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2nd June, 2017


Last night we had a very special Diamond Dinner for our 20 or so Britannia Club Guests who have 1000+ nights with Saga Cruises. These special Guests are entitled to a private dining experience hosted by the Captain or one of his Senior Officers. Just one of the many benefits we offer our Britannia Club members. The milestone seems to be “Gold” when you get free laundry, which everyone loves!!

Anyway let’s go on with this blog – today we arrived in Gibraltar and it was a beautiful morning yet again. I'm getting the nickname “Captain Sunshine!!”. It started with our 3 week Christmas & New Year cruise when we had 17 days of continuous sunshine in the Mediterranean.

I was in a great mood again today, so let the Staff Captain carry out the arrival manoeuvre. After picking up the pilot at 0700 we weaved our way through the anchored ships to approach our berth. Tom, our “Staffy” did a great job, especially as it was his first arrival docking. With us all fast at 0800 our Guests were starting to meander ashore around 0830.

During the late morning Tom, our Staffy, decided to cycle up to the “top of the rock” on his very lightweight and extremely impressive road bike. He got back early afternoon and told me how great the views were. I’d always wanted to run to the top of the rock but never quite got round to it, and having ruptured my Achilles tendon 2 years ago, my long distance running days are over. I knew I wanted to go out on my bike so around 1500 hrs I decided to head off on my mountain bike and attempt the “rock”. I thought if Staffy has done it I can’t let my Deputy beat me, even if he is 20 years younger.

Well it certainly was a challenging ride as I had picked the hottest part of the day. As I walked the last 100 yards to St. Michaels Cave I thought I’d made it, so I stopped, took a photograph, and tried to lower my heart rate. Shortly afterwards another cyclist went past me and then disappeared. When I went looking for him I discovered the road carried on into the ether – Aaaagghhh!!!

With total determination to complete the challenge I re-saddled and headed upwards and onwards, only to very soon realise that I was only about half-way!! Well I finally made it to O’Hara’s Battery at 1383 feet. Please see the photos. To be honest I was rather proud of myself.

After 10 minutes at the top I then had approx. 15 minutes to get back down as we were expecting the Gibraltar Sea Scout Pipe Band on the back deck. My brakes were overheating by the time I got back down to sea level and I arrived just in time to shower, change and then witness this great band of pipers. A fantastic set and perfect for our last port of call before heading home to Dover.

At 1730 we slipped our moorings and our 2nd Officer Fiona took the control and carried out a very successful departure – I was coaching which is a role I love to do. With us all clear of our berth we headed south in Gibraltar Bay and the west through the straits. Later that evening I had the pleasure of dining with Peter and Sylvia Sissons – what wonderful company and of course some superb food in our Asian Fusion restaurant East to West. The great thing is that there is no additional charge with Saga.

Captain Julian Burgess

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

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