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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

31st July, 2018

After a fantastic formal dinner last night, it was time to wake up at 0600 ready for our pilotage in to Bayonne. We embarked our pilot at 0700 and then we continued to sail up river towards our berth. This is a new port to me so time to tick it off the list!

We swung off the berth this morning due to the flow of the river, which also meant that the departure would be simple and just need us to come off the berth and in to the river before proceeding out. Bayonne is located in the Basque Country region of southwest France, there are two river that come to meet at Bayonne, these are the Nive and Adour. The main river is the River Adour which leads out to the sea.

We had a few tours today, our guests headed off to Lourdes and it Sanctuaries which is a major Catholic pilgrimage site and each year millions visit here. Other places that our guests visited today were St. Jean de Luz, Biarritz and across the border in to Spain to visit San Sebastian, the city that the Spanish Kings and Queens chose as their royal seaside resort.

This cruise sees us with all our ports of call in the Bay of Biscay. The Bay is infamous for its choppy seas, which unfortunately was true at the start of the cruise but I am pleased to say that the Bay is now calm as we sail between our ports. The Bay of Biscay has an average depth of 1,744 meters and at its deepest point it is 4,735 meters deep, that’s 15,535ft deep! The reason for the choppy seas in the Bay is due to the continental shelf that extends far in to the Bay. This results in fairly shallow waters and this then means the sea becomes choppier as the depth shallows out.

The weather today has been great with temperature in the region of 28c which is 82f, and looking at the forecast we still have warmer weather to come!

At 1700 with everyone on board and the pre-departure checks complete the Captain gave the order to let go the mooring lines. Using the bow thruster and the main engines, we sailed out in to the River Adour. After 30 minutes we arrived at the breakwaters leading us back out in to the Bay of Biscay. The breakwater was lined with people enjoying the sun and fishing. We gave them a few blasts of the ships whistle before disembarking out pilot and setting westerly course to our next port of Gijon.

This evening we have Al Fresco dining by the Sundowners Bar, with the nice weather and a great day in port, what better way to end the day! Until tomorrow, I wish all my readers a relaxed evening.

Simon D Westall - Staff Captain

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