Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
22nd April, 2018
Three days at sea passed happily by. For our passengers they consisted of food, drink, entertainment, some relaxing, followed by a little more food, drink and entertainment.
But then early in the morning on Saturday we approached the basin to the river Guadalquivir for our transit up to the beautiful port of Seville. Thundery showers marked our entrance to the river, but thankfully they soon cleared and a warm, intermittent, lazy hazy Spanish sunshine followed.
Weaving our way upstream, we passed dozens of wooden eel fishing boats – their nets strewn wide from outriggers. On both sides, almost as far as the eye could see, were paddy fields - a landscape that could almost be mistaken for somewhere in Vietnam. The principal difference was that the field workers were wearing a different style of hat on their heads. At times we had to slow the ship down in order to account for the shallow water. Saga Pearl II is among the deepest draft of ship permitted to transit the river.
About 5 hours, or 45 miles after entering the Guadalquivir River, we reached a lock chamber, parting us from the river and leaving us level in canal waters for the final 5 mile run into Seville city centre. Our final navigational hurdle consisted of a lifting bridge, located just prior to reaching our berth. Carrying a dual carriageway road, railway and walkway, the bridge was lifted just in time as we approached. We were through with just a few metres to spare on either side, before finally tying up alongside on the canal side.
Our visit ties in nicely with the finale of the local “Feria de Abril,” the annual local fiesta taking place in April. The Spanish love a good party. Tonight, as part of the celebrations, among other festivities there were street parties and fireworks.
On board, a local Flamenco dancing show wowed our passengers in the evening, preceded by an amazing tapas style buffet supper. Seafood, fine meat and grilled vegetables aplenty, and local wines garnished the tables. For the more adventurous passengers, a short stroll along the river bank led to the city centre and hundreds of superb places to wine & dine. Midnight quickly came, along with an impressive fireworks display of which we had a great view.
The following morning brought sun & warmth, and more tours for those eager to see as much of this city as possible. All were back on board by early afternoon when we sailed. Backwards for the first part (I love a good challenge) – back through the lifting bridge and then lock chamber, before downstream again. Eventually we popped back out into the Atlantic once more, towards Portugal’s Algarve and our next destination of Portimao.
Captain Kim Tanner
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