21st July, 2019
St Peter Port
Sunday 21st of July saw the Spirit of Discovery make her second call into St Peter Port, Guernsey. Much was the same as before; same anchorage position, Oriana anchored off our stern, and sunny blue skies. All was set for a perfect day.
Overnight we had traversed the channel. The tides are always strong here, we had 3 knots of water pushing us to the east. When we aligned to our southerly course, we observed our vessel was actually drifting south east. In order to travel south, we had to head south-west!
The anchor was dropped just before seven in the morning, the tenders were splashed shortly after, and our platforms deployed. All happens in quick succession. Our crew, especially our tender coxswains, have had to learn quickly how the new equipment works. The new tenders have two propellers, two rudders, and a catamaran-style hull, meaning they handle nothing like previous tenders that our coxswains have mastered. Yet all happens with a surprisingly fluidity and speed. By 8 o’clock the first tenders with guests are breaking off from the ship, zooming away, disappearing into the swarm of small craft surrounding the harbour.
The most important thing, in any ship-to-ship passenger transfer, is always safety. Even in the calmest conditions, the boats can always come apart, wind and waves never behave predictably. The advantage of our new box-shaped tenders is how they meet side-to-side with the ship’s platform. Separation is minimal, perhaps only a foot at most, and you disembark the tender without issue. The Condor fast ferry ‘Condor Liberation’ zooms in and out of the harbour, throwing up swells in her wake. Temperatures rose to 22 degrees and the winds veer to the south.
By 1700 hours we’d weighed our anchors and we are underway again, passing through the Alderney races and out into the channel. We celebrated nearing the end of our inaugural voyage in style: formal wear, farewell cocktails, and of course, a cloudless sunset. As we crab across the channel again, we prepare for our maiden call into the UK’s most prestigious port: Southampton!
Staff Captain Matt Goulding
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