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5th December, 2013

Mystery Cruise. Port No.2

We sailed throughout the night, two pilots changing over in the early hours and Staff Captain Kosta covering for me while I took some rest. The grey dawn eventually brought some light to a rather grey scene of estuary, buoys going past, the wakes of other ships blowing out in the fresh wind, and then the low land becoming more distinct. The Weser pilot disembarked, we passed anchored ships waiting apparently many hours for passage through a certain canal built at the turn of the 19th century. New pilots came aboard to take the ship on the final half of its 76 mile river journey.

Despite the rather chilly conditions there were several passengers on deck looking forward in an effort to identify their location. There were plenty of indicators for those with a keen eye, but I managed to fool a few when I pointed out a building on the shore line flying the national flag. In fact it was the flag of the district, solid red with a castle emblem in the centre. A lady suggested we were in Switzerland, now that would have been not only a mystery, but also a miracle.

We docked at lunchtime, a fine passenger terminal and just a few miles from the centre of…………..Hamburg. The intention being to stay overnight and sail the following afternoon, but nature had other plans. Despite a chilly windy afternoon many of our folk took the fifteen minute shuttle bus journey into town and the ‘Historischer Weinnachtsmarkt’ which looked particularly splendid as darkness returned. Here, next to the Rathause, the City Hall, there were dozens of stalls with thousands of lights, and even a ‘flying’ Santa Clause complete with sleigh and four reindeer that passed overhead every couple of hours.

Overnight the weather deteriorated and by the time the scenic tours had returned to the city centre the Christmas Markets had been closed to ensure their safety. Sailing was delayed twenty four hours and we all ‘bedded down’ for a stormy night. The following morning the tide was so high it came over onto the quayside for a few hours, causing some consternation for the terminal operator.  

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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.