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St Pierre et Miquelon

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

25th September, 2017

It was a beautiful bright morning as we made our way towards the pilot station for our maiden call at St Pierre et Miquelon. This is a little piece of France that is self-governing and sitting on Canada’s doorstep. With the pilot on board at 0800 we had 2 miles to our berth, however we kept the “con” of the ship and carried out the arrival manoeuver. With us safely alongside and the gangway rigged for 0845 we awaited the Immigration Official, only to hear he'd had to go to airport to “clear” an incoming flight!!! Fortunately he was back to us by 0920 and cleared the ship.

We were moored at St Pierre which is amongst North America’s oldest European settlements . Basque fishermen first landed here, and between the 17th & early 19th century the Islands changed hands several times between the French and the British, until French sovereignty was finally agreed in 1816. The Islands enjoyed a boom in the 1920’s when they became bases for alcohol smuggling during the US Prohibition era. One of the tours took you past Hotel Robert, which was “home from home” for Al Capone!!

There were 2 different shore excursions running morning and afternoon, and a shuttle bus into the town centre, however with such great weather many guests decided to walk the 2km into town – a very pleasant stroll along the waterfront. I managed to squeeze an hour on my bike and saw most of the Island in that time. All in all an enjoyable maiden call.

With everyone back on board by 1830 we departed shortly thereafter and Staff Captain Tom completed an excellent manoeuver. We had a delightful sail out between St Pierre and Miquelon Islands, before heading into open water and on towards Corner Brook.

Captain Julian Burgess

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