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19th September, 2017

Ponta Delgada

After an excellent 2 month leave I re-joined Saga Sapphire on 14th September. It was a great summer with 4 weeks in Europe, covering some 3,000 miles in our Motorhome with my wife and 2 daughters. Our main focus was to explore more of the Italian countryside as I’ve only really seen the coastal areas. Not unusual for a Sea Captain I guess!

We loved Italy and got as far south as Umbria visiting so many beautiful towns and villages. We were advised to keep in the central “corridor” as Italy goes on holiday in August and everyone heads for the coast!! Some of my favourite stops included Mantova, Bologna, Gubbio, Sienna, Lucca and of course Milano. On our return to the UK I had 3.5 weeks for some local R&R with a few rounds of golf and further work on maintaining our 500 year old cottage – mind you I confess it was mainly others doing the work for us!!

On the 14th September in Southampton we welcomed “potential” guests to experience an overnight on board Saga Sapphire. It was a great success and we had a significant number of bookings during their brief stay.

The following day we set sail from Southampton towards the Azores with a pretty full ship and 431 crew on board to look after everyone. This was the start of a 31 night “Canada in the Fall” cruise, with over 500 Britannia Club members on board.

We had a very calm Bay of Biscay crossing, and in fact had slight seas for the whole 3.5 days to Ponta Delgada. With our pilot on board at 0730 on 19th September we entered the harbour and completed a 180’ pirouette before “backing” down to the berth. This gave me chance to get my hand in again after the 2 months. It was great to get ”behind the wheel” again and I soon started to appreciate what I had missed.

It turned out to be a fabulous day with 24’C and loads of sunshine. After our emergency drills I headed out for an hour’s pedal on my bike with my cycle buddy Rico. A great ride along the coast but I wanted to get back as my Staff Captain Tom was eagerly waiting to go for a serious ride himself.

There were 5 tours in Ponta Delgada and it is such a superb Island to explore. From the Fire Lake and Ribeira Grange to a Jeep Tour there was something on offer for everyone.

With everyone on board we headed out of the harbour and set sail for St Johns, Newfoundland with 1345 miles to cover.

See you in Canada!!

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.