Queen Mary 2 Celebrates Love in Sydney
Yesterday, Queen Mary 2, the biggest ship to visit Australia, made her grand return into Sydney Harbour, escorted by a flotilla of watercraft, circling news helicopters and watched by hundreds of spectators as she berthed at the Garden Island Naval Base at 6.30am.
Being Valentine's Day, the huge ship carried two painted love hearts by her funnel, and a cheesy marriage proposal. Dubbed a publicity stunt by many, it also happens to be a true love story. A professional printed banner, covering the name "Queen Mary 2" read "Marry Me Jess?", and it was done for a couple not on the ship, Stefan and Jess. Jess awarded the bold move with a yes!
But, this voyage is special for more than this reason. QM2's visit also sees the historic return of Captain Matthew Flinders' journal of his epic circumnavigation of Australia, to sea. Flinders, who gave Australia it's name, was born in 1774, and is credited as being one of the most successful navigators and cartographers of his age.
Together with Captain William Bligh, he circumnavigated Australia between 1801-03 on the HMS Investigator, making daily entries in his diary of his adventures and discoveries. More than 200 years later, the journal is part of a display of key items from the State Library of NSW's priceless Flinder's Collection, which are accompanying QM2 on her first voyage around the country.
The historic QM2 Flinders display also features an original copy of Flinders' map of Australia, first published in 1814.
Source: Cruise Weekly, Tuesday 14 February 2012