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5th January, 2015


We had made good time travelling up from Casablanca and with a favourable current we actually arrived at the pilot station 1 hour earlier. I thought our passengers would appreciate an extra hour in Gibraltar so we rearranged everything for an earlier arrival. We were all fast alongside just before 1100.

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula and Europe at the entrance of the Mediterranean. The Territory covers just over 21/2 square miles and shares a land border with Spain to the north. Gibraltar has historically been an important base for the British Armed Forces and is the site of a Royal Navy Base. The sovereignty of Gibraltar has been a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations. Gibraltar was ceded by Spain to the Crow of Great Britain in perpetuity, under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, though Spain asserts a claim to the territory and seeks its return. In referendum held in 2002, Gibraltarians rejected by an overwhelming majority (99%) a proposal of shared sovereignty on which Spain and Britain were said to have reached “broad agreement”. The British Government has committed itself to respecting the ‘Gibraltarians’ wishes.

All the guided tours started just after lunch, and the first one was Fortress Gibraltar, an opportunity to learn about Gibraltar’s fascinating and unique wartime history; ‘The Rock’ followed, which included a visit to the unique runway, built using stones dug from the Rock itself by the British Army during the World Wars; the last tour was the most popular one, a scenic drive to Europa Point and then English Tea.

I took the opportunity to do some retail therapy and met up with one of the Gibraltar pilots, who used to be Staff Captain on Saga Ruby and is a good friend of mine. So we “did” lunch as they say and it was good to catch up before he drove me back to the ship.

Our Christmas Cruise Magic Moment was a concert from the Gibraltar National Choir at the Cathedral Cave, part of St. Michael’s Cave, where our guests could listen while gazing upon the stalactites and stalagmites sculptured down the centuries by nature herself.

Our Sapphire entertainment this evening started with the Big Quiz headed by Julie, Joey and Andy, followed by Resty’s cabaret and then a special evening entertainment from the SAGA Orchestra performing popular Jazz and Swing music with Steve Galler as their special guest.

Captain Alistair Mclundie

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