On Sundays during the summer is has been possible to do a time ashore day trip to Dublin. Departing Liverpool at 08:15 on SUPERSEACAT THREE and returning from Dublin on SEACAT ISLE OF MAN at 17:45 which allows several hours ashore..
Of course I had booked this trip before the recent technical problems with SUPERSEACAT THREE. She had missed her sailings between Wednesday July 17 and Friday July 19. The Dublin sailings were cancelled, whilst SEACAT ISLE OF MAN provided extra sailings on the Isle of Man service. Though she herself was not without her problems in her plumbing department.
Back in service by Saturday SUPERSEACAT THREE made a less than sparkling return to service with late running to and from Dublin and subsequently on her evening run to Douglas.
I though this trip would prove interesting. Arriving at the terminal early to ensure a parking space in the new car park I waited in the car until shortly before boarding commenced at 07:25. Across the river MERSEY VIKING was on Twelve Quays South.
SUPERSEACAT THREE's engine was fired up at 07:55. However she didn't get away until 08:18 when she departed with 102 vehicles and 416 passengers
CITY OF GLASGOW could be seen at the Seaforth Container terminal.
08:35 Overtook Crescent's small tanker BRABOURNE at C22.
08:45 SSC3 started to round Crosby bend. Visibility was pretty good with the Cumbrian Fells clearly visible to the north.
08:55 Cleared channel at Q1 notifying a return ETA at 16:30. A pilot launch was keeping station close to Q2.
Passed south of Liverpool Bar at 09:00
09:16 Douglas Platform passed
10:33 Passed Skerries. Chief Officer reported a speed of 35knots to passengers in the mid voyage update
11:20 Belgian trawler noted heading west bound.
11:56 Passing Baily, sand hopper LONGSAND noted heading north
12:01 Point India
12:05 Tug SHAKESPEARE off Poolbeg
JONATHAN SWIFT passed outbound near North Bank Lighthouse. At the Norse Merchant Ferries terminal BRAVE MERCHANT and RIVER LUNE were berthed.
12:22 Ropes On
My last sailing from Dublin on SEACAT ISLE OF MAN had been on one of the Wednesday Only sailings operated on the first season of Sea Containers Liverpool - Dublin route back in 1997.
With JONATHAN SWIFT occupying berth 49 late on a Sunday afternoon SEACAT ISLE OF MAN uses the new berth 51a at the side of the terminal. Passengers being conveyed the short distance onto the linkspan by one of Dublin Port's recently acquired Leyland National buses.
17:40 SEACAT ISLE OF MAN departed with Captain Dermot O'Toole in command and his brother Brendan as Executive Officer.
Loadings were rather light at 114. In fact the extra weekend Liverpool - Dublin [Saturdays Only] and Dublin - Liverpool [Sundays only] have tended to be lightly loaded. This appears strange as one would have expected the later departure from Dublin in particular to prove attractive to passengers returning from weekend breaks.
JONATHAN SWIFT was loading for her early evening departure for Holyhead at berth 49 as SCIOM passed by.
STENA FORWARDER passed inbound to port near Poolbeg. Unfortunately I managed to miss her!
As we rounded the Baily speed was increased. ULYSSES was heading inbound on the starboard side around 18:12
18:57 the Welsh coast was visible in the distance. A large, heavily laden tanker passed southbound.
19:22 passed off South Stack.
19:26 Tanker heading round South Stack changing course to south.
At about 19:40 Captain informed everyone that due to the favourable conditions arrival at Liverpool would be on time at 21:45.
20:38 Douglas rig.
20:45 - Ten minutes from bar
Unidentified tanker and cargo ship noted at Bar anchorage
20:55 overtook Blackboxes cargo ship MUHLENBURG
20:56 Entering channel at Q1.
Slowed up to ascertain intention of tanker CURZOLA in channel which had just boarded pilot.
CURZOLA was passed at Formby buoy. SCIOM passing to north.
21:06 STELLA LIRA at C1
21:11 Large outbound tanker C15
21:17 C23 reducing speed
21:23 Lagan Viking breaking away from Twelve Quays. She passed outbound on the portside.
ROYAL DAFFODIL was on Seacombe landing stage
A number of small craft were in the river waiting for Alfred.
SCIOM swung off Twelve Quays approaching the Landing Stage from south and was on the berth on schedule at 21:45.
Despite both SUPERSEACAT THREE and SEACAT ISLE OF MAN's recent problems the trip proved to be smooth and straightforward.