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8th October, 2013

Sibenik, Croatia

Saga Sapphire

On our sail from Venice to Sibenik, the wind had increased to about a force 7 overnight, and as I heard the wind howling past my cabin, I didn’t hold out much hope for our call to Sibenik. The reason being that the port has a very narrow entrance channel which is at times just wider than the ship and requires the right conditions to negotiate, and these strong winds were certainly not in the equation!!

By morning the wind had eased so we embarked our pilot at 8am and straight away had to swerve around a very small arrogant fisherman who was not going to give way. He just sat there and watched as our towering bow edged past. With me shaking my head in amazement at the action and the Croatian pilot shouting “cretin” I think the guy understood what he had done!

Anyway we sailed into the narrows and with the pilot boat following giving distances off the stern as we swung past the rocks, and with my bridge team all tasked with the job of feeding me continuous information about the ships position, drift, distances etc., we were able to safely negotiate the narrows to our anchorage.

Sibenik, Croatia

Sibenik is distinguished by its landscape beauty and rich cultural historical monuments. The organised tours today were Krka National Park, Primosten and a walk through Sibenik. Those on the Primosten tour enjoyed a drive to this medieval town which is surrounded by seven little islands, walked then through the narrow streets giving them a chance to admire the old stone houses and churches. Our National Park group were very eager today to take a dip in the pools of water underneath the waterfalls, however today wasn’t the best of weathers. With then a short drive to Skradinski Buk our guests were able to admire one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Europe which is really a sight to be seen. With the centre of the old town next to the harbour, it was of course perfect for our walking tour which could obviously start straight from the pier. Exploring this beautiful town on foot, a town which experienced its heyday in the 15th century is really the thing to do. With its beautiful architecture and quaint marble alleyways through old stoned buildings this was really a port enjoyed by all.

It came time to sail and the weather had increased with very squally weather up to 30 knots so I had my doubts about getting out in this port until the wind abated. When the pilot boarded we discussed the departure and he was happy to go, but we needed a run at the entrance to get up to speed. So once the anchor was aweigh, I spun the ship north, moved about 0.5 miles further up the bay, turned 180 degrees and put the throttles down. All arrangements had been put in place to monitor the whole operation, again with officers all over the key vantage points and the bridge team relaying information about courses, drift etc., between us all, the departure was seamless. Quite amusingly however as we powered through this narrow channel, the yachts had to keep out of our way so the pilot was blowing the whistle and at one point one of the yachts took a little too much action and ended up collided with a tree!!

Once clear, we set course for Corfu in a bright sunny day, but very strong head winds.

With an early sail, there was once again plenty to do on board. An afternoon tea dance meant our keen dancers could take to the floor with our gentlemen dance hosts, dance couple and cruise team on hand meant it was the perfect opportunity for those guests wishing to be whisked across the dance floor. An evening of horsing around at Ascot with the cruise team was upstairs at 8.45pm with any money raised at the end of the evening being donated to the Saga Charitable Trust. A regular entertainer who it’s always a pleasure to welcome back is Classical Concert Pianist You-Chiung Lin and here performing her second concert this cruise titled ‘A Night at the Movies’. Entertainment followed all the way through this evening till the late hours with Rob McVeigh & Duncan McManus performing up in the drawing room with their Boys Night Out cabaret. Clocks this evening go forward one hour, so a morning at sea comes as a relief to 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.