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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

18th September, 2018

A fine autumnal day dawned as we steamed at full sea speed towards Dover on the day of the Sabbath, Sunday 16th Sept. It was a pleasantly hazy but warm day, and a following wind from the southwest of around Force 6 on the Beaufort Scale.

We would arrive in Dover just before lunch time, in order to embark passengers for our upcoming Norway & Iceland Exploration cruise. Everything was going swimmingly with the exception of the notable absence of our refuelling barge, which was expected to arrive just after we did but there was no sign of her anywhere. We had not heard any cries for help over the VHF radio and no coastguard alerts either, therefore once we had made the safe assumption that she had not sunk, we enquired further with our agents.

To cut a long story short, our fuel supplier had suffered a “mix-up” and pretty much forgotten about us. Therefore, we looked on our long-range scanner to see if we could find another suitable oil tanker nearby, and lo & behold, there was one anchored off Calais just across the Channel. We hailed her, negotiated a decent price for a tank of diesel, and over she came to fill us up. That done and dusted by midnight, we set off east to the North Sea and our next port of Bremerhaven, Germany.

A pleasant day at sea with some sunshine towards at the end, we enjoyed a smooth a gentle trip to Germany and the River Weser, which we entered at an unfortunately anti-social time of around 04:00 on Tuesday morning. Safely docked in Bremerhaven’s Cruise Terminal just before 08:00, with the sun shining brightly and the temperature forecast to soar to the high 20’s, moods were high as passengers set out ashore to enjoy their day.

Starting out as a little fishing village in 1139 (apparently) this town still exists very much for fish, with over half of Germany’s fish fleet being deposited here. The town is rather pleasant, and organised tours pootled off to explore it by bus, tram & foot. Other trips included a sail out on the river Weser aboard a Dutch tall ship, and quite excitingly a trip to the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg; where Saga is currently having Spirit of Discovery built. Those on this tour would be able to view from a gallery the dock in which our new ships are being built, and also explore the yard’s history as well as being shown mock-up cabins for Spirit of Discovery. Spirit of Discovery is starting to take shape now, and so this should be a fascinating trip for all – some of our crew went along too, to take a glimpse their future new workplace & home.

Early evening arrived surprisingly rapidly, and with that it was time to head back out of the river and north to our next destination, Bergen in Norway. Now, I’ve only ever been to Bergen once when it hasn’t rained (it’s renowned as Norway’s ‘Rainy City’) so let’s see what it’s got in store for us this time…

Captain Kim Tanner

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.