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St. Nazaire

Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

6th August, 2018

It was an early start to the day for St. Nazaire. So earlier in fact it started yesterday at 2300! We embarked our pilot at 2300 and made our way up towards the locks.

In order to get to our berth in the Bassin de Penhoet we need to transit through Bassin de Saint-Nazaire, which is where the German U-Boats were kept during the war. Entry to the Bassin de Saint-Nazaire is via a lock. We entered the lock at 0010 and by 0030 we were safely docked and waited for the water to be pumped in to bring us up to the same level as the Basin. The location of our berth is very close the STX Ship yard, which has built some famous liners, notably the RMS Queen Mary 2 and the SS Normandie and there are presently there are two big cruise ships under construction.

By 0100 we were ready to leave the lock and we made our way through the basins towards our berth. Saga Pearl II is the largest ship that is allowed in to this area. We then passed a narrow section between the two Bassin, we had about 4 meters either side, we every breathed in! Once clear it was a short distance to our swing area where we swung and then we were safely docked by 0200. With us alongside it was time to go back to bed.

Awakening after a good sleep it was time to start my day for the second time, today it is warm again with temperatures in the region of 31c or 88f.

St. Nazaire is known as the ‘Town of 20 beaches’ and stands on the site of an ancient pre-Roman settled called Corbilo. In the 19th century to started to develop in to the commercial port that is recognised today. Our shore excursions today have taken out guests to Brière Nature Park and Guérande which covers and areas of 154 square miles and is the second largest are of marshland in France. Another destination is La Côte Sauvage which means ‘The Wild Coast’ where they visited the fishermen’s village of Le Croisic and then continued on to La Baule.

With everyone back on board at 1630 and our pre-departure checks complete, we lifted from the berth and made our way back out towards the lock. As it was day light we were greeted by locals and tourists lining the perimeter of the lock, also there was a band playing while we waited inside the lock to sail back out in to the Bay of Biscay. On the way in we only had to rise the ship 30cm, however due to it being low tide at departure we have to lower the ship 2.5m to be back level with the sea.

We cleared the locks at 1800 and we let our tugs go that had assisted us on the passage from the berth to the locks and we proceeded out to sea. We disembarked our pilot just before 1900 and set speed for our home port of Dover. It was our formal farewell dinner tonight which as always was excellent food and company.

Tomorrow we have a day at sea and it is filled with activities for our guests. We will have famous Captain Nick’s Fish and Chips and Omar Allibhoy will be giving another cooking Demo.

This cruise has been excellent, and our guests have enjoyed all the ports, many not having been to them before. It certainly was a first with me for all the ports bar one.

Normal service will be resumed in Dover with Captain Nick returning to blog for our cruise around Britain. It has been a pleasure to blog to you and I hope that you have enjoyed the entries. Until next time, this is Simon signing off.

Simon D Westall - Staff Captain

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.