The event of the day was the presence of royalty in town. One of the largest ships on the oceans wide, the Queen Mary 2, berthed in the Port of Darwin today. its arrival was discreet around 5.30am, before the sun was up, but apparently was bedecked in lights (didn’t see of that or I could have popped up to see her). But what a mad day it was in the city…there were tour buses everywhere you turned, and anyone who wasn’t a tourist seemed to be carrying a camera to photograph royalty. The tourists were having a fine time spending up in the city and the economic injection from the day is estimated at $2 million! No wonder they had the access roads closed to mundane vehicles.
It’s not often you’d call a lady humungous and mean it in a good way but boy, oh, boy, was she impressive. Her stern hung over one end of the Fort Hill Wharf and her bow was over the front of the wharf. With the roads closed it was difficult to get an effective picture of her though she looked magnificent framed by a bout of Wet Season storm clouds.
Half the school kids in Darwin were down on Stokes Hill Wharf with their parents as soon as school finished so they could check her out. Awestruck captures it I think. My grandson and I stayed to see her cast off her ropes and set the engines to push away from the wharf. In an amazing but subdued display of skill the captain took her off from the wharf then rotated her to set forth out of the harbour. The only disappointment was not being able to see her pass through the ceremonial sprays that had been turned on.
Even though we made haste to the Esplanade at Fannie Bay (along with umpteen other cars) she’d already drawn level with our viewing point. When she sets her mind to it, she must have a turn of speed.
Meanwhile relegated to the outer lanes of the harbour was the Discovery, the original Love Boat which also brought a good number of tourists to Darwin. On any other day she’d have looked large and impressive but today sadly her presence was dwarfed in more ways than one by royalty.