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Road Town, Tortola

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

24th December, 2015

I flew my ‘Cornish Ensign’ while alongside the new pier in Road Town, only because a fellow Cornishman happens to be the senior pilot, or at least was, as we only saw his once trainee. Of all the islands, Tortola is probably the most laid back, almost a backwater of Caribbean cruising. Having said that, the new pier has opened the way for the largest of cruise vessels so I guess the powers that be have had to up their game.

We received an unscheduled visit from Port State Control who carried out an inspection, and complimented our Chief on looking after our technical spaces so well. The senior surveyor was himself a very experienced Chief Engineer who had left the sea and gone down the legislation route to become a surveyor with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Three of us took a taxi with a lovely chap called Chris who drove us over the steep hills to the other side of the island, his ageing and slightly ‘tired’ looking import noticeably sounding mechanically ‘rough’ as the automatic transmission seemed to thump its way between the gears. He told us that he was over 70 years old and had lived in New York during his working life …… with his wife and, eventually, 18 children. When his mother had died he returned to the island and lived in her house, leaving his wife behind. He appeared to be very relaxed, telling me that his true relaxation was watching whatever was on the TV. Even so, in the hope of catching a fare, he was at the dock every time there was a cruise ship alongside. I’m just not sure, however, how long that car is going to keep running.

The view from the road looking down into Road Town was definitely worth the photo stop, and from up high it is quite evident there has been much development in the last few years. We stopped for a few hours at a beach where there were less than half a dozen tourists. By the time we left I felt almost as relaxed as Chris.

We sailed on time and head north-west, following the trade winds, our last Caribbean port behind us.

Captain Philip Rentell

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.

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