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7th April, 2018


It seems a long while ago since we left Southampton last Tuesday afternoon, the 3rd…

The Wednesday going across the Biscay was rather lumpy, not that that was a concern for Saga Sapphire, built like a tank! I kept the speed up for two reasons: one to ensure we had good water flow over the rudder, bilge keels and stabilisers and two, to get ahead of the weather that was tracking NE’ly.

The seas eased as we moved onto the Portuguese coast, heading south, on the Thursday and calmed down completely yesterday.

Running an easterly course early this morning we raised Cadiz harbour lights before 0600. There was a bit of a scramble to understand the pilotage situation, with three cruise ships arriving at the same time and, as usual, Saga Sapphire did the organising. Gaining the agreement of the Captains on the other vessels, we headed in to the port in an orderly fashion and without hindrance to any of the ship operations.

It’s a nice little manoeuvre to get into Cadiz. It requires swinging the ship inside the harbour and backing down onto the berth. Nothing fancy, just slow and considered. The gangway was rigged in good time, in fact 15 minutes ahead of our scheduled arrival time of 0800.

On the weather front, I had expected showers most of the day, which I broadcast to the Guest in my morning speech. Sometimes it’s great to be wrong! Save for a tropical ‘10 minute’ storm early afternoon, it was a great day and the feedback from our returning guests was really fab.

Departure was set for 1800, so with all guests on-board in good time we made our preparations for sailing.

Staff Captain Tom, having taken over from Franko in Southampton, was driving out tonight. Whilst a straight forward manoeuvre, deft control was required to ensure we didn’t encroach too close to the tower-block of a cruise ship behind us. The pilot was off in a jiffy and we proceeded out through the shallows off Cadiz entrance.

Our initial course tonight is southerly to make for the western end of the Gibraltar Straits traffic separation scheme, referred to as a TSS. I am on duty for the Gib Straits tonight, so I am about to have a two hour ‘power-nap’.

Captain Stuart Horne

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.