minutes from Baily. Lambay Island visible to starboard. Cloud noticeably thicker to west.
11:56 Baily passed.
As SSC 3 ran across Dublin Bay LÉ EMER [P21] could be seen at anchor off Dún Laoghaire
12:11 Poolbeg Lighthouse.
Ropes were on at 12:27 and we were secure alongside at 12:32.
There was to be no waiting for JONATHAN SWIFT to clear the berth. JONATHAN SWIFT was berthed bow on at the new linkspan berth on the west side of the terminal. The previous day she had been damaged in a mishap at Holyhead. Later, from the terminal departure lounge it was just possible to make out the rear of what looked like a "cherry picker" at work on the port side of the bow.
Whilst awaiting boarding for the return trip the crew could be seen testing flares on the stern ramps of SSC3.
At the MTL terminal could be seen MONIKA EHLER, COASTAL BREEZE and COASTAL WAVE. CELTIC KING was loading on the north side container berth.
Upstream could be seen EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR loading for her Saturday afternoon sailing for Cherbourg.
Boarding for the return journey commenced rather later at 13:25.
The terminal's electronic departure board already showing the 13:15 to Liverpool having "departed". Obviously someone had forgotten to change the departure board to take into account the Saturday departure time of 13:45.
There was to be a delay in the return sailing as a large number of coach passengers were awaited. These were passengers who should have travelled on the RAPIDE's morning sailing to Heysham. Many of them holiday makers bound for Blackpool. They had been bussed down to Dublin, however, the coach had become lost and they were late arriving at Dublin Port.
13:47 EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR cleared for departure to Cherbourg advising an arrival time of 07:30 UTC. She had 261 passengers on board.
EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR passed of berth 49 at 14:00.
SUPERSEACAT THREE departed at 14:05 with 635 passengers. Requests were made for luggage to be removed from available seats always an indication of a busy sailing! Fortunately I remained the sole occupant of the BR lounge despite the high capacity chaos elsewhere including that in the adjoining First Class.
14:20 LÉ EMER [P21] remained at anchor off Dún Laoghaire by now surrounded by many yachts of various sizes.
As SSC3 swung to the east EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR headed off down the coast.
14:53 HSS STENA EXPLORER passed west bound
15:50 southbound coaster noted off Anglesey
15:58 Past Skerries Light to starboard
16:14 SSC3 overtook tanker CRESCENT HIGHWAY near Lynas.
Passing Lynas at 16:18 a bulk carrier could be seen at anchor off Amlwch.
16:56 CRUDE PRINCESS overtaken which was also heading towards the Mersey. Heavy cloud hung over the Snowdonian Mountains. The mountains almost appearing to support the sky!
17:08 Position reported 10 minutes from Bar
17:14 Dundalk Ship Owners CLON LEE in bound for Mersey.
17:18 LAUENBURG at anchor near Q1 small fishing launch was also noted.
17:22 Q1 passed
As SUPERSEACAT THREE rounded Crosby bend SEACAT ISLE OF MAN could be seen in the river outbound for Dublin with just 76 passengers! Obviously the outbound RAPIDE passengers hadn't been diverted via the Saturdays Only extra sailing to Dublin which has been consistently lightly loaded since its inauguration a few weeks ago.
17:40 Speed was reduced at C23. A jet ski could be seen off New Brighton but its rider did not appear r to do anything stupid.
18:01 SUPERSEACAT THREE arrived Princes Landing Stage