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  1. Another island for completists is Chausey, which is geographically though not politically a ‘Channel Island’. It’s easily accessible from Granville, giving a very enjoyable day out, with a restaurant and shop and some nice beaches. A few people live there all year in some charming cottages. It’s surrounded by a huge area of dangerous reefs which are exposed at low tide, so some similarities with ‘our’ islands further north. Of course it might be argued that the Isle of Wight is also a ‘Channel Island’, but the only people who really believe that are companies trying to extort extra charges when asked to deliver here.
  2. I agree that there is much to like about Victoria of Wight. Certainly a great improvement internally on St Clare, which has always struck me as resembling a floating motorway service station. And externally VoW makes a fine sight as it proceeds in stately fashion across the Solent. There is a bit of a ‘big ship’ feel about it. The attractive forward-facing sloping windows do have one drawback, though. At night they reflect the bright jazzy carpet, so it’s very difficult to see anything outside. In an ideal world, where ferries were run to meet the needs of the public rather than to fill the pockets of the owners, Wightlink would now be ordering one if not two sister ships. As it is, the policy is obviously to reduce capacity, so, as has been pointed out, we are less likely to get special offers; and there will be an incentive to reduce the crossings for which Multilink tickets can be used. The long gaps in the service are also a pain, but the summer timetable does contain a modest piece of good news (once you have managed to decode the complicated key): on Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, there is now a ferry from Gunwharf at 0100. This restores the possibility of an evening out in London and returning the same day which we lost when Wightlink took the axe to the evening services about ten years ago. But only on those days, and only in summer!
  3. Thanks for the info - not sure that the ‘ease and joy’ of ferry travel is a description that those of us who rely on ferries for our everyday travels would recognise (I see Wightlink have cancelled again this morning). But in the spirit of the offer I will certainly be applying in the hope of a trip to some attractive Scottish island or the IoM.
  4. I used them on Thursday too. The gates were held open while the stream of arriving Wightlink passengers went through. On my return journey later in the evening I was met by a closed gate and was asked by the gatekeeper ‘Wightlink’?, to which I responded yes (truthfully, as it happens) and was let through. I have yet to explore what happens in other situations eg when you leave the platforms, try to use the station toilets only to find that they are out of action (a very common state of affairs) and need to return through the barrier to use the Wightlink toilets. Incidentally, although Wightlink have placed a notice at the entrance to their ramp to the effect that their passengers can go through the barriers, there is no such notice where it is more needed, on the ‘landward’ side of the barrier, so that those unfamiliar with the layout do not waste time looking for an alternative route to the ferry avoiding the barrier.
  5. I saw something of the cleaning operation at Portsmouth when I took a day trip to St Malo a month ago. It looked pretty rushed and chaotic, not helped by the presence of passengers wandering round to see if their cabin was ready. I did wonder how they would cope with anything like a fully-loaded ship. Having said that, and mindful of the ongoing discussions on this site, I could not find fault with my cabin. Like Yann, I had a splendid trip. First time on Pont Aven, and I was really impressed, and remarkable value for money. Quite lightly loaded, though not as eerily empty as it apparently was for Yann. The only downside was that the link span was jammed on arrival at St Malo; this affected foot passengers like me as well as the tide was apparently too high for the passenger gangway to be used. After 90 minutes it was decided that the gangway could be used after all so we escaped. The delay did not matter too much for me, but those with train connections were not happy. I don’t know how much longer the vehicles had to wait - attempts were being made to lift the linkspan manually, but these were not successful. Perhaps they had to wait for the tide to align the ship and ramp naturally. Anyway, when I returned in the evening the problem had obviously been solved.
  6. Hermit

    St Faith

    The first message, on Friday, attributed the temporary timetable to the need ‘to complete trials on a new engine on board one of our ships’. By Monday the reason was ‘due to one of our ships delayed return from annual refit’, which points the finger away from VoW. Clear as mud. Even with the service reduction, the 12 o’clock sailing from Gunwharf was far from full - no need to use the surviving mezzanine deck.
  7. Hermit

    St Faith

    To answer my own query, the doors are gone and have been replaced by steel panels. There are still some relics of the previous mezzanine deck - on the stairways, there is at least one surviving but inoperative door push button, and there remains a ‘stairway to passenger lounges’ sign on the upper wall of the deck. The only other modification I noticed, which has already been mentioned, was the addition of plates for the new docking system. These are asymmetric, and block off the view from a couple of bays each side. They have been finished tidily with new panelling. St Faith is in the unaccustomed position of being sole ship this afternoon under the reduced timetable this week, but future opportunities to travel on her will be more limited: the era of crossing on the saints, which has been part of islanders’ lives for so long, is coming to an end.
  8. Hermit

    St Faith

    I asked Wightlink why there were no notifications of the Friday cancellations and they have now apologised for the omission. The cancellations the following week while St Faith was getting back from Falmouth were publicised in the normal way, so let’s hope the Friday silence was a one-off.
  9. Hermit

    St Anton

    Where does the name come from? Homage to Ant ‘n Dec perhaps?
  10. Hermit

    St Faith

    I wonder whether they have removed the sliding doors that gave access to the now-removed mezzanine deck and plated over the gaps, or simply left the doors as non-functioning?
  11. My guess is that politics came into these decisions. Ministers would have thought it would be embarrassing if the contracts were given entirely to non-UK operators, French and Danish. Hardly looks like ‘taking back control’. They would have been desperate to find some UK operator -any UK operator - to participate. But of course the fact that Seaborne looks such an implausible operator has actually caused them more embarrassment than ever.
  12. Hermit

    St Faith

    This time they have put a warning of the timetable change and also notified subscribers to the travel alerts. Still not good news for anyone affected but at least we know where we are.
  13. Hermit

    St Faith

    It is only when you try to book that you discover that there will only be the two ships operating (and some of their sailings are fully booked). Not only is there no indication on the Service Status page that the published service is not being run, but those of us who subscribe to the text alerts of changes to the timetable have not received any. It looks very much as though the policy is not to say anything and hope that no one notices. This sort of thing also makes me wonder about how the service reliability statistics are being calculated - the claimed 99.7% figure for Portsmouth - Fishbourne is hard to believe. When is a cancellation not a cancellation? Mind you, Wightlink may not be the only people suspected of misleading behaviour. On another forum Red Funnel are also accused of claiming that service status was ‘good’ when there were actually substantial delays.
  14. It’s a catamaran CRC Gladiator, which turns out to be ex-Scoot 1 from our old friends Scoot Ferries. Since it only takes 12 passengers it’s hardly an adequate replacement for a W class. But then again, since it will by definition only be running in rough conditions, it will presumably only be the hardiest commuters who will want to take it. It’s Lymington stop is at Town Quay, so not ideal for anyone wanting a train connection.
  15. Wightlink have cancelled sailings between Lymington and Yarmouth because of an engine-room fire onboard Wight Sky on the berth at Lymington. All crew and passengers have been safely evacuated. This is the third ‘W’ Class fire in little over a year, which is worrying.
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