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16th January, 2015

Santa Cruz, Tenerife

We approached the Pilot station at 0700, and we had to slow things down a little as there was quite a bit of traffic. Several cruise ships had arrived at the same time and, similar to Air Traffic Control, we all had an order in which we were to berth. We were turn 3 so at about 0715 the pilot boarded us and we started making our approach slowly to the berth, slowly following one of these large cruise ships with a smiley face gawping at us as she reversed into her berth!!

Our berth was a bit of a tight squeeze as it was between two cruise ships. So like parking your car in a tight space you take it slow. Now I don’t have parking sensors on this ship, but I do have an eagle eyed safety officer down aft who tells me when my stern is clear of the other ship and that’s when I swing the stern into the space. A lot of trust in his call I must admit. However although it looks tight I do relish the challenge of these manoeuvres. It’s very satisfying when you can “park” 37000 Tonnes of steel in a tight parking space. I couldn’t do this with my car at the supermarket!! Anyway, we were all docked at 0800.

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It is a beautiful and scenic island which is dominated by Mount Teide.

It was a busy day for passengers today. There were five organised tours for our passengers to choose from including ‘Mount Teide’, and ‘Puerto de la Cruz’ which took passengers to a charming resort in the north of the island. The ‘Northern Delights’ tour began with a drive along Maritime Avenue to the charming fishing village of San Andrés, one of the island's oldest settlements, dating from 1497. The village is renowned for its stunning golden beach, Las Teresitas, which was made partly from 216,000 tonnes of sand imported from the former Spanish Sahara. The tour also travelled through the living museum of Mercedes Forest to Pico del Ingles, Mirador del Carmen and Cantera. The ‘Gardens of the Valley’ tour took our guests to visit Jardin Botanico which was founded by the royal decree of Charles III of Spain in 1788, and they next visited Risco Bello Water Garden with its lakes and waterfall and Japanese bridge. Their final stop was at Orchid Gardens of Sitio Litre, which has had many distinguished visitors including the famous crime writer Agatha Christie. This tranquil garden is bursting with colour and has the largest collection of orchids in the Canary Islands.

We remained alongside until 11pm this evening. This allowed our Shore Excursions Team to organise an evening tour, ‘Sunset & Stars on Teide’, which took our passengers to one of the National Park’s lookout points to watch the sunset, with a glass of champagne, and afterwards they were served dinner made with typical ingredients from the islands.

Whenever we are in port later into the evening, we try to organise local entertainment on board to give passengers a flavour of the local traditions. This evening a local group of performers called ‘Atteneri’ were welcomed on board and gave a show of traditional song & dance. After this there was a variety of entertainment for passengers to choose from; as we were alongside late into the evening a deck party had been organised and the Sapphire Orchestra and Explosive Singers got everyone into the party spirit. Upstairs in the Drawing the Nicky Mac Jazz musicians performed an intimate set including some jazz favourites, which really displayed their passion and talent for this genre.

We will now sail overnight to our next port of call, Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, where we are due to arrive tomorrow at 8am.

Captain Alistair Mclundie

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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