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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

13th June, 2017

Killybegs in County Donegal is a new town for me and rather a narrow harbour to get into. I must have been in a very good mood that morning as I let the Staff Captain “drive” the ship again. It was quite a windy morning but again the wind was close to the line of the dock.

With the pilot on board at 0800 and the Master/Pilot exchange completed soon thereafter we proceeded into the harbour with a fair speed to reduce the amount of drift. This was the first time Tom had manouvered the ship in “real” wind so it was a good challenge for him, but he got us safely alongside with no Tugs.

Killybegs is a lovely little town and the largest fishing port in the country. It offers a wealth of natural beauty from rolling green landscapes to rugged coastal delights. This quiet County Donegal town was once known for the manufacture of carpets. It is popular in summer with swimmers and water sports enthusiasts – nearby Finta Beach is one of the finest in Ireland. In the summer there is a street festival celebrating the fish catches and incorporating the traditional “Blessing of the Boats”.

There were four shore excursions today, A Stroll Through Donegal Town, Belleek Pottery & Donegal Town, Wild Donegal and Glencolmcille and Donegal Bay by Waterbus – as the Irish might say “a lot of tours to Donegal!!” Mind you they tell me it is a delightful place. Our guests went off clutching their complimentary bottle of water - another nice touch from Saga, unlike those cruise lines who charge you for everything.

I decided to head out on the bike again and this time Rico and I went for a swift pace covering 18.5 km in 51 minutes. I love hills (as long they go downhill!!) and we encountered a few on that ride. Well that was a great workout and meant I was in “fine fettle” for departure.

With everyone on board the young Tom Schoefield, our Staff Captain, drove out again – see what happens when I have all this exercise and feel in a great mood!!

It was quite a windy departure but Tom held onto our fwd mooring lines and let the stern swing out on the wind. With the fwd lines then let go we eased the whole ship away from the pier and swung the stern to stb’d down on the wind and bow to port into the wind. A well-executed manoeuvre by Tom and 20 mins later we were on our way out of the inner harbour and en route for Glengarrif.

During the sea day we had planned a lovely cruise-by the Aran Islands at the mouth of Galway Bay, where we spotted the wreck of the steam trawler Plassey as seen on the TV show Father Ted. We then swung by the Cliffs of Moher at approx. 1M off which were incredibly dramatic – this area attracts over a million visitors every year and covers the area from O’Brian’s Tower to Hag’s head.

This is another great thing about Saga Cruises, we do love to include some Coastal Cruising when time and conditions allow!!

See you in Glengarrif.

Captain Julian Burgess

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.