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2nd May, 2019


It was a peaceful passage across to the Gulf of Riga, entering the Gulf at 0130 this morning, passing between the Estonian island of Saaremaa to the north and the Latvian mainland to the south. Once through the narrows, we set course SSE’ly towards Riga and the mouth of the river, the Daugava, which rises in the Valdai Hills, flows through Russia, Belarus and Latvia before spilling in to the Gulf of Riga.

Embarking the Pilot at 0645 we commenced our two hour upstream transit to the city of Riga. It was a rather overcast and damp morning, nonetheless the Guests enjoyed their Champagne breakfast as we made our way along the river. Somewhat commercial, but an interesting cross section of industry, residential and farmland to entertain or to provoke curiosity.

Simon, Staff Captain, parked this morning. With no ebb river tide to write home about, the approach was wide to allow for the on berth breeze. With the bow close on the quay and forward ropes out to hold position, the stern dropped in nicely onto the berth using the wind. All fast for 0900, the heavens opened, briefly. The rain normally occurs whilst we are out on the bridge wings driving the ship, but it was an ad hoc shower, sadly this time it was reserved for our Guests to go ashore. Thankfully the shower passed quickly.

A nice selection of Explore-ashore options were on offer here in Riga, and being parked in the town, it was only a short walk into the attractive City centre. As it was a bit cool and breezy I recommended ‘hot chocolate and Morgan’s’ rum; that always warms me through on a winter's day, as the Guests returned onboard.

With all Tours back onboard for 1745, I could have sailed. However, with the requirement to uplift potable water, I elected to stay until 2200. It would be a disaster if we had no drinking water and only wine to drink, or would it?

With the Pilot onboard at 2200, we lifted off the berth, swinging the stern across the river and pushing the bow down-steam, once pointed in the right direction, that’s always useful, we proceeded out of the river and toward the Gulf of Riga.

I handed the ’charge’ to Simon, Staff Captain at just before 2300. Simon had rested during the afternoon, so that I could rest after departure. I left the navigation bridge in the capable hands of Simon and the team and then prepared to study the back of my eyelids - it seems a long time ago, that 0530 call this morning.

Captain Stuart Horne

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