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Pegpilot

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  • Birthday 25/12/1960

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  1. Yup, I was on Hurtigruten's maiden cruise from Dover to Norway and jolly splendid it was too. They lost 4 out of 11 slots on the coastal ferry contract 2 years ago so they've retired the old Lofoten, converted two (including Midnatsol/Maud) for cruising and Trollfjord is currently laid up in Bergen. Expect to see Maud in Dover every fortnight for the foreseeable. Writing a piece for FCR mag - keep an eye out.
  2. Ordered mine through Boots 2 days before getting back from Norway into Dover. Waiting for me when I got back on Wednesday, sent off Friday afternoon, results received Sunday morning. All good. But the combined cost of pre- and post trip tests were about £150.
  3. Hi Ed. No, I'm told that the locator form would have been a requirement in any case even if we'd only visited Norway. And as for the Day 2 test, yes, that too would have been necessary without the Calais call. Happily I tested negative - on board protocols were pretty good. Boarding was a pain in the doodah though. PCR Test, vaccination certificate (guess what - my hard copy had expired on 31 Aug so I had to generate a new one on my lappy at check-in). And I stupidly declared a runny nose in previous 2 weeks (cause - hay fever) and got the third degree as a consequence. Any feeling of being hard-done-by was quelled by the sight of Hunter running in to Dover before we departed with 40 boat people on board......
  4. Returned on Hurtigruten's Maud last Wednesday into the cruise terminal at Dover. Only check was a lady asking to see my Passenger Locator Form on my laptop, not even a passport show. BUT, Maud made a very brief call at Calais a few hours before arrival in Dover to satisfy Norwegian "international cruising" regulations and we all got woken at 6am to present our passports in person to unsmiling French flics in the auditorium despite not being allowed ashore. And we weren't even asked to take our facemasks off for facial recognition, so it was all a bit pointless and I'm guessing that the show of force was political. Apart from that, a good trip, only 120 pax on board - 200 joined the 2nd cruise when we left, vessel capacity 500.
  5. Used to be a common thing when my mum lived in St Margarets and we took our sons down to the beach there - all the UK mobile masts were shielded by the cliffs behind us. So you had to be careful not to use your mobile down there, as you'd be routed through a French provider. In those days we had a Motorola LR1 MR1 Orange phone and a 15-minute-a-month contract. Anyway, off to Dover tomorrow to join Hurtigruten's Maud on Wednesday - not seen the sea for 2 years and can't wait. Going to spend a couple of hours at Langdon Cliffs tomorrow afternoon for old times' sake. Will try to snap Cote D'Opale as she leaves at tea time ! Oh, and it was good fun to have a UK mobile signal sailing between Denmark and the Faroes as we dived through Yell sound on the Norroena a few years back.
  6. Equally jealous. But here's a photo of her sister I snapped in 2008 on Zakynthos on a family cruise - the Ugo Foscolo, originally named Mikhail Sholokhov. She'd been acquired to run for ANEZ but it came to nothing and after rotting for a while she went to the knacker's yard just 3 years later....
  7. Back to the topic at hand, here's a snap I took 8 years ago of Nova Star's predecessor on the route, Scandinania, before boarding on a miserable evening for Sweden. She began life as the Visby before becoming the Stena Felicity and sailing in British waters. She was quite tatty on Polferries' watch and I hope she's better cared for in her new life in the Med. Also of interest is the fact that the Polferries berth was then on the other side of the river to where it is now, and we were directly alongside the lighthouse from which the Germans fired the first shots across the river to the Polish garrison on the Westerplatte. They expected the garrison to fall in a day. It took them a week.
  8. Maybe they should flog cheap petrol to any locals making the 40 mile trip. We could call it, oh, I dunno, the Ferry Equivalent Tariff
  9. Well if we're doing Calmac signs, I took this on Finlaggan on the way back from Islay 3 years ago. I do hope the Captain didn't have a hand in its drafting....
  10. The Glen Sannox affair was covered in some detail on BBC Newsnight last night, and pretty damning it was too. Still available on BBC iPlayer in the UK for the next few days - it's about 17 minutes in. Worth a watch.
  11. Same on the railways. Modern trains are packed full of electronic whereas old 1960s Southern Region electric trains were very simple and reliable electro-mechanical things. A classic new safety system with unforeseen consequences is the Interference Current Monitoring Unit which, if it detects that the train's motors are generating currents that might interfere with modern electronic signalling systems simply shut the train down. Game over. So a simple arc-and-spark as the train picks up a new section of electrification supply is almost guaranteed, amongst the white noise of the arc, to generate the voltage frequency to do just that. When they did the press launch run for Eurostar back in 1994, the ICMU tripped on multiple occasions but they had a technician in the rear cab pressing the reset button every time it happened. Oh, and power operated passenger doors are another modern classic source of unreliability compared to the old slam doors. And Network Rail love their customers to run diesel trains with on-board signalling equipment because it reduces their own exposure to contractual penalties when their own kit failures (electrification supply and lineside signalling) result in train delays. Funny old world. But at least on the railways, s substantial fleet size gives you the opportunity to have a sensible spares float - these days an operator will typically order 5-10% more trains than they actually need to run the daily peak service. The only stress points that then occur tend to be when major overhaul programmes occur, typically three times during the lifetime of the fleet, when a number of units at a time will be down for weeks. A bit off-topic, but it hopefully demonstrates that we're dealing with universal themes
  12. And Stena Saga has also made the trip south to warmer climes. Alongside in Ancona today, apparently on the Albania run with Adria Ferries. Meanwhile, the long delayed first new build for Hurtigruten's new competitor, Havila Capella, seems to be on sea trials and is advertised to making her first departure from Bergen in late September.
  13. A logical development of the cruise ship, I suppose. We've had cart racing circuits, zip lines, surfing flumes - why not stick a flat top on one and offer pleasure flights on cruise calls ?
  14. I dunno. Sounds like a normal night on the Europa....
  15. OK, I'm a bit dim when it comes to these things, but how does the space charter agreement not fall foul of competition rules ? Not saying it doesn't make sense, but the relevant competition authorities may not see it that way.
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