Embarking the Magnificent Queen Mary 2 and Setting Sail

The massive, Art Deco-themed sculpture of Queen Mary 2 that adorns her atrium. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


Sandy is coming – and she’s angry.

With Hurricane Sandy churning south of us, my transatlantic voyage aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is just barely going to squeak out of New York’s historic harbour today.  Tonight at 6pm, the Port Authority of New York is closing the harbour to all vessel traffic.  Transit shutdowns will commence just an hour later.

My first glimpse of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, docked in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


On the television in my stateroom, Fox News is reporting that 6,800 flights have already been cancelled at New York’s three major airports, including JFK, which I flew into just yesterday.  A wind-blown Geraldo Rivera is standing in front of Radio City Music hall, looking like Albert Einstein as he explains what’s about to come.

Tonight, citizens of the Big Apple – and beyond – will cross their collective fingers.

Departure draws nearer! Queen Mary 2’s navigation bridge is in the background. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

For those of us aboard the Queen Mary 2  – or QM2 as she is affectionately known – our eastbound track across the Atlantic will take us north, past the coast of Newfoundland and out of harm’s way as we head towards Southampton, England.

It turns out New York isn’t the only city to have some wicked events heading its way; a magnitude 7 earthquake struck my home region of Vancouver last night. Fortunately, it was located off the coast of Vancouver Island and nestled deep within the dark recesses of the Pacific Ocean. No damage was done. Still, it managed to trigger tsunami warnings from the Pacific coast to Hawaii.

Rows of Cunard Brochures: someone’s been reading my Christmas wish-list! Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

But here in New York, this morning was positively pleasant, with warm temperatures, little wind and no rain.  After a quick pop over to Starbucks for a caffeine and breakfast jolt this morning, I checked out of the Hilton New York and began making preparations to board the Cunard transfer to the pier that was scheduled to depart just after 11am.

I cannot say enough good about the two ladies running the Transfer Desk at the Hilton.  They provided me with a stapler to staple my ‘do-it-yourself’ luggage tag to my suitcase, and took the time to answer all the questions I had.  For those who don’t relish the thought of a costly cab ride to Brooklyn, the transfer offered by Cunard definitely takes the stress out of the entire process.

My well-appointed Britannia Club Balcony Stateroom aboard Queen Mary 2: comfortable and inviting. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

I arrived at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in that city’s Red Hook neighbourhood just after noon.  Check-in was swift and efficient, and after just 15 minutes I set foot onboard Queen Mary 2. And as I did so, I noticed something that truly surprised me: there’s a heck of a lot of families onboard! Lots of parents are travelling with kids, ranging in age from babies to teenagers.  And I think it’s brilliant; what an awesome experience to give to your kids in this day of “instant” this and “immediate” that – a journey across “the pond”, as they used to say.

Of course, that makes me sound old; I’ll turn 30 at the end of this crossing.  But it’s great to see such a diverse mix of people onboard.  So far, I’ve heard English, French, Spanish, and German spoken onboard.

Nice Touch: bottled water comes in glass bottles for consumption in drinking glasses. I’ve been a huge fan of this since I first saw it aboard Silversea’s Silver Explorer, where the need to reduce waste is a primary concern. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

I walked (sill me) up to my Britannia Club Balcony Stateroom up on Deck 12.  And when I entered, I was impressed by what I saw: brand-new carpeting, a flat-panel television, new bedding, and an immaculate balcony awaiting me.

Being in a Britannia Club Balcony has its advantages. In addition to flexible dining in a separate restaurant, these staterooms all come with a full bottle of Pol Acker sparkling wine, plush bathrobes and slippers, and a pillow concierge menu with nine different options.

But I couldn’t linger in my stateroom longer; there was a massive, 1,132-foot long ship to explore!  A few images from today:

The Royal Court Theatre spans Decks 2 and 3 and is one of several entertainment venues here onboard. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


Sir Samuel’s on Deck 3. Named after Cunard founder Samuel Cunard, this is a coffee bar by day and a wine bar by night. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


Illuminations spans Decks 2 and 3 and shows movies, 3D movies and, oh, has the only Planetarium at sea, visible in the upper right. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


The Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar, Deck 3. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


The Empire Casino, Deck 2. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


The beautiful Queen’s Room spans the entire width of Deck 3, and is the largest ballroom at sea. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

In announcing our Muster Drill and subsequent departure, Captain Kevin Oprey also advised us of the weather, noting that Queen Mary 2 would be brought up to nearly full speed in order to outrun the worst of the hurricane.  And here, that means thundering through the Atlantic at an astounding 28 knots. Most conventional cruise ships can only do 22 knots flat-out; Queen Mary 2 can do over 30.

He also advised us we were going to encounter significant winds and heavy swells, and that a few hours after departure the outer decks would be locked off. The dreaded “white bags” went up on every stairwell (QM2 boasts four, A, B, C and D!), and our Muster Drill leader stated anyone prone to seasickness should take their tablets before departure.

Preparing for departure: two tugs were on our starboard side to assist in getting underway due to the strong winds brought on by the first bits of Hurricane Sandy. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


I myself have my own formula for combatting seasickness, one that I learned years ago. I stay off water, start drinking heavy liquids like coffee or beer, and eating meals that are rich and heavy.  It sounds like the opposite of what should work, but it does.

Ever so slowly, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 edged away from the pier. Her Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing, Voyage M228, has begun! Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


At 4:30pm, assisted by two tugs, Queen Mary 2 edged away from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.  The tugs were necessary because of the wind, which had picked up considerably in the afternoon.  Two other cruise ships raced out of the harbour just ahead of us, and Captain Kevin Oprey hammered on Queen Mary 2’s horn to announce our departure under an increasingly brooding sky.

Heading towards the Atlantic Ocean. Note the officers standing behind the windows of the bridge wing, and the public viewing area below on Deck 11. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

But the voyage truly began in earnest with the clearing of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge that links Brooklyn with Staten Island. Queen Mary 2 passes under it with just mere feet of clearance, and this spectacle has become a rite of passage aboard this grand liner.  Despite the wind and the cold, Deck 13 forward was filled with passengers jostling for a good look at the bridge and QM2’s bright red-and-black funnel.

Going…going… The bow and radar mast slip underneath the Verazanno Narrows Bridge. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


I did good up until we passed under that bridge, the faint whiff of smoke from QM2’s funnel getting caught in the iron underworks. But when we cleared it and the decks erupted in cheers and applause, a tear rolled involuntarily down my cheek.

An astonishingly moving experience.

Gone! The funnel clears the bridge with just feet to spare. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


Saying goodbye to New York. Everyone onboard is thinking of those who will be impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Because I am staying in a Britannia Club Balcony Stateroom, I was able to dine tonight in the elegant Britannia Club restaurant, located on Deck 2 next to Stairtower D. You can dine anytime from 6:30 to 9:00pm in one of two intimate anterooms just off the main, two-story Britannia Dining Room.

Just one intimate table in a room of many in the Britannia Club Dining Room on Deck 2. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


I absolutely loved this. It gives you a quieter, more intimate dining space akin to what’s offered to Cunard’s higher-fare Grills classes, but with the convenience and affordable pricing of a standard balcony stateroom.

While the menu is essentially the same as in the Britannia Dining Room, a selection of A ’la Carte specialties is also featured, allowing you to mix and match as you please. In honour of the inclement weather, I had beef bouillon (always a smart choice), salmon fettuccine, a glass of wine and a black coffee.

Choices, Choices! Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders


As the evening went on, the full brunt of Hurricane Sandy became apparent, with strong winds that are whistling through my balcony door.  I can’t tell what is spray and what is rain anymore; all I know is my windows are coated with a thick layer of water and salt – and I’m on Deck 12, some 200 feet above the waterline.

This “tween” deck hallway on Deck 3L is quickly becoming a favorite of mine for its storm-watching properties and comfy seating. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

There’s a hallway on Deck 3L, one of designer Stephen Payne’s clever “in-between” decks, that has become a favorite of mine for its views of the monster waves we’re plowing through rushing past the windows.  The entire corridor shudders with a noise that sounds like thunder, yet the ship barely moves.  Conditions outside are some of the worst I have ever sailed in – and I’ve been in a storm in the Aegean Sea that was so bad it caused a piano to roll itself out of a lounge and into a staircase.

And yet, Queen Mary 2 is just absolutely smoking through this bad weather like it’s nothing.  Sure, we’re moving around, but I’ve had far worse motion in far less conditions on other cruise ships. The difference: this is a true ocean liner, designed from the ground up to take on the worst the Atlantic can throw at her.

Can I be honest? I wanted bad weather on this trip, because I’ve always wanted to see what this beautiful piece of engineering brilliance can do.  And tonight, I have an enormous smile plastered on my face as we safely take on the outskirts of Hurricane Sandy, bound for the North Atlantic and calmer waters.

It’s left me to wonder:

What ship but Queen Mary 2 could accomplish all this?

Heading into the open Atlantic; the calm before the storm. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report onboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 continues tomorrow, as we set course for the open Atlantic and our eastbound voyage to England, and enjoy a day aboard our floating palace!  Check back as we tour some of Queen Mary 2’s brilliant public rooms!

 

67 Responses to Queen Mary 2 Live Voyage Report – Day 1

  1. Nicholas Sabalos, Jr., CDR, U.S. Navy (Ret.) says:

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

    • sandra says:

      Hi love reading the write up it puts my mind at rest I know theres loads of people on board but my daughter and her new husband (they just go married in amarica) are on board you cant miss him hes very tatooed (sam)and shes got three stars tatooed on her neack (char). Last time they didnt like it as no one talked to them because of the tatoos. Thay have very young babies that they could not take with them so there very much missing them at the mo.
      I hope the crossing gets better and you all come home safe.x

  2. katie says:

    Thanks for the excellent report. Keep them coming. My mum and dad are on the boat and I’ve been worrying about them. Your post has reassured me greatly. Sounds like it will be bon the QM2 than here in Connecticut.

  3. Jim says:

    Geraldo Rivera. Hee hee. Have fun.

  4. Kim says:

    Anxiety just reading about it, but I knew you would be enjoying it! Glad I’m at home not moving around :-)

  5. Andrea Dewsbery says:

    Wonderful writing, hope you and all the passengers
    Are safely away.

  6. Sally says:

    All good to hear, I’ve a friend on board and pleased to hear you’ve escaped Sandy! Enjoy your voyage.

  7. Bill McFarlane says:

    Fantastic report. I am in Vancouver tonight reading your report after wondering about the location of the QM2. Thanks for writing…I have been on QM2 about six times and she is my favourite. Have a great and safe time.

  8. M Ruane says:

    I envy you. We said westbound 10th June this year and it was a millpond for 7 days. Are the round portholes on deck 3L protected by drop down shutters as the photo shows? I used to sit and watch the bow waves from those chairs. Wow, it was good!!!

  9. Brit says:

    I have two dear friends on board with you and it’s so reassuring to know the QM2 is weathering the storm – keep me posted! Great writing by the way!
    Brit

  10. Lynne says:

    Hi Aaron, your blog is amazing, well written and very informative. I can sense your excitement at being back on the ship and also ploughing through the seas! I went to New York in June last year and was disappointed that the Atlantic was so calm on the way there but coming back was fantastic – and yes, the best place to get a sense of the waves is sitting in Deck 3L – and watching the waves smash against the glass! Hope you enjoy the rest of your voyage and thanks for the photo of your stateroom. When you arrive in Southampton on Sunday I will be boarding for a trip around the Canary Islands and Madeira. Not as spectacular as your trip (once you clear the effects of hurricane Sandy it will be quite boring (NOT!!). I’m in one of the Balcony Club staterooms too so it was lovely to see a photo of what the room looks like after the recent refurb. Enjoy the rest of your voyage – I really envy you those big waves.

  11. Mary Jane Eyres says:

    I travelled back on QM2 4 weeks ago on her previoue Sothampton, NY, New Eng;and, Southampton trip.
    We had a very lively return into Southampton but nothing compared to this. She is an amazing liner, and I am sure can cope very well but I would not want to be on her now. I am too bad a sea traveller and too easily scarred!!!!!
    I hope the seas ease for all.
    Thinking of our Butler the fantastic Peter Dobson and equally fantastic concierge Henri.
    I will be watching closely her progress.

  12. Rob Goss says:

    My daughter is on board Justine Goss with her boyfriend Paul Taylor, I hope she does not get to seasick, if she is anything like mr she shoud be OK. Hope the trip goes well.

  13. Liz Knight says:

    Ian Hope you enjoy your Cunard trip as much as I did and you get your wish to see how the Queen Mary copes with choppy or more seas. Thinking of you as I more or less know what your about to experience, I just have to go on another cruise and we are thinking of it for sometime soon I hope. Bye for now Liz [Hope you remember me from HCS] Enjoy

  14. Kathy says:

    While I am not fond of rocking seas, the pictures bring back fond memories of a crossing our family took 2 years ago and it was magical. Seeing your pictures, we just might have to try it again!

  15. Kathy says:

    While I would not like to be rolling around in the high seas, your pictures and comments bring back fond memories of a crossing we made 2 years ago from New York to Southampton and return. Might have to consider another trip! Happy sailing!

  16. Paula Walker says:

    Thank you for your blog. My parents are on board, on their last leg home and I was getting worried about them.

  17. Joyce Remington says:

    Thank you for the news! My husband — a VERY nervous traveler — is on the ship with you and I’m most concerned about how he is doing since he is traveling solo! If you get a chance stop by Cabin 11057 and say hello and give Ed some encouragement to help him weather this storm!

    Cheers,

    Joyce Remington (Ed Remington’s wife)

  18. MTF says:

    What a fantastic blog! I have a seafarer son onboard and was wondering what the experience might be like for him. Now I know!

  19. John says:

    Excellent blog! We will be back on board on Dec 15th!

  20. Rosemary Morris says:

    i have friends on board this voyage – I hope my friend doesn’t get seasick! I have four friends on board. Happy sailing!

  21. Laura Pritchard says:

    My dad is on the ship too, haven’t heard from him yet, so massively relieved to hear all is safe and well. Have a great time and my dad is Jonathan Pritchard should you happen to stumble upon each other!
    Enjoy!
    Laura

  22. Niamh says:

    Aaron I’m so excited for you. You must be over the moon to be doing this trip. Safe journey my friend, I’ll be checking in to see how it’s going. :)

  23. Gill Hedges says:

    Safe trip and God Speed – will be checking on your progress!

  24. Linda Potter says:

    Your pictures are wonderful. Thank you for posting this.

  25. Vanny says:

    QM2 looks gorgeous. Safe travels, Aaron.

  26. Eddie Shirazi says:

    So glad to read your blog.my partner is on the ship and I was worried about whether the ship had sailed or not.Its her Birthday tomorrow and I wish I had your email address so I could ask you to wish her Happy Birthday I tried to email on the blog but it says it was wrongly set up.She is in B1 and dines at the Britannia restaurant.Her name is Jane H and is with her friend Anne Marie and
    I am Eddie.

  27. Fiona says:

    So glad to see your post- my aunt and uncle – the Behrendts – are on board heading home (having visited us in Boston) and we were wondering if they made it out safely and how high the waves are!

  28. Luisa Jackson says:

    Aaron, thank you so much for writing this! My brother is working in the QM2 and we were so worried about him due to the weather. We have not heard from him yet. I just wanted to drop a quick thank you note for giving us peace of mind. Enjoy your trip.

  29. Rob says:

    Nice blog. question: are the windows covered on deck 3L? Hope you have a chance to sit there and enjoy the waves.

  30. Helen says:

    Hi there
    Thanks for this blog – we have relatives on the ship and this was the only way of us getting news on whether you all got out of New York on time. Great relief. Enjoy your voyage
    Helen

  31. R Santella says:

    I am so glad for your report, keep them coming!!!
    Thank you, and safe travels!!!

  32. Alison says:

    Excellent blog! My parents are on the ship and I was wondering how choppy it was(hope my mum remembered her sea-sickness pills!)

    Brought back happy memories of when I travelled East-West on the QM2 in 2009 (not in a hurricane!).

    What a fantastic ship – enjoy – it sounds like you are!

  33. Eric says:

    My brother and his family and friends are on your trip. Thank you for giving us at least some sense that they are safe and able to have a good holiday despite the battering from Sandy.

  34. Sean says:

    Aaron: Your report of your first afternoon/evening on board was great. With so many ships cancelling or delaying their departures yesterday, I was surprised to see no news reports about the one ship that was underway on time. Have a great trip, and look forward to reading tomorrow’s report.

  35. J Russell says:

    I have relatives that were just visiting in Ontario Canada and are bound for England their home. So happy to have found this website and to know that the bad weather did not effect the launch. I will keep checking the day to day posts to see how the their voyage home is going. Again, so happy to have this website!

  36. Alexander says:

    Bonjour/Hello Aaron

    So pleased to read about your journey to NYC, your overnight stay, and finally boarding this grand ship
    and now you are enroute and enjoying a classic crossing.

    Bon Voyage and I look forward to reading/viewing your daily reports.

    Alexander

  37. Penny says:

    My husband is on this voyage. If you run into John from Wisconsin, tell him his wife and dog miss him, but we’re glad he got the trip he’s been dreaming about!

  38. Nina says:

    Greatn blog! I hope to sail on the QM2 one day, or one of her sisters…

  39. Paul says:

    Thank you very much for your excellent blog. Like others, I am much appreciative of your updates. My parents are also on the ship to celebrate their golden wedding and I was very concerned for them in the rough conditions. If you run across a Mr. and Mrs. Gardner, please tell them their son is thinking about them.

  40. Trudi Leach says:

    Fab blog have been following avidly as my best friend is aboard with a lady companion. If you bump into Melanie Hartill please send her my love xx

  41. Loley says:

    G’morning Aaron. All I can say is, if you’re not a writer, you’ve missed your vocation! Excellent narrative. My parents are aboard your beautiful ship; thanks to your blog, my sister and I can relax a little knowing that you’re keeping us informed of the weather situation. Wishing you a continued fab trip.

    • Loley says:

      Just read your ‘About From the Deck Chair’ section and am very glad that you didn’t miss your vocation after all! Great photos too. I’ll keep looking out for my parents!

  42. Dave & Mathilda says:

    Thanks for your report and photos. A great ship. We have 4 friends on board. So glad that that you were kept safe from Sandy who is right now battering USA. In the storms of life, may you know you are in the hands of God.

  43. Amy says:

    My mom and dad, too, in their 80s, are in the ship and it was comforting to find and read your blog. I too am really hoping my mom took (and kept taking) enough pills as she gets sick and then things snowball easily. I can’t imagine what 27 ft waves feel like (or even 12) but your confidence in the QE2 made me feel better. Hope you are past the worst of the weather (you may not feel the same). Thanks.

  44. David Dinnes says:

    Really enjoying your report,so neat to see all the pictures and hear about the ship.Really enjoy the pictures.Thanks

  45. Muscato says:

    What wonderful fun! My partner and I crossed in Britannia Club this past summer and had a marvelous time – our only disappointment (well, mine – it was not shared by the first-time sailor) was the smoothness of the trip, as I’d hoped for a little rolling…

    Enjoy your trip.

  46. bev says:

    Thanks Aaron for the wonderful descriptions. My parents are on board and it’s great to get a taste of what they are experiencing. Look forward to your next installment

  47. Josephine Weaver says:

    Thank you! I have been trying all day, unsuccessfully to reach my mum and dad who are in board, celebrating my dads 70th birthday and their 44th wedding anniversary. Your blog was referred from another website and it eased my worries immensley! If you bump into Frank and Sheila from Liverpool who often frequent the Golden Lion, tell them I said hello and have a calming brandy for me!! – thanks

  48. Bob Forrest says:

    Hi Aaron & everyone else on board. Reading your blog with GREAT interest as my wife & I are flying to New York on 23rd November for 4 nights then coming back to Britain on the QM 2 This will be our FIRST cruise , so really looking forward to it !!!!!!!!!
    Only done very short voyages so really relieved, especially for my wife, as to how the QM 2 behaves in REALLY bad weather.
    Safe journey to you & all on board. Bob Forrest

  49. Brit says:

    Further to Eddie’s comments – Jane and Anne Marie are the friends I mentioned – add my birthday wishes to Jane if you identify them – thanks! My name is Peggy, from Italy.

  50. Ian Hurford says:

    Hi Aaron. Caught your blog while trying to find out how QM2 is coping with Sandy as we have two friends on board – Steve and Alison Moss. Glad to find everything is ok. It looks really impressive and I will be able to picture it when I see Steve next week and he is “swanking”!!

  51. Sue and Eric says:

    Great writing. Glad to know all are safe on board. Have friends, Alan and Valerie from Dorset U.K. on board. If you should meet them please pass on our best wishes, will see them when they get home. Have a safe and good rest of journey.

  52. Patricia Haslam says:

    Great blog very comforting too I will be on the ship on Nov 20th and am really looking forward to Tge cruise,visiting a son in NY Enjoy your journey and safe travel.

  53. Peggy says:

    Any more blogging to come, I’ve only seen Day 1 so far?!
    Peggy

  54. Jo Foster says:

    Thanks for clarifying the situation re QM2 and Sandy. Having arrived here in NY a week earlier on the ship from Southampton, I realised on Sunday that she was due to leave that day, with escalating reports about the approaching hurricane, following the New England side trip. I met pople who were on that return trip. What would QM2 do? Delay departure and be smashed against the Red Hook pier? Perhaps they had decided to stop short and sail from further north? I searched the web: nothing. No mention on the Cunard website, webcam was stationary, showing sunny dockside. Would people be scared and be tempted to cancel? If they did (I might had been), would they be able to claim on insurance or get compensation?

    After a couple of days watching the disastrous storm as it hit the coast and the city, curiosity overcame me and I phoned Cunard. They wondered why I bothered: Of course QM2 had sailed as scheduled. Did I have the names of the passengers on board? Did I want to book a cruise? Would I like a brochure? She didn’t understand. I pointed out that other people might also be worried or curious, so they should put reassuring note on their website.

    The response to your interesting blog proves I was right. I love the sound of the wind whistling under the doors when you leave your balcony door open.

  55. Audrey Dickinson says:

    Hi Aaron

    Just got round to reading your wonderful account of our voyage aboard QM2. I can now recommend that my family and friends log on to your website. It was such a privilege sharing our table with you and you tirelessly answering all of our many questions.

    Remember, I am only a short distance from HR so if you ever have a few hours to kill it would be lovely to see you again. Best wishes, Audrey

    Best wishes. Audrey

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      Hi Audrey,

      So glad you enjoyed the voyage report from onboard QM2! It was absolutely wonderful to have the opportunity to share a table with you each day, and I will be sure to let you know the next time my travels take me to England! Please do likewise should you ever find yourself here in Vancouver.

      All the very best, Audrey!

      -Aaron

  56. Bruce Chalmers says:

    Hello Aaron – just come across your Blog and it has brought back many happy memories of our voyage on QM2 last October. We did the Westbound crossing to NY, then a week up the Eastern Seaboard to Halifax, NS, before arriving back in NY on Sunday, 28th Oct, just in time to ‘greet’ Sandy’s impending arrival. We were so fortunate to ‘escape’ the worst ravages of the storm and I shall never forget that very bumpy Sunday night when the ship was going like the proverbial clappers! We too dined in Brittania Club and I’m sure I recall you (single man, dark hair, glasses) with your camera! Best wishes from England, Bruce.

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      Hi Bruce – so glad you found the blog and that it could help bring back memories of your time onboard QM2! I think back very fondly on this voyage – it certainly started off with a dramatic twist, didn’t it?!

      Dark hair with glasses certainly sounds like me; dark hair with glasses and carrying a camera clinches it!

      Thanks for the great comment; hope you’ll keep reading! All the best from here in Canada.

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