Round the Island excursions operated by the Lady of Mann are rather like buses. There is a long gap and then they come along together.
Prior to the main TT Festival LADY OF MANN operated a very successful "Round The Island" cruise under charter to the Manxman on May 24. Now just three weeks later the LADY OF MANN was scheduled to operate another "Round the Island" cruise.
The Steam Packet apparently decided to operate the cruise during a lay-over at Douglas between operating the inbound and outbound Church Army charter sailing from Heysham.
The LADY arrived from Heysham at 13:10 just after SEACAT ISLE OF MAN had arrived on her 10:30 sailing from Liverpool. She had brought in 782 passengers.
The LADY OF MANN's departure was scheduled for 14:30, half an hour after SEACAT ISLE OF MAN afternoon sailing to Liverpool.
Boarding commenced around 14:10. As is usual with Isle of Man coastal trips the usual security screening formalities are not carried out.
It looked as though at 14:30 departure would be achieved , but there was a slight delay which appeared to be caused by the observation of a slight technical problem in the area of the starboard propeller.
The LADY OF MANN let go and departed from the outside of Victoria Pier at 14:37 with 324 passengers. A return time in Douglas on 18:00 being advised. Captain Albiston was in command for the cruise. The route being "southabout".
Conditions were superb, with only a light breeze. The stern ramps and open decks proving very popular.
Port Soderick passed by on starboard side at 14:49, followed by Ronaldsway and Derbyhaven. The Lady was off Lankness Lighthouse by 15:05
Castletown was passed shortly afterwards. Passing Port St.Mary (15:15) the Lady continued in a south westerly direction towards Chicken Rock, passing two yachts heading the opposite way.
The Lady passed between Chicken Rock light and the Calf offering a fine view of both the Chicken Rock Lighthouse and the three Calf Lights.
Passing close in to the Calf the LADY OF MANN passed across the north west entrance to Calf Sound, the area around the Calf car park appearing quite busy.
As the LADY rounded the Calf a ro/ro vessel could be seen some distance to the south. Its profile suggesting that it was one of SeaTruck's vessels.
Running across Port Erin [15:36] close observation of the cliffs below Breda Head revealed the old mine workings situated just above the waterline.
Running up the west coast the Lady passed such familiar land marks as the picturesque cottage at Nairbyl, though binoculars were required to see it clearly. Further up the coast Glen Maye was passed and soon afterwards the LADY OF MANN was off St.Patrick's Island, its impressive fortress guarding the entrance to Peel harbour.
Beyond Peel the coastline become softer, and less dramatic as the Lady progressed towards Jurby. This section of the west coast which runs past Kirk Michael is particularly prone to coastal erosion.
The white Jurby Church providing an distinctive landmark which was passed at 16:25.
The next prominent landmark being the red and white striped Point or Ayre light house [17:03] with its fog signal station and auxiliary light.
The LADY swung southwards off Point of Ayre the with a loud blast being sounded on the ship's whistle.
We appeared to set a course directly for Maughold Head across Ramsey Bay. Ramsey was on the starboard beam at around 17:21.
Though I have done a round the island trip a few years ago, this section was completed in failing light. Viewing Maughold Head Lighthouse one can not be anything but amazed by the way it appears to cling to the sloping rocks of the cliffs. The Lady was off Maughold lighthouse at 17:35
The Lady continued south passing Laxey harbour at 17:48, on past Clay Head and past Groudle Glen to arrive back in Douglas Bay.
The LADY ran into the entrance of Douglas harbour before swinging and going astern onto the outside of Victoria Pier
Ropes were on at 18:15.
To assist rapid discharge of the vessel a car gangway was fitted to the upper level of the vehicle ramp it now being low water.