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30th August, 2012

Around Britain day two

Captain McLundie

Well its day two on our trip ‘Around Britain’, and this morning there was a great buzz on board the ship. At 0500 this morning I was on the bridge as we sailed close around Duncansby Head Lighthouse into the pentland Firth. I had brought the times forward by a few hours as I saw that being spring tides, we would have had 12 knots of current against us going through the Firth. As this ship only does 17 knots at a push it would have been a slow arduous run.

So I decided to get a little ahead and go through on slack water. It wasn’t long before we were running towards Cape Wrath, passing by at 1000. Then we sailed across to the Butt of Lewis. Unfortunately mother nature had different ideas and swept up gale force winds and seas. However we sailed on, this being a very good sea ship. The day started for our guests with an opportunity to visit our Bridge, and willing participants received a 30 minute guided tour, as well as an opportunity to have a photograph at the helm.

Following that, the events in the morning kept coming at a frenetic pace. There was a chance to ‘Meet the Cast’ as the Explosive Singers and Dancers entertained all with a thrilling insight into the trials and tribulations of being an on board show team. Guests had just over an hour to ask all those questions that had always gone unanswered.

The afternoon’s highlight was a chance to learn all about some of our maritime history with Richard Woodman, the other Captain on the ship. His lecture focused on the “Lighthouses of the East Coast – Dover to Cape Wrath”. Or for something completely different, our wonderful Cruise Host Fernando held an arts and craft class, teaching the fine skill of Decoupage.

We arrived at St Kilda at 1730 and I had been given special permission from the National trust for Scotland to sail very close to Boreray and the stac Lee and St Kilda itself. The reason they were happy was because every year I command the Saga ship which the National Trust charter from Saga every year. And having done it for 5 years, I have managed to get passengers onto St Kilda, 5 times out of 7 visists which I am proud of. So I know the waters well and was able to cruise around close but at a safe distance. Sadly, the very low cloud and high winds didn’t help with visibility but as I said to the passengers, it really gives you a true flavour on how hard life must have been on the islands. From there we set course for my old haunts, Mull and Oban.

One of the jobs of being a cruise ship Captain, is to shake many passengers' hands at the social events, and having done it for the last 12 years, I must have shaken thousands of hands. So in order to safe guard my hand and not to inflict a workplace injury, I took a leaf out of my waving passengers book, and got a false hand!!!!!

In the evening Guests were spoilt for choice. Downstairs in the Britannia Lounge, guests could tickle their funny bones listening to our UK guest act, the hilarious Dave Kristian. Or as an alternative, in the Drawing Room, they could enjoy the sounds of Louise George and Sandie Griffiths in their delightful late night cabaret.

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.