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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

6th April, 2018

It was definitely morning when I got up. My alarm was set for 0530 ready to embark our pilot at 0630. Takes me awhile to do my hair!

We were docked today in Cherbourg, France on the “Quai de France”. This berth was used by many of the Trans-Atlantic Liners in the golden age of liners plying their trades across the Atlantic. The original “Air Bridges” are still there, and it was only recently that they were taken out of service. Prior to this berth being built the liners, including Titanic before she sailed to Queenstown, would anchor off in the harbour and tender their guests ashore.

Our Shore Excursions team today had arranged tours to “Cap de la Hague”, a cape at the tip of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy. The other tour offered today was to “Val de Saire” which is also located on the Cotentin Peninsula, and renowned for its seafood, especially the oysters.

After arrival I completed the stability. The stability calculations are done on arrival, departure, 0800 if spent the night alongside and also at 0800 when the vessel is at sea. I don’t get the drafts when we are sea, don’t fancy getting my feet wet!

As the morning progressed I continued with my handover notes and paperwork. Also I completed the preparations for our turnaround operation tomorrow in Portsmouth. Some of the operations that will take place in Portsmouth are: 1) Crew Handovers 2) Bunkering of Fuel 3) Loading of Stores 4) Loading and Off Loading of luggage. My team of sailors will this evening help the Housekeeping department prepare the luggage loaders and luggage ready to be off loaded upon our arrival in the morning.

Our departure was later today as it is only 80 nautical miles (92 miles – 1 nautical mile – 1.15 miles) across the English Channel to Portsmouth. The manoeuvre this evening saw Saga Pearl II moved astern away from the berth. Once clear of all the berths and ferry terminals, with the use of the bow thruster and engines, we swung the ship and proceeded out through the breakwaters under the guidance of our harbour pilot. After he was safely disembarked we set a northerly course across the English Channel.

The Channel, as it commonly known, is one of the busiest shipping areas in the world. On average over 400 commercial vessels transit the area each day. To give you some idea one of the photos is taken from an app called “Marine Traffic” which shows the location of ships. You can see just one or two in the English Channel! The shot was at around 1800 French Time.

Tomorrow will be a busy day for the Saga Pearl II crew as we turn around ready for the next cruise. For me, I will be waking up early, 0300 ready for an 0400 pilot off the Nab Tower. On the upside our clocks will be going back one hour tonight to UK Summer Time, an extra hour in bed! We expect to be docked in Portsmouth around 0530.

Well I do hope that you have enjoyed my blog over the last couple of days. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow as Captain Sunderland will be back blogging next cruise.

All that is left for me to say is Good Night from the English Channel.

Staff Captain Simon Westall

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.