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24th August, 2018


Buenas Dias,

Captain Julian has returned to the lovely lady Saga Sapphire. It’s been a terrific 2 months leave which included a special visit to the Meyer Werft Shipyard for the Spirit of Discovery keel laying ceremony, a 4 day trip on Saga Pearl II to spend time with Captain Sunderland in preparation for our new ship, oh and a 3.5 week holiday in our Motorhome.

On July 8th we headed through the Channel Tunnel with a very open itinerary to travel down the French Coast and head to NW Spain. Wow what a fabulous time we had with 2500 miles covered, celebrating Bastille Day in Bordeaux, climbing the largest sand dunes in Europe at “Dune of Pilat” near Pyla-sur-Mer and then heading to the Spanish Pyrenees for some white water rafting and canyoning. There were so many wonderful medieval towns in the Pyrenees. The food was fantastic and the wine pretty good too!! We even had a 3 night stop in a lovely hotel in Santona on the NW coast that Saga Travel regularly use. Even our Ferry trip back from Bilbao was a great experience with some wonderful food, although nothing matches the food on Saga Sapphire!!

Anyway back to reality and it was a sunny sailaway from Dover on Wednesday evening, as we headed North on our 5 day “Edinburgh Fringe at Sea” cruise. On Thursday we arrived at the pilot station at 1200 and then headed into the Port of Tyne past Tynemouth and North/South Shields for the 5 mile river transit to our berth. This was my first call in Newcastle so was pleased to complete a successful docking with my NCD intact! We had a 24 hour call so everyone had the chance to explore Newcastle and the surrounding areas and one tour to Hadrian’s Wall. I took off on my bike on the 2nd day and cycled to the centre of Newcastle and back – a total of 30km. A few photos are attached.

The previous evening I was asked to take part in a Magician’s Show with the charismatic, funny and theatrical Romany – an award winning lady who was named Magic Circle Stage Magician of the year to name just one of her awards. My job was to “tie” her up, wear a pink stage jacket and then spend time with her in the “tunnel of love” – before your imagination wanders it was a circular curtain where she somehow removed my jacket and ended up with this inside all the knots I’d tied – she was amazing and so much fun.

With a successful call we left our berth – Staff Captain Tom executed the manouver and with the guidance of our pilot took us back out to sea for our run up to Leith.

Captain Julian Burgess

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