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9th January, 2020


Well the cruise, Tales of the Caribbean, is off to a cracking start. A great Biscay crossing, a bit of a swell, but for this time of year, just peachy.

We made good time after our late sailing from Southampton and then the need to Helivac on Tuesday morning off Finistere, put us a bit behind, but we made up the time -  it must be all that steaming ‘down-hill’.

Arrival into Funchal this morning was spectacular, a full one hour before sun rise, we had a fabulous full moon dipping behind the island sufficiently to allow the shore lights to stand out. Hope you like the picture, yes it is arrival just before sunrise.

Embarking the Pilot at 0700, I drove bow-in to speed things up  a little, It was only a half-day call and I wanted to maximise the time alongside; the Pilot was very helpful, I have known him for donkeys years, and he chivvied up the shore services to aid a fast ‘tie-up’.

The gangway was in and the ship cleared shortly after 0730. To my surprise, some of my keen independent Guest were off strolling ashore; the sun hadn’t risen yet!

It has been a pleasant morning, not hot, but warm and cosy which epitomises the island of Madeira. Such a lovely place and fantastic people. 

Being a half-day call, at 1300 it was time to go, in no time at all! Karl, my 3rd Officer, took the ship out. An interesting little manoeuvre, backing off the pier then pushing the bow around to pass the breakwater before disembarking the Pilot.

With the Pilot away we set out on our initial heading for the Great Circle passage across the Atlantic.  Julian, HD and Jo, CD put on a fabulous sail-away which was still going by the time I got off the Bridge and got down to Veranda deck aft.

What a magnificent sight with Madeira, sun-drenched in the afternoon sun, dropping astern as we strode westward like intrepid explorers.

Six days at sea... loads of time to catch up with my paperwork!

Captain Stuart Horne

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