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4th December, 2013

Mystery Cruise. Port No.1

I could have, of course, gone the wrong way around the Isle of Wight just to throw them off the scent, but in the end time and tide meant the Needles Channel was somewhat of a non-starter. We passed through the Dover Straits during the hours of darkness, a blessing really as the amount of ship traffic and the lights of the northern French coast could easily have given the game away with regard to the direction in which we were headed. As it was the odd oil rig later in the day could hardly be associated with the Bay of Biscay.

At the welcome cocktail party the passengers, the majority of which I have sailed with many times before, seemed up for the adventure. The most obvious questions were avoided by my suggestion that they shouldn’t even bother to ask, but I did get ‘You won’t be taking us up to Murmansk like you did before will you Captain?’ My reply was a simple ‘Won’t I?’

The following morning was an early start with the river pilot boarding around 4:30am. We proceeded then in total darkness and thick fog until, not long after 7am. A great orange glow started to illuminate the port side. It was the massive container terminal at Bremerhaven, north west Germany and our berth was close by. The river fog persisted, adding to that touch of mystery. With a certain degree of theatrical hesitation I came onto the public address and announced our arrival. The first tour group headed off for the one hour journey to Bremen shortly after. There the historic market square with its 600 year old town hall is the focal point for the Christmas Market and the folks had a few hours free to wander around and take in the experience.

Meanwhile back on board, because of a not too clever weather forecast, I had a decision to make as to our actual sailing time, route after departure and next destination. A real mystery then.    

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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.