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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

25th June, 2017

It was another evening with the midnight sun and beautiful calm seas before our arrival into Isafjordur. I awoke again very early and a fabulous morning it was, as we made our way towards the pilot station Fiona, our 2nd Officer, kept the con and did an excellent job slowing down to embark the pilot, completing our pre-arrival tests and then driving the ship to our anchorage position.

With approx. 1 mile to go we walked back the stb’d anchor to just above the waterline, took the windlass out of gear and then held the anchor cable with the manual brake. Once we reached our “drop” position Fiona gave the order to “let go starboard anchor” and with the brake released the anchor and cable ran out to 2 shackles until it was on the sea bed. We finished with 4 shackles in the water – each shackle is 15 fathoms or 90 foot. Once we let go the anchor we lowered our 2 tenders into the water and rigged the pontoons. At 0750 we were ready to take our Guests ashore.

There were 4 shore excursions available today ranging from a kayaking trip, a walk in Iceland’s first botanical garden, to a coach trip along the fjords.

Formerly one of Iceland’s main trading ports and sheltered by mountains on three sides, Isafjordur remains the largest settlement in the Westfjords region and offers spectacular scenery, with rock formations that are up to 14 million years old. The Westfjords region is separated from the mainland by an isthmus 6 miles across.

This harsh environment is home to an array of wildlife including the arctic fox, seals, whales and huge colonies of seabirds. In the rustic part of town some of Iceland’s oldest and best preserved buildings can be found. These date back to the 18th century and the maritime division of the Westfjords Folk Museum is located in one of them.

I don’t normally go ashore when we anchor as I like lots of ropes made fast!! Today with it so calm, and in such a beautiful setting, I headed ashore at 1400 in the ship’s tender and fast-walked round the community for an hour.

Just before we sailed I headed down to the Britannia Lounge for afternoon tea, an event in itself. With a classical quartet playing and a very fine collection of sandwiches, cakes, scones and savouries it’s hard to resist. Today I did hold back, but took the opportunity to meet more of our Guests. As a people person I really enjoy meeting and talking with our Guests – so many have had incredible lives.

With everyone back on board by 1700 we started to “weigh” anchor, and retrieved the anchor cable into its dedicated locker. Charlotte, our new 4th Officer, took the con for departure and did a great job. After we cleared the anchorage area I decided to do some coastal cruising as it was such a glorious evening.

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.