1st May, 2019
The overnight Baltic passage saw Saga Sapphire navigate off the shores of Poland to the south and Sweden to the north. Passing between the island of Oland on the port side, and Gotland to starboard during the night early hours, we closed on to Gotland’s western shore as the sun rose this morning.
Visby was due to be an anchorage port requiring the use of tenders, however a late confirmation gave Saga Sapphire the new ‘cruise’ berth just to the south of the main commercial port. The berth is very exposed to wind conditions prevailing from anywhere between the South all the way around to the North West, so often a tricky approach. Today, we had SW’ly winds that would set the ship down onto the berth. To the layman, today was a simple berthing manoeuvre but with restricted waters off the berth and toward the shoreline, it was, as is always the case with this fine lady of the seas, slowly slowly.
Swinging the ship off the berth, I backed towards the shoreline ensuring I kept the ship upwind by 150 meters off the berth, therefore allowing the brisk wind to set the ship bodily onto the berth. With the Saga Sapphire, a successful berthing is ensuring the approach is absolutely right, then you don’t create so much hard work for yourself!
Berthed for 0800, the ship was swiftly cleared by the authorities and we were all set for the first shore experience at 0815.
I have never been ashore in Visby, so I was intrigued to get feedback from the Guests when they returned from our Tours or from the independently minded taking a stroll around town. As my Guests came back aboard during the day, it was pleasing to hear so many nice comments, both about Visby and also the Island itself. Some real positives - so a good port of call.
James, the 2nd Officer was due to drive out today. A straight forward manoeuvre which required the use of a tug - the wind, still blowing from the SW, had increased to 20 knots. This is too much for the heavy Saga Sapphire.
A nice manoeuvre by James and once clear of the berth we set a course towards the extreme north end of Gotland island, before heading east towards the Gulf of Riga.
Captain Stuart Horne
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