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16th December, 2012

El Ferrol

Well the weather forecast was not wrong. After a difficult job using 2 tugs to lift the Sapphire off the berth again the strong wind was pinning us to the quay. We eventually set sail from Ponta Delgada on Thursday evening. I hugged the south coast of the island of San Miguel so that everyone could enjoy their dinner before we were exposed to the heavy Atlantic swell. This worked well and by the time dinner and 'Showtime' was over we poked our nose outside the lee of the land and the rolling motion once again started. Everyone was getting fairly used to the movement and sensibly were taking care as they moved around the ship.

The two day passage to Ferrol passed uneventfully and I adjusted our arrival at the entrance to the port until daylight which was not until 8.45am. The reason for the adjustment was because the sea state was too rough for the pilot to board outside the breakwater. Sure enough a 6 metre swell was running at the breakwater entrance but once inside it was perfectly smooth and safe enough to bring him aboard.

So on a rather cold and inclement Sunday morning we arrived at our last call for this cruise. El Ferrol, famous for its connections with the Spanish Navy, and with General Franco, this deep natural harbour has had a long nautical tradition. Although the weather was not with us today it did not faze our intrepid explorers who were eager to see the wonders of this northern region of Spain.

The first tour to depart from the Britannia Lounge today was the ‘Santiago De Compostela’ tour - a guided excursion of the famous religious pilgrimage site. Starting off with a visit to the cathedral which is said to be built on the site reputedly the last resting place of St. James.

For something completely different there was the shore excursion, ‘Galicia’s Scenic Coastline’. Enjoying views of traditional villages, whilst driving past beautiful unspoilt beaches, it was the most popular trip departing the lounge today. Or for those who felt the urge to go off and explore by themselves the centre of town was only a short walk away. The waterfront was dotted with cafes and bars, and plenty of shops to while away the hours ashore.

In the main lounge tonight there was a perennial favourite of Saga passengers performing live on stage: the phenomenal Bettine Clemen. The talented flautist dazzled the audience for just under an hour with an interesting mix of classical favourites interspersed with popular masterpieces, and packaged in a stunning multimedia display. Or for an alternative, our Assistant Cruise Director wowed all with a cabaret in the Drawing Room. This was followed by the ‘Sunny Duo’ playing through to the wee small hours of the morning.

All in all it was another night of fun and frivolity on board the floating palace that is Saga Sapphire.

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.