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19th April, 2013



I am often somewhat humbled by passengers I meet or dine with, and so it was the other evening when, at a formal dinner table I was hosting, I met a charming lady who had been a teenager at the start of the war living with her parents in Shanghai. The family had become prisoners of war when the Japanese had taken over. Her husband, an ex-naval man, had served as Commander on submarines. The following evening I met another chap who had served with the army during the Sicily campaign. They are all lovely to talk with, provided you can get them to actually recount at least some of their memories.


We sailed on down the Iberian Peninsular, having a moment of excitement when a Portuguese military helicopter came over from Lisbon to airlift one our folk who needed just a little more care than we could offer on board. By the next day Cape St. Vincent had passed the port quarter and, while passing through the Straits, only a glimpse of Gibraltar could be seen in the distance, the strong easterly wind stirring up the sea and salt, resulting in the visibility being reduced to less than eight miles. Once through, the wind died away and the sea remained calm for the rest of our journey to Cartagena.

This port, well known for its Spanish naval connections, is also busy building and repairing ships. Alongside in the next dock was a brand new submarine almost complete, one of four being built for the Spanish navy. On the synchro lift there were small naval vessels alongside luxury yachts all getting a dose of looking at.

Tours went off to the holy city of Caravaca, villages of Mercia and the little train known as El Chichara, a narrow gauge railway built by a British company in 1874 to serve lead and silver mines over towards La Manga.

The weather, although starting rather dull, became sunny and very warm and by the time we left later in the afternoon many of our folks were up on deck endeavouring to start the tanning routine.

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.