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Mahon, Minorca

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

12th October, 2013

Peaceful Minorca

Last night’s entertainment up in the drawing room was a late night cabaret with vocalist entertainer Steve Terry. With a good turnout last night, it wasn’t surprising this morning guests were late rising despite the hour back. I always like bringing the ship to Mahon, as I find the sail in to the natural harbour somewhat stunning. This morning we were asked by the port to arrive a little earlier in order not to delay the arrival of the scheduled ferry. So in darkness we approached the narrow entrance to Mahon at 6:30am. As is the norm, the pilot usually boards inside the harbour and today was no exception. So I brought the ship in slowly, counteracting a cross current to aim for the centre of the main channel. In darkness, you have a lot of background shore lights and you have to be vigilant in picking up the lights of the navigational buoys, but red and green are very prominent colours so we could see them in good time. Once the pilot boarded we sailed towards our anchorage this morning.

We couldn’t go alongside at present as the berth has silted up over the years and sadly dredging has not taken place to maintain the depth so we had to anchor. Those who know Mahon will realise there is not much space to anchor, so I had been carrying out calculations the night before and working out how much chain to use in the prevailing winds and water depth and have sufficient swinging room for the ship to be able to swing 360 degrees. This was done and I had picked my spot so in the darkness we let go our starboard anchor. As the sun rose, it became apparent how restricted the anchorage was but my calculations proved correct so although we were very close to the shoreline aft, there was plenty of water and room to swing so I felt satisfied.

Mahon, Minorca

All those guests choosing to go on a tour were off on the shore side tender come 8:45am. With perfectly blue skies, calm waters and a picturesque setting it really was quite pleasurable for those guests remaining on-board as the ship swung around on an axel.

Mahon’s full name is Puerto De Mahon, and it is the chief city of Minorca. Mahons most important industries are the manufacture of shoes, imitation jewellery and pearls, not to mention the distilling of gin. So today was the perfect opportunity to purchase gifts and souvenirs what with it being a full day in port.

Not too many were on a tour this morning implying all our guests are well and truly ready for tomorrow’s nice relaxing day at sea. The two excursions that did depart this morning however were Scenic Northern Drive and Monte Toro and Binibeca. The first of the tours enjoying a journey along the scenic north road seeing some of Menorca’s charming seaside resorts. Most of the sightseeing was done in the comfort of the coach which came as a great delight for most today. The second of the tours revealed Menorca’s varied history and rural traditions. This tour also had chance to enjoy some of Mahon’s delicious cheeses and Catalonian wine which is produced for both local consumption and is also exported around the world. So it came as no surprise when standing up on the bridge wing to once again see the tender boats coming back with just as many bags as passengers.

Mahon street, Minorca

Another ritual is when we come to Mahon, Saga Holidays use a Hotel here so we always blow the whistle for them when we depart. We did even more today and welcomed those who wished to have a look around the ship as they said they had a wonderful surprise that the ship was anchored outside their windows.. I could have been cheeky and said it was done just for them, but that would have been a bit too cheeky!!

As we sailed out, we blew 3 long blasts on the ships horn, headed out, disembarked our pilot and headed towards Gibraltar.

Today we welcome a couple more entertainers onto Sapphire, one of which is performing this evening after the Dovetail Quartet, who are presenting another classical recital this evening titled Invitation to the Dance. Shortly followed by multi-instrumentalist Andy Eastwood.

 This cruise we have many classical enthusiasts I’ve been informed, as yesterday evening we had the second part of a classical musical quiz held by Professor George Pratt,  our classical music lecturer this cruise. The scores were somewhat outstanding I’m lead to believe with the winning team receiving a bottle of bubbly for a top score of 52 out of 54.  

This evening it was the night to strut their stuff at the Sapphire Disco Party held up in the drawing room with the cruise staff. Watching our Resty strut like John Travolta, whilst reliving the 70’s and 80’s was fun for all. 

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.

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