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Portland

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

16th June, 2017

This “Magical Mystery” cruise continues as we had to change the call at Ilfracombe to Portland, Dorset. The forecast wind strength, direction and wave height meant Ilfracombe would not have been a safe option for tendering.

After discussion with our Head Office we agreed to call at Portland where we could berth alongside. To further enhance the call we arrived at 1800 on Friday 16th and stayed overnight, sailing the following day at 1800. The timing for arrival was perfect as many guests were on deck to watch Staff Captain dock the ship – he got a round of applause from those watching!!!

30 mins after arrival we had our Farewell Party which of course was very popular and I gave another speech. For today’s party we started with a 3 minute video snapshot of the cruise which was very well received. It was a great party with plenty of complimentary drinks and we had a bit of fun with “my stories”. I then hosted my table with 8 guests which was most enjoyable.

Dawn the following morning saw a beautiful sunrise over Portland and it’s rather a nice feeling to wake up in port and know we have the whole day alongside.

The Isle of Portland is a limestone tied island 4 miles long x 1.7 miles wide, and 5 miles south of the resort of Weymouth. It is a central part of the Jurassic Coast, a World heritage Site on the Dorset and east Devon coast, important for its geology and landforms. Portland Stone, famous for its use in British and World architecture including St Paul’s Cathedral and the United Nations Headquarters, continues to be quarried.

There were 2 shore excursions today, arranged at very short notice!! There was the Abbotsbury Swannery, and Sherborne Castle.

At 1300 I headed off with 5 others to cycle round the Isle of Portland, and we went straight into a very tough hill of about a mile. At the top we found some Olympic rings from the 2012 Games as they held all the sailing events in Weymouth/Portland.

After reaching the top of the hill and taking a few snaps, we headed to Portland Bill at the southern tip of the Island. That was a great leg as it was literally all downhill. A few more photos and we decided to cycle along the footpath at the cliff edge – wow what views and an amazing off road experience which I just loved. There were a few sections of the footpath that were closed so we had to climb over the next ridge with our bike on our shoulders.

We finally completed our “cliff edge” ride and then headed at high speed back down to Portland and into Weymouth along a dedicated cycle path. Arriving in Weymouth at 1500 I thought we deserved an ice cream as we were going to have covered 32km today. We got back to the ship at 1600 with sailing set at 1745.

Dan, our Safety Officer, drove out which he thoroughly enjoyed and executed well with only minimal input from me. After we cleared the berth Dan swung the ship through 180’ before building up speed to pass through the breakwater. With the pilot away at 1815 we then set course to follow the inside route back to our homeport in Dover.

This is my last Blog of this cruise and they will start again on Tuesday 20th June when we arrive in Kirkwall, Orkney Islands which is the first port on “The Land of Ice and Fire” cruise to Iceland.

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.

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