Each year, Blue Funnel Cruises runs a party cruise from Ocean Village to see the Cowes Week fireworks. Due to Lee Rayment acquiring the Hythe ferry earlier in the year, they added a pick-up from Hythe pier this year (4th August). As it was my dad’s 76th birthday and he has a few mobility issues, that was ideal rather than tackle the pontoons at Ocean Village. It turned out to be a wise move as a lot of people also decided to book. Prices were £19.95 which included chicken & chips (or vegetarian option upon request) plus a voucher for one free drink, alcoholic or soft. Due to electrical issues with Hythe Scene, it was a bit frantic as they had to bring the gangway back across. Lee Rayment took Jenny Ann to do just that, returning as Ocean Scene arrived. We began boarding at around 7.50pm.
We arrived off Cowes and manoeuvred into position. There were many pleasure boats out. Shieldhall had been the first to head out of Southampton right at the time Hythe Scene limped back to the pier. Princess Caroline had come from Ocean Village before Ocean Scene. Red Osprey came from Cowes, Red Falcon from Southampton and Spirit of Portsmouth was there too. Sister line Solent & Wightline Cruises had several out. Ali Cat of Cowes meandered about while we got up close and personal with Wight Scene for a few minutes. Solent Cat arrived. The babies Jenny M and Jenny Lee were also full of passengers.
There was a slight rocket at 9.30pm which signalled the start. The vessels blew their whistles and the show began.
The fireworks lasted about 25 minutes and the boats blew their whistles again. Then it was back to Hythe pier for us followed by Ocean Village for the rest.
The pier train was waiting to take everyone back. Lee Rayment said there would be another trip if required, but those who couldn’t get in decided to walk before Lee drove the train to the other end.
We’d always enjoyed our Blue Funnel boat trips since our first on Jenny R from Town Quay in 2006 to see the brand new Freedom of the Seas and this was no exception. It had been an excellent trip and very well organised adding Hythe for boarding.