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28th December, 2019

Las Palmas

It’s almost a ‘due-east’ passage from El Hierro to the southern tip of Gran Canaria; a peaceful overnight passage until we raised the shore lights of Maspalomas. Maspalomas is a ‘holiday’ region of the island and you could only imagine the Night Clubs and bars closing as we passed at 3 o’clock in the morning. Ah yes, the peace and tranquillity of the ‘yacht’ Saga Sapphire! 

So; heading more northerly in the early hours of this morning, the mass of the ‘Port’ lights came into view shortly after 5 am. Yes, Las Palmas is a significant cargo port and, additionally, there were five cruise ships due in today. We were scheduled a Pilot as 0700, but given the amount of shipping movements, in particular, cruise ships – I elected to get in early and so re-scheduled the Pilot for 0600. Early start, but ensuring we get in on time to have the opportunity to operate a ‘great’ experience’ for my ‘flock’, is high up on my agenda. 

Embarking the Pilot at 0600 we drove in. Our ‘parking’ slot this morning was a tricky little manoeuvre and without tugs, but first come first served. What I am saying is that once I had my pilot onboard and was ‘in’ the port, I could take my time to berth. I had loads of time- because I was early and everyone else would need to take their turn. “No pain no gain”; the pain of the early pilot paid off! What we do for our Guests! 

Alongside well before sunrise, gangway landed just after 0700, I stood on the bridge wing with another ‘brew’ in hand, taking in the spectacle of Las Palmas waking up. It was a busy day, lots of ‘rounds & routines’ today, ship-wide inspections and so forth; it’s surprising one gets time to drive the ship; that’s modern living for you , administration! 

With all guests back on board promptly and a happy crew satiated, it was time to get to La Palma, Santa Cruz, confusing names - it’s a wonder I arrive at the right port! Why the crew ‘satiated’ you ask? Well, one of the enjoyments of Las Palmas for the crew is the ‘all you can eat’ Chinese, just up the road. They love it. I would too, but my waistline disagrees!

Pilot on board, we prepared for our departure. Adrian, 2nd Officer, was driving out this evening. This manoeuvre requires the services of a tug, it’s just to tight, in any weather, to get the Saga Sapphire out of this berth. Last line off the ‘bollards’ at 1700 - we made our way out, all ‘booted & suited’, dressed to the ‘nines’. It was Britannia Club tonight at 1800 and with a 1700 sailing, it’s all a rather tight ‘calendar’. 

With the Pilot away we set course around the north of Gran Canaria and then back west towards La Palma. See you in the morning.


Captain Stuart Horne


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.

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