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7th February, 2014

Kingstown, St Vincent.

After an overnight sail, MV Saga Sapphire docked in the port of Kingstown, St Vincent at 8:00am this morning. St Vincent is relatively underdeveloped compared to the rest of the Caribbean islands but it is blessed with unequivocal natural beauty with a particularly West Indian feel.

I have always enjoyed travelling to this particular island for personal reasons. As a young boy growing up, my mother would always tell us about her Great Grandfather who came to the Caribbean with his family to be the Head Gardener at the Botanical Gardens in St Vincent and always showed us this faded black and white Summer House in the Gardens. In 2002 I was able to bring my parents with me whilst in command of Saga Rose in 2002, to the island and they went ashore in search of their ancestry and information and my mother came back with a recent photograph of this summer house. It turned out also that the tour operator on the Island, his great Grandfather knew my Great great grandfather so a small world!!

So I always feel quite humbled that I step ashore where my ancestors have been years ago.

There were three Shore Excursions on offer today which were very well attended. Passengers were up early and read for another exciting day exploring this beautiful Caribbean island. The ‘Beautiful Bequia’ tour began with a catamaran cruise to the lush green island of Bequia. From here passengers could explore the broadwalk and visit the shops, restaurants, boutiques and pastel-painted homes. The island has a strong maritime identity as it is a former centre of shipbuilding and whaling. After their visit to Bequia, passengers sailed along to Princess Margaret Beach. Passengers, could go snorkelling, take a stroll or simply relax on the beach in the sunshine. The next tour was ‘Discover St Vincent’ which began with a scenic tour through Kingstown with its colonial and modern architecture. From there they visited the oldest Botanical Gardens in the Western hemisphere, founded in 1765. Next passengers travelled to Dorsetshire Hill with its panoramic view over the harbour and is also the site of historic battles fought by the Black Caribs. The final tour on offer today was ‘Reef Encounter’ which began with a scenic boat ride along the striking Leeward coastline. The island shores are surrounded by a black coral paradise, which plays host to a profusion of soft corals and an array of tropical fish. Passengers were able to go snorkelling or beachcombing and the therapeutic black sand allowed for fantastic visibility underwater.

I decided to have a bit of R&R this afternoon so my idea of pleasure, was getting the Polar Circle Speedboat we have on the after deck, the ones we used in Antarctica, into the water for a zoom around the bay. Also I went around to the other side of the Quayside where the staff were swimming and jumping off the pier which is always nice to see, staff getting a bit of rest as they work hard in their jobs.

We remained alongside in Kingstown until 11:00pm this evening. Our late sail allowed us to organise for some local performers to come on board for this evening’s entertainment. The Food and Beverage Department along with the Cruise Department had planned a BBQ and Deck Party outside on the Veranda Deck, however as luck would have it, we experienced some rain showers which meant that the party was moved inside. However the hard work by all the staff did not go unnoticed and many of our passengers told me that despite the wet weather they thoroughly enjoyed the evening and complimented the crew on their hard work which is always nice to hear. This did not dampen the party atmosphere and passengers enjoyed a special performance by a very talented local steel band ‘Rhythmix’. The dance floor was full all evening and our Assistant Cruise Director Resty led a conga line made up of 75 passengers. All in all a great night was had by all. It was particularly nice to see so many passengers entering into the Caribbean spirit in their tropical shirts and dresses.

Our sail away was somewhat difficult as with the rain came some windy squalls and we were pinned onto the berth by the wind. I tried numerous times to lift the ship off but didn’t manage it so made the tug fast and even with the tug pulling and me using the engines we only just managed to get the ship away with the wind blowing. Anyway off we went continuing our journey north.

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.