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28th November, 2014

El Ferrol, Spain

We arrived at the beautiful entrance to El Ferrol, a relatively narrow fjord of almost two miles in length; it was just a pity that we were still in darkness due to the Spanish clocks being GMT plus 1 hour. In fact the first tours off to the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela left before the sun had risen. In fact when it did we didn’t see it for long as low cloud came scudding in, bringing with it a rather persistent drizzle.

For those of us engaged in crew emergency drill it didn’t matter so much, but it was not ideal for the Galicia Scenic Coastline tour. Even so, our berth was close to the town and a shuttle bus also ran to the centre, so there was ample opportunity for last minute shopping. The local tourist chap came down with his usual great smile and chatted away about all the initiatives the city is doing to encourage tourists, and that included guides, a bag pipe band on departure and a little ceremony as we passed the old castle on the way back out of the fjord. Four locals dressed up in 19th century army costume standing on the ramparts and firing blanks from a canon and ancient rifles. Well, I assume they were blanks; I didn’t see any paint go flying or hear reports of passengers ducking behind the bulwarks.

That evening, as we sailed in to the Biscay, we had our final cocktail party. It was a fine, but somewhat sad affair, after well over five weeks the cruise was coming to an end. It has been rather splendid, a great atmosphere with so many regular passengers, many of whom have become my friends over the years. Now we have a three week refit and dry docking in Rotterdam, back to earth with a crash, not literally of course!

Captain  Philip Rentell

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