Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
31st January, 2018
Well, we always like to try something new here at Saga, and so instead of the traditional turnaround day held in either Southampton or Dover, we gave Portsmouth a go this time around, and I’m pleased to say that it all went very well indeed. Apart from bringing in some logistical efficiencies, the sail-away out of port is far superior to that of Southampton: we pass her Majesty’s naval dockyard including the brand new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, and then squeeze through the narrow entrance with Portsmouth city and the impressive Spinnaker Tower on one side, and the town of Gosport and Haslar Marina to starboard.
So off we went at the beginning of another cruise, this time entitled “Morocco and the Hidden Canaries.” The title and its challenge concerned me just a little, but after consulting with my navigator it turned out that these ‘hidden Canaries’ were actually quite easy to find with the aid of Google Maps and other similarly modern navigation techniques. I therefore found myself heading south through the Bay of Biscay with added confidence; the weather was very much on our side too –with very pleasant cruising conditions enroute to Lisbon, allowing plenty of time for those landlubbers amongst us to find their sea legs.
After entering the river Tejo just after 06:00, the sun started rising under the April 25th Bridge (Lisbon’s answer to San Francisco’s Golden Gate) just as we passed under at 07:15, on our final approaches to the berth. A strong current was flowing in the river today which called for extra vigilance when manoeuvring & tying the ship up. After the authorities had cleared us into Portugal, everybody was free to head off in the morning sunshine to do whatever they wished ashore. Passengers were even more delighted when I announced that we would be spending the night here as well, as a little Saga special magic moment which I thought might be nice.
Day & night passed, and folks returned to the ship happy that they had been given plenty of time to enjoy this special city. In fact, I even ran my ever-popular ‘latest passenger back on board at night wins a bottle of bubbly’ competition, which was clearly taken very seriously by some of our night owls! Early in the morning of the 1st February, we quietly slipped our lines and headed back down the river out into the Atlantic ocean on our way southwards to Morocco, just as some may have been rising for breakfast after their wild nights out ashore…
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