There was a line of ships out on the horizon and a quick look through binoculars confirmed that two of them were Pride of Dover and Eide Fighter, so I took a few long-distance shots from the view point above Bonchurch. I'd been on a birdwatching trip and seen the sum total of bugger-all birds, but seeing Pride of Dover, albeit at a distance, more than made up for that.
Of course, at a distance of around 20 miles, these pics, taken with a 400mm lens, are pretty crummy as expected but they're 'record shots', no more. One is 'as is', the other is cropped.
No-one knows what is going to happen to the ship, apart from the people who now own her. She needs repairs, which according to rumour would require completely new engines because hers are knackered, and as her destination (or rather, that of the tug towing her; PoD is being towed as a 'dead ship' with no power, or AIS signal, of her own) is the ship-yard at Tuzla, there's hope that she is going to be repaired for further service. If not, the scrap yard at Aliaga is not too far from there.
I said 'farewell' to my old friend and wished her luck.
And here is the ship in happier times
A thought...25 years ago, another unwanted ferry passed here, under tow. Herald of Free Enterprise, as Flushing Range, would have been visible, conditions permitting.
2nd December - More rumours of the ship's ultimate fate have surfaced today, with a suggestion that she will be assessed at the shipyard at Tuzla to see if she can be repaired for service in the Black Sea. I certainly hope she can and, judging by other people's comments, so do a lot of people. But, if not then it'll be the beaches of Aliaga for her.
Meanwhile 'Pride', and Eide Fighter are now doing circles in Lyme Bay, presumably because of an inclement weather forecast for the Bay of Biscay.
11th December - Pride of Dover and Eide Fighter eventually left the Channel last Thursday and continued on their way. Eide Fighter and her precious towed cargo are now around 100 miles from the Strait of Gibraltar and are expected to arrive at their destination on Christmas Day.
Meanwhile rumours and counter-rumours abound as to what's going to happen to the old ship. Some people say 'breakers' because Aliaga lies 1000km away from the given destination of Tuzla (and based on the fact that, in the past, ships' stated destinations have not proven to be entirely accurate, with journeys ending at breakers instead of the previously stated destinations - ships can, and do, change hands while underway) while others have heard things from contacts, friends and relatives who work for shipping companies and say that she will be repaired at Tuzla because, even with the tow costs, it's cheaper than Northern Europe. The repairs, if this happens, include new engines. I sincerely hope that the latter is true but if I were a betting person I wouldn't be putting my meagre savings on it, much as I want it to happen - and the ships have to pass Aliaga on the way to Tuzla...I hope that Eide Fighter won't be 'dropping something off'. I daresay we'll find out around Christmas.
This all reminds me of the football transfer windows, with a similar level of gossip, rumour and speculation.
In the meantime Pride of Dover's twin, Pride of Calais, also no longer wanted by P&O, has been apparently earmarked for TEF's Ramsgate to Ostende service.
The place for the latest news (plus rumours, gossip and speculation) is right here.