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1st August, 2018


Wow, more blue skies, this is the best cruise weather I have experienced in a very long time - and was probably the hottest day of the cruise. An inaugural call, doing quite a lot these this year which is great stuff. I have never been to Castellon before, nor had any of my bridge team, some thinking to do as it was a tight bit of water to get this lovely lady in.

The turn into the berth was very tight and with a very short run, so slow slow slow approach this morning. The Chief Officer, Emmeline, was scheduled to drive ‘in’ this morning, so yesterday we had some in-depth discussions about options as there is little in the way of ‘get-outs’ if the plan does not materialise! It was a precise manoeuvre in which the ‘heavy backend’ was not so heavy, she came in very nice having to get the ship alongside from a 100 degree turn into a slot with 50 meters each end clear. Nice work Emmeline in a quite challenging, first time, manoeuvre.

Cleary the local authorities were out to impress. We were the first cruise ship to call here this year. The quayside was laid with blue carpet and pavilions set up of local produce and artefacts. The ‘formal’, or, as it turned out to be a more ‘relaxed’ plaque exchange took place up in the Drawing Room at 10.00. From the President of the Port, to leading figures of commerce descended upon the ship. We spent an hour discussing a whole manner of topics, a very nice event indeed as the photographs demonstrate.

The day came to a close quickly and was very pleased to hear from the Guests that Castellon, itself, was a lovely town – I may have to take my bike across Europe to Castellon, do a bit of a Spanish motorcycle tour, perhaps in September.

Becky, my 2nd Officer, was driving out tonight - an equally challenging manoeuvre as the arrival parking. A detailed plan was considered, and we followed it to the letter. First, walking the ship further forward to give more room to lift the stern. Then pressing the bow onto the quay with the bow thruster, levering out the stern. Once we could see clear water between the stern and the breakwater, we turned the engines, very slowly, astern. Moving out, the bow thruster was then used to steer the ship into the approach channel – with the bow clear of the breakwater, the pointed end was pushed around to the right to enable a clean departure. Nice manoeuvre Becky.

Once clear at 1900, SE’ly course were set to passage down toward Cabo de Gata, SE Spain, before turning more westerly towards the Gibraltar Straits, a day at sea before Gibraltar, our next port.

Captain Stuart Horne

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