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12th April, 2014


After a pleasant day in Southampton and a departure that took us through the Needles Channel in the fading light of the evening, we had a smooth and sunny crossing of Biscay. Our voyage is over three weeks, taking us into the Med as far as Croatia and Venice. We have many Britannia Club members with us, so many familiar faces were at the welcome cocktail party and, as might be expected, there was some smiling banter with those who know me well.


The wind around Cape Finisterre was a touch fresh to say the least and the swell, somewhat larger than forecast, was actually rolling past the ship. Fortunately it was all following and apart from the odd larger roll, we proceeded down the Iberian Peninsular at a slightly more sedately pace than normal, arriving off the entrance to the River Tagus shortly before ten in the morning of the third full day. This gave the folks the opportunity of seeing us pass the Tower of Belem, Henry the Navigators monument and the Statue of Christ in daylight. The pilot had boarded by the time we passed under the bridge, a relaxed chap I had met before on several occasions.

Those that wanted to maximise their time ashore must have skipped lunch in order to catch the first shuttle bus, the remainder who were on tour started to file off just before one. I had an inkling that some of the local guides may have their commentary affected in the same way as those lecturers on the after lunch slot. It’s funny how sometimes one cannot stop the darkness descending when comfortably seated after an ample meal.

It was a very pleasant first port of call, overcast at first, but the sun came out within the hour and our tourists all came back with more of a glow than when they left.

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