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Guest Stories

Mid Atlantic Miracle Brings Back Treasured Memories

February 25, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Guest Stories

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 228 days


It’s turning out to be a very busy week of blogging, which shows how just how much is going on in the Cunard world! Thanks as always for your feedback; I’m glad you are enjoying all the posts so please just keep those questions and comments coming.


We’ve covered all sorts of subjects on the blog in the sixteen months we have been on line, but this week we are covering one of the more unusual, but definitely inspiring, stories I’ve come across. Firstly though, here’s this week in Cunard’s history, for the week 26 February to 4 March:



26 February 2008

Queen Victoria makes her maiden call to Brisbane

28 February 2007

Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Hong Kong

2 March 1950

Caronia  transits the Suez Canal for the first time

2 March 2010

Queen Victoria makes maiden call at Exmouth, Australia

3 March 1950

Caronia  makes her maiden call to Alexandria

3 March 2007

Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Singapore



There’s an incredible story that has caught the attention of the world’s media, from the USA to Britain, from South Africa to Australia. It has also featured on numerous websites and blogs so now it’s our turn to pass on this wonderful story. It begins with Barbara and Dennis Gregory from Johannesburg, South Africa, when they were sailing on a very special voyage in October 2008 to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They were aboard Queen Mary 2 on the last tandem Transatlantic Crossing between the ship and QE2. 


Mrs Gregory takes up the story; “It was a dream holiday. We had a perfect week in New York and had taken many beautiful photos. On the journey from New York to England we continued our fantastic holiday and many great memories were captured on our camera.” These are just some of the photos Dennis and Barbara Gregory took while they were in New York:



The Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton was going well, and they were enjoying taking lots more photos of their special trip, including this iconic shot of Mrs Gregory with QE2 in the background:



On the second to last day of the voyage, Dennis Gregory took this picture of his wife relaxing on deck.



Minutes later, they saw dolphins and that’s when disaster struck, because in the excitement, the camera was knocked overboard! At the time, both ships were off the south coast of Ireland over the Continental Shelf so the Gregorys understandably thought their Nikon P90 camera, and all their treasured holiday photos, were lost forever.


That was until Benito Estevez, a Spanish fisherman who was trawling the ocean, over sixteen months later, discovered the lost camera in his nets!  While the camera itself was damaged beyond repair, the photo memory card was amazingly intact.


The fisherman contacted both Cunard and the BBC to see if he could trace the owners and posted five pictures online which included this one of Mr Gregory wearing a woolly tourist hat from Oxford.



The story was picked up by the British media and Laura De Klein, a friend of the couple who lives in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, recognised the couple in the pictures and got in touch. The Gregorys have since been reunited with the camera and their photographs.


Mrs Gregory told reporters: “To think the Spanish fisherman has gone to such efforts on this – it’s very touching. It’s literally a dream come true. There’s no way we could ever have imagined that this thing would ever turn up again. It sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic. It’s incredible it survived 16 months submerged at that depth – I’m almost speechless.”


It’s a wonderful good news story which has amazed everyone. Peter Shanks, President and Managing Director of Cunard Line said: “In all my years in the travel industry I have never heard of such a heart-warming stroke of luck and we at Cunard are delighted that Mr and Mrs Gregory have been reunited with their photos. The images are even more poignant as they depict the last Transatlantic Crossing of the great QE2 and can never be taken again.”


I’ll be back next week with some more posts including, the first of the series of interviews with Queen Elizabeth’s newly appointed senior officers, I’ll also have more news from Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria on their 2010 World Voyages as well as some other amazing Cunard stories. Cheers Alastair



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