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16th August, 2013


The weather was just about perfect when we made our approach to Gdansk in Poland, which was just as well as I had never been there before and the approach was, to say the least, unusual. From the start of the buoyed channel there was nowhere sufficiently wide enough to turn the ship, not even a turning basin inside the port. So we turned outside and went stern first all the way in, a distance of four miles. Not the most elegant of entries, but with the bow thruster being used very effectively as a rudder, we negotiated all the turns without having to use the tug that had been sent to assist.


Our berth at Westerplatte was very close to the very large memorial that has been built above the site of the small garrison that was attacked by German forces on September 1st 1939, thus being the very place where hostilities commenced at the start of the Second World War.

Many of our guests took tours or the shuttle bus into the historical Hanseatic League city of Gdansk, more recently being remembered as the birth place of the Solidarity movement and the forerunner to the end of Communist rule in central Europe. One group went off on an all day excursion that not only included Gdansk but also took in the site of Stutthof concentration camp, the first of such camps being built outside of Germany. There were apparently sufficient buildings left for the tourists experience to be a very sobering one.

We departed some forty five minutes behind schedule as the ordered tug failed to arrive. Profuse apologies from the local agent and the pilot were forthcoming and blame was placed on some helpless despatcher of the tug company. I gave them a scowl, but only for a short while. The point had been made.      

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