I arrived at Mayflower Park, Southampton at a little gone 4.30am. There were only a couple of hundred people there so I was able to pick my viewing point. A large area had been cordoned off for the media which seemed a bit of a waste as there were only about three in there at the time. Didn’t need to wait long for Queen Mary to appear and oh boy did she make an entrance! She made sure that her horns could be heard right across Southampton. She looked stunning, absolutely magnificent against the dawn sky. Crowds were lining the upper decks with plenty of cheering. Southamptons Town Cryer was there doing ‘Oh yay, Oh yays’ and he led us in a chorus of the National Anthem. Every so often three cheers would break out across the crowd. I cant describe the atmoshphere – you had to be there. Queen Mary had no sooner passed to go and turn in the basin, then Queen Victoria appeared. She was the quietest of the 3 to arrive, but we still knew she was there. She glided elegantly past us and turned just beyond the park to take up her berth port side too just beyond City Terminal.
Queen Elizabeth seemed determined to make an entrance and I could just see the fire tug escort as she came into view. She was surrounded by a flotilla of smaller boats of all shapes and sizes. As she sailed past us she hooted and blasted and made sure Southampton knew she had arrived. Queen Elizabeth took up her position, starboard side too and bow to bow with Queen Victoria. The passengers and crew from each ship were cheering each other and responding with more cheers.
At this point I turned round thinking that I would move across to the other railing to look up the dock and see Queen Mary pass her two sisters. But oh my goodness, where did all these people come from? Clearly ui had been totally transfixed by the arrival of the Three Cunard Queens. There were thousands of people. The park was full!
I somehow managed to muster enough energy to move pretty sharply across the park and position myself about two rows back from the railing. Queen Mary was trying to get back down from the turning basin to pass and salute her two sisters, but the water police were having a difficult job of moving back the flotilla of small boats. Eventually a path was cleared and Queen Mary made her way slowly and majestically alongside her Sisters, queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.
You will have to imagine what Three Cunard Queens sound like blasting their horns at each other!! It can only be described as awesome!! That coupled with the cheering of all those on deck and in the park, plus the various horns from all the small boats was something I wont forget in a hurry.
As Queen Mary passed we could all see that written below her funnel on the port side was the message to HRH Queen Elizabeth “Congratulations Ma’am” what a fab tribute.
I was fozen in the park, and quite where two hours went I don’t know – wrapped up in excitement I guess. But more exciting day ahead. I need to get ready for my day on Queen Elizabeth, followed by waterline tour of all three ships, then onto the roof of Carnival House for the Red Arrows flypast.
I will try and keep you updated via Facebook HERE but its going to be a busy day. I will do my best.
And you will be able to see all of the photos HERE