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28th December, 2014

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

We approached the pilot station to Santa Cruz in the darkness. But as we started making our approach into the Harbour, the sun rose to highlight the start of another beautiful day. Tenerife for me is always filled with memories as I always remember when I worked as a young Officer on very large Bulk Carriers, running from South America, when we used to stop at Santa Cruz northbound to take on fuel and it was always a welcome run ashore after so many days at sea.

I had asked for a tug boat as it was quite a fresh breeze. However, the tug did not turn up so I berthed the ship without, which was a bit tricky, but again for those who know me, I do like a challenge. We were all berthed at 8.00am.

Santa Cruz, is one of the two largest metropolitan areas in the Canaries with 423,198 inhabitants, and second only to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with whom it shares the status of Capital City. Its harbour is one of Spain’s busiest and is important for its commercial and passenger traffic, as well as for being one of the major ports on the cruise ship route from Europe to the Caribbean. The area was known to the Guanches, the first inhabitants of the island, as Añazo. The rise of this former fisherman’s village happened after a volcano destroyed the port of Garachico in the 18th century, when Santa Cruz then became the major port of the island. Due to the strategic location of Tenerife on the route between the Mediterranean and the Americas, it was attacked a number of times by the British and the Dutch. In particular, Santa Cruz Bay was the scene of two notable naval engagements involving two of the most famous British admirals. In 1656, Admiral Robert Blake totally destroyed a Spanish silver fleet of sixteen ships for the loss of only one of his own. Fifty years later the British, under John Genings, were defeated when they attacked the island on 6th November 1706 during the War of the Spanish Succession.

Four exciting guided tours were offered by our Shore Excursion Team of Jacquie and Laura, starting with ‘Mercedes and La Laguna’ which visited a village renowned for its stunning golden beach; then the ‘Mount Teide’ which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; ‘Garden Valley’ which was a visit to a number of beautiful gardens including the Jardin Botanica founded by a royal decree of Charles III of Spain; then finally ‘Puerto de la Cruz On Your Own’ which took our guests to the northern part of the island which they could explore at their own pace.

Our evening entertainment was from our guest entertainers Andrea, Natasha and Boyan collectively known as ‘The Trinity Trio’, who played Viennese favourite tunes. This was followed by a big party on the Verandah Deck featuring The Saga Orchestra and the Explosive Cast. Dancing and singing all through the night as we sailed away.

Captain Alistair McLundie

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