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den herraghty

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About den herraghty

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  • Birthday 01/11/1960

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  1. den herraghty

    HMS Queen Elizabeth

    Ferryman has beaten me to it! She is currently in port. You might like this link https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/qhm/portsmouth/shipping-movements Yours Aye Den
  2. den herraghty

    Straits of Messina

    Thanks. Pleased you enjoyed it. Den
  3. den herraghty

    Straits of Messina

    I know this is just a little bit far away from home...but I thought it might be of interest,,,,,,, I’ve just returned from a short trip to Catania which included a side trip to Messina to hopefully ‘get’ some new ferries. My last visits to Catania were about ten years ago when I worked in Naples with NATO. These included a mix of flying, TrenItalia IC, TrenaNotta (Night trains) and the TTT Line service using a Visentinti between the two cities. I had hoped to use the Caronte&Touriste service from Salerno to Messina – but it never worked out. During these trips I managed to travel on ‘Scilla’, ‘Regina’ and ‘Villa’ in both train and foot passenger modes so I was hoping to get either ‘Logudora’ or ‘Messina’ on this occasion. Having had a pleasant couple of nights stay in an intriguing small hotel close to the centre, I arrived at Catania Centrale just after 11.00 allowing plenty of time to buy a through ticket to Villa S. Giovanni on the IC 724 (Siracuse – Roma Terminii) departing at 11.39. The ticket machines allow you to select a seat for the journey, although it advises that the seating plan might not match the actual configuration of the carriage!. The cost of a through ticket is more than double that of a ticket to Messina Centrale (€ 15.50 compared to € 7.25) however it doesn’t tell you that the RFI monocareno fare is extra. Departure is on time and there is only a slight delay on the journey along the stunning South Eastern Sicilian coastline. Once at Messina Cle. there’s a bit of a wait until the Palermo section arrives which becomes slightly uncomfortable as there’s no air conditioning. After lots of shouting, hand waving, forefinger and thumb circling (I do miss that!) we get shunted aboard what looks like a modern ferry. Yes! It’s MESSINA ( Her name is displayed considerably larger than on her fleet mates) Our carriage hits the buffer stops with a jolt – which prompts the Australian couple sitting behind me to enquire ‘do they know what they’re doing? (don’t forget the inflection at the end of doing…..) Once it’s safe to disembark I’m off to explore and it’s really quite pleasant. As we’re at the aft end of the vessel, there is quite a lot of open deck space, a small saloon, what would normally be an entrance hall – but actually leads to the MES, then a large saloon with a café/bar. All very clean, light, airy and pleasant – but none of the charm of the older vessels. Messina also has side loading ramps for vehicles and instructions for using the garage decks. Happily our handbrakes remained on and the alarms did not go off J On arrival at the mainland, it appears that ‘Villa’ has followed us across and is ready for traffic. Whether this is planned – or is a special departure for the heavily delayed (3h20) ICN from the North – I don’t know but it seemed strange that both should sail so close together. Now it’s time to savour the delights of the RFI Bluferries passenger service. Signs direct you to the ticket office and embarkation point. The ticket office is a portacabin situated behind the buffet. A mere € 2.50 allows you to forego the experience of escalators and passenger walkways (firmly closed off) and enjoy a circuitous, uncovered route to your vessel. This is where unsuspecting passengers (4 on my trip) are made aware that TrenItalia tickets are not valid and have to purchase additional ones. My vessel today is ‘Tindari Jet’ which I embark on the upper deck and through a stripped out saloon. Downstairs is not much better but, as its only a twenty minute crossing I shouldn’t expect too much. The vessel does look very down at heel though. The crossing consists of ten minutes of ‘high speed’ with the remainder pootling along due to, I imagine, harbour speed limits. My intention was to walk around the harbour to catch an attractive vessel I had seen from the deck of the ‘Messina’ however another portacabin ticket office belonging to Liberty Lines caught my attention. Offering a new port (Reggio Calabria), a new company and two new high speed craft how could I refuse….so € 6.50 later and I’m off to …well...somewhere new for 30 minutes! ‘Vittoria E’ took me on my second, rather soporific, trip to Italy today. A short walk uphill leads to a war memorial dedicated to the Italian Air Force during the battle of Reggio Calabria in 1943. Carefully stepping around the broken bottles and other detritus, the statue atop the monument shone brightly in the sun which has encouraged me to find out more about this. My return was on board ‘Gabriele M’ and a protracted arrival at her lay-by berth. Onwards to Fontanarossa Airport and my flight home was by a SAIS coach which was advertised as non stop. However we came off the Autostrade to pick up a passenger high above Tremestriere ferry which afforded a good view of ‘Fata Morgana’ now providing the RFI Bluferries service to the mainland. So – 1 day (afternoon really) – 1 new port – 4 new ferries - € 9.00 +IC train fare € 15.50 –not bad. I hope this helps anyone intending to try this trip. Fares for the TrenaNotte services are quite reasonable. You can do Catania to Napoli for € 50 in a shared couchette. Den
  4. den herraghty

    Voyage Report - St Malo (Terminal Building!)

    Gareth Not cabin wise, I'm sure P+O still do lunch cruises from Dover to Calais. Return trip, Club Class one way, Three course meal all for about £ 30 Den
  5. den herraghty

    Voyage Report - St Malo (Terminal Building!)

    To be honest my first impression when I entered cabin 5331 on PA was "wow - an actual single cabin" then I remembered this site and the fact that extra berths are in the deckhead rather than just folded up as in Bretagne. It really does make a difference. I don't know why there is a gap between the berth and the bulkhead in this particulr cabin - the pillow doesn't really fit it but I got a good sleep! Breintagne's outside cabins I seem to remember as being quite good - however the 'outside-inside' cabin in your post and mine facinates me. As an aside - the last time I was on PA I had a port side balcony cabin.... Den
  6. den herraghty

    Voyage Report - St Malo (Terminal Building!)

    Sorry Gareth - i'm not sure. Ex Portsmouth I only had cursory glance at the menu and it seemed that the right hand side was titled 'Quatre des Saisons' or something like that. I wasn't paying too much attention as I was intending to eat on the return. (Plus the piano was spooking me out - I don't spook easily. Stupid - I know) Den
  7. den herraghty

    Voyage Report - St Malo (Terminal Building!)

    CVA - Thanks for reading. I agree however my disappointment was offset a bit by being on PA. It's one of life's travel curveballs - didn't mange to dodge this one! Gareth - Only informed by my line manager (insert several ?????????) just before I finished my shift on Friday at 14.00 that I was off on monday as well (it was my normal w/e off). I've only done the trip on Bretagne before and always been to get coffee - but then again that's a bit later in the season. Thanks for your comments and feedback Den
  8. I had an unexpected long weekend last week (Feb 3/4/5) and decided to do something ‘constructive’ rather than sit in watching television. My last proper sea trip was back in the spring of 2017 to Cherbourg/Guernsey so it was obviously time to rectify that. Accordingly a short trip to St Malo was booked (via BFE of course!) on ‘Pont Aven’ – a ship I have not been on for quite some time. I’ve done this trip a few times before on ‘Bretagne’ and know that there is enough time to walk into the walled city, have a quick coffee, search for any new ship related postcards and get back in time for boarding so I wasn’t too concerned when I received texts and e-mails advising me that the gangway would be unavailable and that footies would disembark via the car deck obviously taking longer than normal. Late Sunday afternoon and I take the ‘long way’ round from my flat (near Gosport) to Portsmouth International Port using First Solent E1/X4 services arriving just before 18.00. I am checked in reasonably quickly although the staff seem to be having ‘one of those nights’. One has a long discussion with a group of four; her colleague has difficulty in persuading all members of another party to be at the desk whilst presenting their passports. The third agent warmly welcomes me, sorts out my boarding card, advises me again the ‘the gangway etc….’ and informs me that boarding will commence at 18.15. WOW! (My reservation did indicate this but I always understood this to be for cars – not footies. Nice little surprise.) Once on board it was a little disappointing to find out that both of the lifts in the main foyer were out of order – not that it really mattered as my cabin was only one deck down on 5 deck, an inside two berth rigged for one. After enjoying its welcoming warmth for a little while, I complete my ritual of checking escape/muster station routes before re-acquainting myself with PA. On 7 deck ‘Le Café Festival’ is closed and the temperature difference is quite remarkable compared to the adjacent ‘La Belle Angele’. Back aft, the piano plays away to itself, with only the restaurant staff for an audience. Up to 8 deck, where I buy my customary departure pint, then onwards to 9 deck to witness our slightly early departure at 20.00. The transit of the dockyard and out to OSB is accompanied by the protests of canine friends being left in an unfamiliar surroundings and, on return to my cabin, an ever changing litany of car alarms. Dinner was taken in ‘La Belle Angele’ and was good value at £ 10 for a main (ok-ish cod and fresh cooked chips) and dessert (large slice of chocolate and cream cake which had a surprise layer of pears!) accompanied by a bottle of red and overhearing a very interesting discussion by a group of NHS workers at the table beside me. I also learned (from the chef) that there were only 300 pax on board. Bed follows and it is a more than welcome feeling to be asleep at sea again. The best sleep I’ve had in a long time is interrupted by the wake up music doing its intended job. Dawn is still trying to make its presence felt as we dock on time. Announcements are made for car passengers on 3 deck to proceed there and ‘passagers pietons’ to assemble at reception on 6 deck. We are advised (again) that the gangway cannot be used due to tidal conditions and there will be a delay. At 8.45 we are informed that we can now disembark and proceed to 3 deck. At ‘C’ lift, several passengers are advised that they can use the stairs for this, however both ladies in front of me individually ask which deck they have to go to…….. The bus has an abortive attempt to reach the terminal building as some more footies arrive. Once there immigration is quite swift and I am checking in for the return journey just before 09.00. My suspicion that the only part of St Malo I will see today is the terminal building is confirmed by the (now familiar) information that ‘the gangway…..’ and boarding will commence at 09.30 – hence the title! Thirty minutes is obviously not enough time considering the lock is in demand (I had observed the movements of vessels during the wait on 6 deck). I wander outside into the car park to watch the sun make its presence felt on this cold morning. One coffee in the bar later and it’s the earlier process in reverse! My cabin this time is 6164 which is an outside cabin on the inside! Confused? – I was a little bit initially but quickly liked the idea. The cabin is situated port side forward with a window looking out onto the wrap-round walkway which is a feature of the ship. The window, in turn, marries a corresponding one on the ships side. Simples! I just have enough time to get my pint and onto the open deck to witness the ropes coming off and our departure. A beautiful morning quickly changes as a squall comes through and it’s back into the warmth of the bar. In daylight this area is transformed from the gloominess of last night with the full glory of this two deck high space displayed – even though it is a bit grey outside. Although the marshalling area seemed quite busy, there are less people on board now (250) than last night. A quick snooze and it’s time to think about lunch. I dally with treating myself to ‘Le Flora’ but the only option that appeals is the Burger…..which I feel is cheating a bit on fine dining. (A quick question for any ‘La Flora’ regulars out there – why does a buffet/main course selection cost more than buffet/main/buffet selection?). Needless to say I had a delicious salmon main/lemon meringue combination from the self service and a pleasant afternoon drinking wine/book reading/(very few) people watching. I noticed some signs adjacent to ‘le Grand Pavois’ bar advising that “Alcohol/Tobacco sales are not permitted within 20 mins after departure/before arrival into Plymouth” but there seems to be no restrictions at Portsmouth. Does anyone know why? A couple of lumps and bumps/short,fierce squalls during the crossing and all too soon we’re back in Portsmouth. Disembarkation and Border formalities are quickly done and then it’s off home. I’ve enjoyed this unexpected trip – even though I didn’t achieve my initial aim. Being on PA was a nice little treat. The daytime element of the journey certainly showed how light and airy she is. The crew were wonderful and the information flow regarding the gangway situation cannot be faulted. Cabin 6164 I would happily have again – even to Spain. Thanks BFE for the offer and, as always, comments are welcome Den
  9. den herraghty

    Waverley damged in Rothesay

    cvabishop Apologies - to you
  10. den herraghty

    Waverley damged in Rothesay

    As it is obviously too hard to go to the website and do it ................ http://www.shipsofcalmac.com/forum/register.php Den
  11. den herraghty

    Waverley damged in Rothesay

    Hi, There are pictures and more information of this incident on the Ships Of CalMac forum website. http://www.shipsofcalmac.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12174&page=4 Relevant articles begin about half way down Den
  12. den herraghty

    HMS Queen Elizabeth

    Day off today and getting up for 06.00 ish was infinitely harder than my usual 04.45 alarm Bus journey down to Gosport was a little fractious as regulars were keen to get the ferry before it stopped and additiional pax were delaying the service. Lots of people lining the shoreline plus an armed police presence (first time I've seen that in Gosport). Some pyrotechnics from the Southsea side then a burst of applause and cheering as she passed Falkland Gardens. A (very early) good day out!
  13. den herraghty

    Cherbourg and Guernsey

    d2frs and Jim. Thanks for the comments. It's due to this site that I was aware of C Lib's track record and planned accordingly. Many Thanks BFE!!! Cabin-boy. By the time I walked to the railway station there was only one more scheduled train left (21.54 just under an hours wait). The information boards were stating that 'no real time information was available etc' and SWT were having a bad night due to problems at Micheldever. I could have carried on to the bus station but after the delay and long walk I just wanted to have a pint/lie down. They say 'Every cloud has a silver lining' and this turned out to be the taxi ride as, when we got to the hotel, it wasn't where I had worked it out to be (if you know what I mean). Thanks for reading/commenting Den
  14. den herraghty

    Cherbourg and Guernsey

    Wortley, WOW! You're almost spot on!. I've just added all the transport/HOTAC costs up and it came to £ 204.25. The bus travel in/around Portsmouth was covered by my monthly pass; cross harbour travel was on the return half of a ticket. It would have been under that figure if I hadn't had to take a taxi from Poole station to my hotel (£ 15). I can provide a more detailed breakdown if you're bored! Yours Aye Den
  15. den herraghty

    Cherbourg and Guernsey

    Thanks Paully..I thought it might have been too long a report - glad you enjoyed it Den
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