Leaving Tarragona and heading south towards the Straits of Gibraltar, the Saga Ruby continued to enjoy the sunshine as she ran before the wind. With force six winds prominent from astern and rough sea, the Saga Ruby made good time remaining steady throughout, leaving passengers largely unaware of the true condition of the sea. With relative wind speed effectively reduced to a force three due to the ships course, speed and no significant swell to cause the vessel to move, it was only the white horses upon the water’s surface that gave away any indication that it was anything other than a calm sunny day.
In the late afternoon, several hours before we reached the Straits of Gibraltar, we past the Saga Pearl II on her way to Civitavecchia. Passing less than half a mile away we sounded the whistle in salute. During our brief encounter, the passengers and crew filled the decks of each ship to wave to one another.
On the second sea day, after the nighttime transit through the Straits back out into the Atlantic Ocean, we saw a change to the sea state. The sea, now calmer, looked more in keeping with the sunny sky. Our passengers got to enjoy another day of the nice weather that had been with us since we’d entered the Mediterranean Sea over a week ago.
We arrived in Vigo Bay at 6am on the morning of the October 2. The Saga Ruby approached the pilot station under a star-filled sky. The sun wasn’t due to make an appearance until just after half-past eight. Once the pilot had boarded, the approach to the berth was straightforward and the ship was all tied up in good time ready for our passengers to proceed ashore to explore the city of Vigo.
The Galician city of Vigo, with its Moorish architecture, has rich history to capture the imagination and interest of our passengers.
During the Middle Ages, the small village of Vigo was part of the territory of Portuguese speaking neighbouring towns. Tui in particular suffered several Viking attacks. However, the number of inhabitants was so small that Vigo was not considered to be a real village until around the 15th century, when the earliest records began.
During the 16th and 17th centuries the city was attacked several times. In 1585 and 1589 Francis Drake raided the city and temporarily occupied it, leaving many buildings burnt. Several decades later a Turkish fleet tried to attack the city. As a result the walls of the city were built in 1656 during the reign of Philip IV of Spain. They are still partially preserved.
In 1702 the Battle of Vigo Bay occurred. In 1719, because a Spanish fleet which departed from Vigo attempted to invade Scotland in support of the Jacobites, the city was occupied for ten days by a British force.
In 1808 the French Army annexed Spain to the Napoleonic Empire, although Vigo remained unconquered until January 1809. Vigo was also the first city of Galicia to be freed from French rule in what is now celebrated as the Reconquista (reconquest from French in the context of the Peninsular War) on March 28, each year.
The Saga Ruby made ready to sail at 2 pm and she sounded the whistle in salute as we departed Vigo. The temperature was hotter than forecast and had risen to 28 degrees Celsius, providing perfect conditions for sailing through the bay of Vigo. Many passengers took the opportunity to enjoy a Sunday afternoon out in the un-seasonal October sunshine.
Entering the Atlantic between Cape Home and the Isle of Monte Agudo, the good weather looked to continue and provide a smooth crossing across the Bay of Biscay to conclude our cruise.