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13th January, 2018

La Palma

Having sailed off into a beautiful afternoon from Funchal we had a smooth run down to La Palma with plenty of stargazing from the ship. We turned off our fwd upper deck lights to improve the view which really helped. It was quite interesting the early morning before when I was walking round the top deck before sunrise to suddenly see a singular dark shape pop up in front of me – I don’t know who was more surprised!!

Back to the navigational side of things - we made our approach to La Palma from the north and soon discovered that a little cruise ship called the Ocean Majesty was on our previously assigned berth. Despite a few exchanges with the pilots it became clear she wasn't going to move!! Anyway after returning the blood pressure back to normal we slowed down to embark our pilot at 0700. We passed the breakwater approx 150 meters off before swinging and then backing up to our berth. For a change the wind was rather light which made for a “calm” arrival as we worked the ship in towards the dock. We were all fast alongside by 0730 and then it was straight down to see the Ship's Agent to “discuss” the change to our berth. He was very apologetic and said that to compensate the port had laid on a free shuttle bus - not normally provided in La Palma.

La Palma is also known as ‘La Isla Bonita’, the Beautiful Island, and is typified by lush forests of pine, laurel and fern which contrast with the rugged splendour of the gigantic Taburinete crater. The island is dotted with attractive villages, which are a delight to discover, and the capital Santa Cruz is perched on the edge of the volcanic crater of La Calderata. The shore excursions on offer today included Sabro Wine, Salt Flats & Volcanoes; La Hacienda & Silk Museum, Taburiente, and Stargazing at Night.

With a sailing time of 2230 Jo Boase, our Cruise Director, arranged for a local folk dance and singing group to entertain our guests. There was about 25 of them, all dressed in historical costumes and many playing traditional instruments. The Britannia Lounge was packed. At 2220 the group filed off down the gangway and twenty minutes later we slipped our lines and headed back out to sea. Once the pilot was away we set course for Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

Captain Julian Burgess

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