Sunday, April 12, 2009

Return of the liners

The Cobh cruise liner season opens again in the next few days with the return of Black Watch, now a regular visitor, to the cruise terminal on Deepwater Quay next Thursday morning at 8.30am. A week later it will be the turn of the Grand Princess and then the Jewel of the Seas will call on April 28th. Then on the following day, Wednesday 29th April will see the visit of the Tahitian Princess on the return leg of a world cruise that started in Fort Lauderdale, Floriday in mid-January and travelled via Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai and Rome and will have transitted both the Panama and Suez canals.

There was an interesting visitor earlier this week which I almost missed. The tall ship Tenacious overnighted at the Deepwater Quay. I spotted the name Tenacious in the list of port visitors but assumed wrongly that it was an ocean-going tug of the same name that was due rather than the yacht Tenacious which is the largest wooden ship of her type in the world at 49.85 metres (164 feet) in length. There are in fact almost a dozen ships using the name Tenacious, or variations of it, worldwide. It was also the name of the yacht which won (after time correction) the notorious Fastnet Race of 1979 (which I will return to later this year as its 30th anniversary occurs in August). That Tenacious was skippered by the US media mogul Ted Turner who was once married to actress Jane Fonda.

On a final note, today, Easter Sunday will see a ceremony in Cobh to mark the 97th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic. Cork Harbour was Titanic's last port of call on its fateful journey which ended in the tragic loss of 1517 people after it struck an iceberg on the night of 14th April 1912. A few days earlier some 123 passengers joined the ship from a tender which departed the White Star Line's terminal (now the main post office) on April 11th. This afternoon's ceremony will leave Lynch's Quay, Cobh (eastern end of town) and a parade led by a colour party from the O.N.E. will leave from the Clock Tower Gallery (Old Town Hall) travelling the short distance to the Titanic Memorial on Pearse Square (outside the BMC shop). There will be prayers, hymns from the Commodore Male Voice Choir and Cobh Confraternity band and a wreath laying ceremony followed by the reading of the names of the 79 passengers who had boarded the liner from Cobh and later perished in the North Atlantic. This year there will be a wreath laid by members of the Irish Lebanese Cultural Society in memory for those Lebanese who lost their lives in the disaster. The Mayor of Cobh Cllr. John Mulvihill Jnr. will later place a wreath in the sea to honour all the victims followed by a rendition of the Last Post and Reveille by a bugler.