Saturday, 15 April 2017
SUMMER 2016 - July ferrying Part 10, the final one
Sunday 24th July 2016
I took photographs after our late night Bridge visit here on PRINCE and departure from Igoumenitsa, and of course by that time my camera settings told me it was the next day, i.e. Sunday 24th July, so here are some of those pictures.
The alarm went off at 5.25 a.m. after what felt like a very short night's sleep. Waking to the sound of the ocean was lovely though, with just an awareness of a barely-audible gentle engine noise in the background.
We made our way along to the Bridge, from our very own original stern bridge accommodation, and the Captain again made us very welcome. We watched the Pilot come on board and were introduced to him when he arrived on the Bridge and then we were able to watch the ship PRINCE prepare to turn and get the ramps down to the quay, here in Brindisi in Italy.
The Captain told us that it had taken us just 16 minutes from the outer harbour entrance to getting the ramp down. That is such a contrast with the VASTERVIK, although we think that her engines and controls are not able to do anything faster. We could see her approaching the quay this morning in fact, and she was certainly faster at getting the ramp down here in Brindisi than she was in Igoumenitsa last night (which took 45 minutes). He also told us that PRINCE has 6 engines but uses 2, and can do 22 knots but does 14 knots usually. He gave us his e-mail address to keep in touch. He lives on a Greek island, has a boat for his enjoyment, and a son working in a London Bank. He also told me that he lectures on stars and celestial ways.
This morning in daylight I could see the charts more clearly (used as a back-up for the modern systems on board) and smell the basil plant being grown in a pot. We also stood on the glass panel in the floor at the end of the internal Bridge wings, looking down many feet to the sea below. I could also see and photograph the bell of the PRINS JOACHIM (built 1980) down on the fo'c's'le deck.
Soon we had to leave the Bridge and thank the Captain of PRINCE, and make plans to pack and take final photographs. The staff on here are really friendly, and obviously enjoy their work because many of them spoke to us as we finally disembarked. Oh, goodbye PRINCE, we didn't have many hours on board but goodness they had been amazing.
We took a local taxi into the port town and went to Betty's for breakfast. I then went for a walk around the back streets to see the Roman remains. The Roman marble columns of Brindisi were erected in 1st Century BC and reconstructed between the 2nd and 3rd Century AD to overlook the port and are the symbol of the city. Only one remains now, having been damaged during the passing of time, but I was glad to see it.
Reality and the internet brought us down to earth, as we discovered that most of the Italian trains are on a 24 hour strike today. Plan B was hastily discussed as we made our way up to Brindisi railway station to see if anything was actually running. One long-distance train was running to Milan, two of us bought tickets and raced to another platform to catch it, and caught it with moments to spare. We fell into comfy numbered seats in the air-conditioned carriage and enjoyed over an hour's journey north as we made our way to Bari.
My other friend was hoping to catch an evening train up to Milan, which would probably run, so there were hurried goodbyes at Brindisi as we started to go our separate ways home.
Once in Bari we would relax, find a little local backstreet restaurant for lunch, and get a non-striking train to Bari airport in time to fly home to the UK. We had enjoyed ferrying on many ex-Sealink ships, in Greek and Italian waters, and had many wonderful memories and photographs to take home - how fortunate we each felt.