Going with a Bang!

Words and Pictures by Martin Longhurst

Shortly after Waverley arrived back at Portsmouth at 19.40 on Thursday 19 September 2002, the Police cordoned off the area while a Second Word War bomb was being dealt with. It was towed out into the Solent and safely detonated the following morning.

All was safe again in time for the Waverley to call again at 12.30 on route from Southampton to Yarmouth and The Needles. The sailing was delayed 20 minutes at Yarmouth to maintain the connection from Lymington as one of the Wightlink ferries was off service for repairs at Southampton.

The second and last Round the Island sailing took place on Saturday. 350 were on board on departure as the paddler headed for Portsmouth.

P&O's Pride of Hampshire enters Portsmouth Harbour in her last few days of service

Excellent pick ups here and at Yarmouth brought the total Round the Island to over 700.

The circumnavigation took place anti-clockwise, but visibility did not allow St Catherine's Point to be seen quite from The Needles today.

Back to Yarmouth there was a lengthy call to allow the vast number of passenger transfers to take place.

Turning back east we saw the P&O Cruise's Oriana emerge from Southampton Water and head off for warmer climes. Despite the large number to disembark at Portsmouth, departure was only two minutes late and Southampton was reached fifteen early.

Sunday was bright and sunny with a light northerly breeze. Driving to Southampton to join the steamer, we passed innumerable coaches heading for London so their passengers could take part in the Counrtyside March.

Waverley flies St David's flag from her jack staff at Southampton while Red Osprey heads for East Cowes

There was a pleasing number joining the ship at Southampton, Yarmouth and Bournemouth. We had a close view of Old Harry Rocks on the way to Swanage, where a large number disembarked. A speedy cruise took the paddler into Weymouth early.

Waverley prepares to leave Weymouth for her return to Southampton

Shortly afterwards a Coastguard helicopter practised landing and recovering a crew member from the stern

The afternoon sun lights up the Dorset coast at St Alban's Head

Excellent progress was made eastwards with early arrivals allowing on-time departures for the next leg despite the large numbers of passengers disembarking and embarking. The paddler tied up at Berth 49 some ten minutes early.

And finally... a commemorative cake baked by Jen Horn and decorated by Tony Horn

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