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31st October, 2013

Porto Grande

Well another wonderful day as we’re greeted with sunshine, with highs of up to 25C. The weather we’ve been experiencing comes as a delight to many who have been experiencing rather cold damp weather back at home. With it being an hour back last night we much expected everyone to be up and about early this morning. However, with the Oktoberfest out on the veranda deck yesterday and the huge amounts of beer both Horst and I were pouring for the guests it was really not surprising it was a quiet start to the day!

My last visit here was in early March on Saga Ruby on the Grand Voyage but this morning the weather was a little more windy. However the berth is very short and there were ships berthed right ahead so we had to squeeze right up to the stern of the little tanker ahead, in order to get the ships stern inside the pier. So I approached at 4 knots, stopped the engines and let the ship slowly glide into position, slowly losing speed and momentum and timed it so as we were very near the stern of the tanker ahead. We were down to less than 1 knot so it took only a small piece of power to stop the ship. After a little toing and froing to get position exactly right, we were all fast as the sun rose and shone brightly.

Many still went on tour today however either on the safari excursion which takes you into the unspoilt scenery of Porto Grande or on the Charm and Culture of Mindelo. Interestingly over 90% of the islands inhabitants live in the capitol of Mindelo where the historic centre is characterised by old colonial houses and commemorative monuments. Of course the most popular tour today was the scenic Sao Vincent excursion where there were 6 coaches departing the pier. The beaches here are pristine with dramatic mountainous scenery which can be admired on the scenic tour, this tour also offers the chance to take photo’s along the way of the spectacular scenery.

Sail away time today was put back to 6.30pm which of course didn’t interfere with our schedule but enabled guests to have longer ashore as well as giving us an opportunity to take on more fresh water. We try not to take Fresh Water at some of the out the way places as the quality is not too great so although we can cleanse the water with our chlorination plant, we try not to bunker if we don’t need to. Sailing away, I was prepared for the pilot not to come onboard as he didn’t the last call either. However the wind was very fresh blowing us onto the berth. Normally I would have taken the ship away by sliding aft along the fenders, but on this berth, the corner of the berth is not fendered and there is a very sharp concrete corner which could do a lot of damage so I chose to use the tug to help. I asked the pilot to come onboard but he said he didn’t need to and said if I just relayed to him to relay to the tug what I wanted this would be OK!

He was determined not to come onboard, must have had his dinner on the table. Anyway in the end, despite the tug being made fast and despite me asking for the tug to pull us away from the pier, he did nothing. So I did it myself on the engines and just told the tug to go away which he did and we sailed away in the darkness away from Porto Grande and south into a fresh night of NE winds. This evening’s meal had a Halloween themed menu much to everyone’s amusement as they all read the creative meal descriptions.

With it being Halloween the cruise staff of course took the opportunity to parade the ship in fancy dress which was much loved by all the guests. A Halloween themed quiz was also held up in the drawing room for all those keen to par take in the fun and games.

The show this evening was Sally Jones paying a tribute to the legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf. The lounge was slightly more intimate this evening as the guests came onto the dance floor to sit in the chairs positioned close to the stage. Creating a French cabaret club atmosphere it was a show of Sally’s I’d not seen before, and one in which I very much enjoyed. Whilst the show was going on for all those wanting more of a party, the cruise staff and Perfect Mood Duo were up in the scarily decorated drawing room playing a mixture of Halloween classics and disco tunes. Martin Orbidan’s as always was tucked away in his little bar entertaining all those who much enjoy a little sing song which he is of course renowned for. A great day today as always had by all, now as tomorrow draws closer we approach another of the Cape Verde Islands but sadly our last before our 3 days at sea.

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.