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Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

17th January, 2015

We approached Las Palmas on a rather blustery morning and as there were several cruise ships arriving berthing was going to be rather congested. We picked up our pilot inside the safety and shelter of the Breakwaters and headed in. The wind was blowing extremely strong so I had to order a tug to help berth the ship across the weather. As we approached our Berth, it was evident that the wind was not going to let up, and in fact it increased in strength so I had to call for a second tug. It took all our engines and Bowthruster and the help of the tugs to berth us alongside between two rather large cruise ships. However they were a great benefit as they became my very own wind breaks!! We were all fast alongside just before 0800.

Las Palmas is a cosmopolitan city. It has three beaches (Las Canteras, Las Alcaravaneras and San Cristobal) and a big sea-port (Puerto de la Luz harbour). The harbour benefited greatly from the closure of the Suez Canal during the Arab-Israeli wars as ships halted there on their way round Africa. Because of Las Palmas’ geographical position and its importance as a tourist destination, many foreign workers have migrated and settled in the city. Merchants and traders from Africa, China, Russia and the Middle East mingle with each other in the streets of the city’s business centres. The Korean and Indian communities are the largest, although the majority have been acquiring Spanish citizenship over the years.

The first of our excursions to head off this morning was ‘Puerto Mogan On Your Own’ which enabled our guests to explore the smallest and southernmost resort of the Gran Canria at their leisure. The next tour was the popular “Essence of Gran Canaria”, to discover the volcanic origin of the Canary Islands. This afternoon some of our guests went on a ‘Sand Dune Camel Safari’ which took them to a ranch in Maspalomas to ride a camel across the dunes and enjoy the splendid views from a completely different perspective.

Our departure was a little easier than our arrival, but I still required one tug as once again the wind was blowing so much I would not have been able to lift the stern into the wind. However with a good team effort and a good pilot we “reversed” out of the berth and set sail for Arrecife, our next port of call.

Opening tonight’s show was a member of the Roasmunde String Quartet, Nina Kopparhead, who sang arias from Madame Butterfly, accompanied by Musical Director Andrew Crookall. Our main show was a one night only performance from Benjamin and Adam, also known as “The Sounds of Simon”, which was a tribute to Simon & Garfunkel. Our guests could then choose to either listen and dance to the music of the SAGA Orchestra or join Martin Orbidans in Cooper’s.

Captain Alistair Mclundie

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.