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19th March, 2019

La Palma

Evening all, our late-night stay in La Palma has concluded and I need to get to my bed. Great feedback from the Guests this evening; it is a lush Island and the most westerly of the Canaria group.

It was a nice start to the day for the technical and navigation teams, a scheduled arrival of 1300 is so much more popular than an 0700 arrival! We made good speed overnight and whilst on-time for the Pilot, we were berthed 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

Tom, the ‘Staffy’, drove in this morning - it was brisk off the berth and provisionally the manoeuvring picture was that we could execute berthing without a tug. However, once swung and ready to go stern-in, it was clear that there was a risk of not making-up to the berth and once alongside an inability to keep the old girl ‘alongside’ until all moorings were secure was a likely outcome. A Tug was ordered, indeed, the Tug was already manoeuvring as the crew were repositioning in the harbour, so no delay for our berthing plan.

With the Tug pushing the aft-end of the ship towards the pier and use of the bow thruster to control the front end, berthing was one smooth continuous manoeuvre. Nice job Tom.

The day, although brisk, was very pleasant, with prolonged periods of blue skies. However, whilst cloudy in the port, this was a Celestial cruise with a ‘sold-out’ stargazing tour and so clear skies were a prerequisite for star-gazing. Fortunately, at the observatory in the evening, the ‘gazers’ were above the clouds.

The wind had eased in the evening allowing a ‘shift & lift’ manoeuvre for departure. James, one of the young ‘officers of the watch’, lol, they are all young to me, drove out and made a nice controlled evolution. Once clear of the south end of the breakwater at 2330, course was set for La Gomera, one of the smaller islands in the Canaries.

It’s an 0530 call for me in the morning so I have written my ‘night-orders’ and I am off to climb between the sheets.

Chat later.

Captain Stuart Horne

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