21st January, 2020
It’s a whirlwind,, St Lucia, port number six in six days and another four to do before we have a sea day to catch our breath. Due to our late departure from Guadeloupe yesterday evening, it was a relatively high speed run south to Castries sailing west of the islands of Dominica and Martinique overnight.
It was a sensible arrival time of 0900, meaning a 0800 Pilot embarkation. Not quite a lie-in for the Captain, I had my usual 0530 call; it just wasn’t so much of a ‘commute’ rush from the ‘bunk’ to the Bridge, my commute time being all of around one minute!! To boot, the sun was already well up, with dawn at 0600 as we approached the island from the North west.
It’s a beautiful entrance, but a tricky little passage, very tight and a tight turn at the top. It was brisk and with no tugs and limited navigable water, it was ‘piano piano’, as my Italian Safety officer would say…. With the bow a few meters from the trees in the park, I dropped the ship, using the wind, alongside at Point Seraphine.
Another glorious day unfolded as the Guest made their way ashore. It’s a fab island and a great ‘berth’ location just to wander into town. Castries is not necessarily the jewel in the crown, but the outlying areas are tropically beautiful, as one would expect. The early afternoon drew on as I strolled onto the port bridge wing with a cup of tea, we were port-side too. Looking astern I noticed a ‘block’ of flats had arrived, a bit of monster and she was parked in the channel. Point Seraphine, the vicinity of the berths, has two berths for cruise vessels. One for smaller ships inside, us and an outer berth, more in the approach channel, for the larger ships.
Hmmm, there is no way I can squeeze past her on departure I thought,, wandering what time she was due to sail. It would be a challenging enough manoeuvre without her there, impossible with her berthed. I could sail but the Saga Sapphire would need some re-modelling after the manoeuvre. Far too much paperwork would follow! Adrian, my 12-4 OOW hailed the Norwegian Epic to understand their departure time. 2200 was the response, we were scheduled to sail at 1800. After some hurried telephone calls we rescheduled our departure to 2230, following the Norwegian Epic.
It was too late for Jo Boase to change the Today schedule, so we still had the sailaway party on Verandah aft, but just called it the ‘not-quite sailing away party’. It the first time I have been able to attend a sailaway party! At 2215 the Pilot embarked, and we slipped our moorings at 2230 –moved astern off the pier, swung the bow to the north and navigated out of the channel, dropping the Pilot at around 2315.
We were on our way to Grenada. As I prepare for my bunk, I have a hunch that Grenada would be a challenging port of call, night night.
Captain Stuart Horne
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