26th December, 2019
Boxing day and yes, we have found land!
The sun rose this morning a few minutes before eight in blue skies illuminating the North-East faces of Mount Teide, and in relatively calm seas. It was good to feel the morning warmth as we set course, having rounded the NE tip of Tenerife at 0830, towards the Pilot station.
I took my usual morning turn-around the decks, a little later this morning, and I was surprised, perhaps I should not be, of how many Guests were up and about taking the morning air. Perhaps walking off the Christmas Day calorie intake!
Embarking the Pilot, another recognisable face, we entered the Harbour with our first line ashore at 1015. I was parking bow-in, for expediency , and my thanks to Len and his team for keeping the Saga Sapphire going flat out to achieve this relatively early call; we were aiming for noon! The Explore-ashore programme had been scheduled for afternoon experiences, given the uncertainty of our actual arrival time; nonetheless, with the ship ‘cleared’ at 1030, many Guest took a post-breakfast stroll ashore before returning for lunch.
I managed to get ashore for two hours, nipping off with Leigh with the objective of enjoying some Tapas. We walked down to the Symphony hall, people watching and chatting in the heat of the day, as one does. If you haven’t been there, it a lovely spot at the ‘hall’ which on the south side you get good sea-vistas enjoying Tapas whilst sitting in the afternoon warm shaded breeze. Such nice time with Leigh.
It was a glorious day, shade temperatures in excess of 24 Celsius with generally blue skies. The team had organised a local dance troop to come onboard to add a ‘little’ something extra in the evening to take advantage of the warm temperatures on the open decks. It was nice event, well attended.
Sailing was slated for 2100, embarking the Pilot who was running a little late, we finally left the berth shortly after 2115 with Denis, Staffy, doing the driving. It had been a calm day until 2030, when a brisk off-berth breeze sprung up making what would be ‘routine’ departure manoeuvre, a little more interesting. Having let go all the moorings, the ship was allowed to ‘drop’ down on the wind into the mid-basin, whilst pushing the bow around through the wind until facing the right way, always useful, to exit the harbour.
The Pilot debarked once we were abeam the breakwater at 2200 and we set course to navigate off the South Eastern shores of Tenerife. Passing south of Los Cristianos, that popular holiday location on the south shore, just after midnight, we adopted a more westerly course to El Hierro; that not so frequented island of the Canaries.
Captain Stuart Horne
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