Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
16th November, 2018
Well hello all ye faithful blog readers, Captain Tanner back again here, and straight into a ‘Moorish Mediterranean’ cruise we go aboard Saga Pearl 2.
Having cast off our lines in Portsmouth at dusk, we headed out past the naval base, the famous Spinnaker Tower, and through the harbour heads just before 17:00. Snaking our way out of the eastern Solent, we followed a cargo ship out to the east of the Isle of Wight before she unfortunately broke down, when we overtook her looking like a ghost ship. South-west and out of the English Channel we went overnight, before entering the Bay of Biscay the following morning.
For mid-November, the infamous Bay behaved herself well, and we only experienced a small amount of chop in the sea whilst the sun shone brightly for the following 2 days, making our passage southwards a most pleasant one indeed. On the morning of the 16th, well before sunrise, Saga Pearl 2 turned east to exit the North Atlantic and proceeded into the River Tejo, leading some 10 miles later to the port of Lisbon. The sun rose almost exactly the same time as we passed under the April 25th Bridge – a red suspension bridge spanning almost 1.5 miles over the river, which looks uncannily similar to the Golden Gate in San Francisco.
We secured the ship alongside our berth at the new cruise terminal in Lisbon at 08:00, allowing everyone to stretch their legs ashore after 2 days at sea eating far too much excellent food. The usual array of excursions was offered today as part of our organised tour programme, allowing those who wished to do so the peace of mind that they will be taken somewhere jolly nice, looked after well, and returned to the ship on time. We had tram tours, port wine trips, journeys to traditional Portuguese villages, palaces, and national parks on offer. Plus of course there were a few options of touring the city with a reputable guide as always. Since there was no trip this time around which involved divulging in the famous “Pasteis de Belem,” (locally made delicacies which resemble custard tarts) I decided to stay on board this time and catch up with some paperwork.
The sun shone uninterrupted throughout the day, providing conditions similar to what might be considered a jolly good British summer’s day, with temperatures in the low 20’s. As that sun lowered towards the horizon, we made preparations to depart once the final tour had returned from an apparently delightful trip to the distant villages of Obidos, Nazare & Alcobaca. Sailing back down the river Tejo again under the rusty-red bridge with the city lights starting to shine as the evening closed in, saw many passengers on deck for photo opportunities.
Once back out in the North Atlantic ocean again, we turned south to set a genteel speed towards Cape Sao Vicente – the south-west tip of Portugal – where we would then head towards the Gibraltar Strait before stopping just short of its entrance, on the north African continent, the day after tomorrow. Where might this be? Well, you’ll just have to return to the blog again in a few days to find out, won’t you. Or check on Google Maps / Marine Traffic / any number of available apps where you can spy on us…
Captain Kim Tanner
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