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31st May, 2019


It was a fine day at sea yesterday, having left Quebec on the Wednesday morning we sailed along the St Lawrence, taking advantage of the fine weather, close-coasted off the north shoreline and passing very close to Pointe a Pic with spectacular views of the Hotel Le Manoir Rishelieu, where the G8 was held last summer. A glorious afternoon with many Beluga whale sightings.

Yesterday saw us navigating off Anticosti Island before turning sharp left to head up for Cornerbrook, Newfoundland. It was a lovely day and great evening.

This morning started early with a call at 0445 as we approached, from the west, Bay of Islands. Passing Woods Island at 0545, we entered the ‘Fjord’ like water-way, proceeding south were we then embarked the Pilot 8 miles further on down the Fjord, at 0630. What a super chap, completely ‘chilled’. His family emigrated to Cornerbrook 470 years ago, his mother’s side was from Lancashire and his father’s side was from Yorkshire. Many of the descendants in Cornerbrook were from either Yorkshire or Lancashire, quite different to that of St John’s were the influence was very much from Ireland.

The approach to the harbour was made in dense fog, fortunately, as we closed onto the Pier, the fog lifted sufficiently so that we could see where to park the ’boat’! All done for 0800, the keen Guests were ashore within minutes of the gangway being ready. I was delighted to see a Newfy on the quay, as you know I have a bit of a soft spot for Newfy’s. I popped down to say hi, nutty thing, all over me she was, gorgeous dog, not small at 20 months old!

Anyway, the day cleared up to be a fine sunny day, once the fog had burnt off.

Cornerbrook is one of those harbours where you need 48 hours’ notice for Tug service, they have none stationed here, so they come from around St Johns. I had not booked any tugs given the good forecast of ‘light-airs’ Whoops, the conditions changed during the stay and the breeze went from off the berth to a stiff wind on the berth. The challenge was the state of the fenders, making it difficult to do the usual bow-on manoeuvre, there was no clear water astern, indeed the stern would need to be lifted 50 meters to clear the obstructions and there was little water ahead.

The manoeuvre, of which the Pilot felt was not do-able, i.e. we stay in port until the wind changes direction, but I was happy that it could be done, as demonstrated. The manoeuvre called for absolute slow and precise control, difficult on the Saga Sapphire. On my departure broadcast I had advised that my confidence in getting gout was only 30-70, hence we had a huge amount of spectators. Anyway, the manoeuvre completed I gave myself a quiet pat on the back.

Dropping the Pilot at 1700 on the way out of the Fjord, we set course, initially back tracking to the south-eastern end of Anticosti island, before crossing the road towards Sydney. Crossing the road, yes, crossing the traffic lanes of ship-routing in and out of the St Lawrence.

Another Guest dinner this evening, the fund-raising is going well.

See you in Sydney.

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.