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7th November, 2017


It was a beautiful calm morning as we made our approach to Motril, located in the Andalusian region of Spain on the Costa Tropical. I was last here one year ago when I joined the ship for my first command of 4 days whilst Captain Rentell “disappeared” to London to receive his Merchant Navy Medal. It was one of Saga’s mystery cruises where Guests join but do not know where they are going!!! Anyway this morning there was no mystery, our guests knew exactly where they were.

With the pilot on board at 0715 I guided the ship slowly in to port, as the depths on the chart indicated we had to keep close to the line of the breakwater although the Pilot confirmed the main part of the harbour had been dredged to 14.5 metres. This was comforting and gave us “more room” to play with. We docked head in and when we were approx 75 meters from position the pilot blurted out “stop the ship”. Well after a good kick astern on both engines and bringing the ship to an almost instant stop, I asked the pilot why we needed to stop so quickly and we were heading into shallow water unexpectedly. No it was just the pilot thinking we could not stop within the next 75 metres!!! Pilots - sometimes they're bad for your health!!

With us all fast by 0745 and clearance at 0800 we were keen to get our full day tour away – The Alhambra & Flamenco excursion. At 0830 and 0845 our other two tours to “Frigiliana” and “Pionono Show Cooking & Tasting” were dispatched. There was the usual Saga complimentary shuttle bus to the town centre.

We had our weekly emergency drills at 1030 and part of the drill was to fill a lifeboat to capacity with 110 crew members. After drills and at 1145 The Harbour Master and few of his team arrived on board for a Plaque exchange. It would appear that this exchange of courtesies did not happen during the mystery call last November. Having welcomed them on board we had an interesting conversation in broken Spanish and English before the official exchange of Plaques. I must say the Plaque presented was very nice and will definitely join our existing collection.

Having excused myself after the exchange I headed down to get changed as I was meeting the Doctor and one of the 2nd Officers. It was such a beautiful day we had decided to walk into town rather than take the shuttle bus. 40 minutes later we were sat at the Harbour Master’s recommended restaurant having some delightful seafood. An amuse bouche of fresh anchovies was followed by a gorgeous Seafood soup and only surpassed by the amazing grilled Pulpo (octopus).

Just before sailing we arranged for a local show of Spanish Guitar and Flamenco dancing to entertain our guests. “Brisa Flamenca” were a huge hit and very well received by all. As soon as they disembarked we set sail for Gibraltar.

Captain Julian Burgess

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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.