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3rd February, 2013

St John's, Antigua

St John's, Antigua

The six sea days across from Las Palmas on the great circle route to Antigua enabled our passengers to relax around the ship and store up their energy in preparation for the 10 consecutive ports in the Caribbean. The weather for the crossing wasn’t as nice as I’d hoped, though the sun shone during most of the days.

To the North, deep low pressure systems and high winds were generating a healthy swell that persisted for three days as we approached the Mid Atlantic Ridge.

As the larger of the systems passed to the north on its way to Europe, the Sapphire experienced force 7 winds for a couple of days where our course intercepted the outer reaches of the depression’s influence.

Out of the wind our passengers appeared to be getting good base tans in preparation for the Caribbean Islands, and would certainly be grateful that our cruise headed south to the Canaries instead of straight out to the Azores, where we would have met the bad weather head on.

After six days, more than a few of our crew members were getting cabin fever as were no doubt some of our passengers. With only a handful of ships sighted even the bridge team were looking forward to the more hectic schedule that awaited us in the West Indies.

On the morning of our arrival we followed the Ventura, a somewhat larger cruise vessel, down the channel towards the port of St John’s. As the Ventura berthed on the south side of the Heritage Quay, we slipped into position on the north side and were all fast just minutes behind our
larger neighbour.

On the quayside, keeping up the tradition, I said farewell to passengers off on the various tours around the island. In all my time with Saga I’ve never seen another Captain on the quay doing the same to exchange pleasantries with, and today was no exception sadly.

The day was going to be a hot one; the temperature was already 27 degrees Celsius at 8am. I’m sure there were more than a handful of glowing red faces looking on at the evening’s entertainment that night! The Ventura departed around 5pm leaving us the quay to ourselves as the sun set.

A local steel band called Heart Beat boarded at 21:30, to entertain our guests, racing down the gangway just before we let our lines go at 23:00.

After we moved off of the quay, the Sapphire turned through 180 degrees upon the obsidian waters in the harbour. Proceeding out along the buoyed channel, with the red and green lights upon the buoys flashing to indicate safe water, we headed out to sea with the late night party in full swing on the outside decks.

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.