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24th July, 2018


Yesterday was a fabulous day at sea, amazing activities on-board and the transit of the Gibraltar Straits; through which we experienced a fierce, come from nowhere, levanter wind. It’s a local phenomenon, that actually, as I mention it, also occurs between Corsica and Sardinia through the Straits of Bonifacio. Where you have two opposing land masses at heated temperatures, a narrow cooler seaway and funnel effect shaped coastlines, these winds, where it is dead calm on either side, whips up to 50 to 60 know winds in a matter of minutes, then ebbs away as quickly as they arose.

Moving on, then we had the Newcomers Cocktails out by the Beach club last night, great venue with a Classical Quartet playing pool-side. Rather hot though!

This morning we shaped up for the Cartagena Pilot at 1100; what a splendid time to be coasting off mainland Spain and approaching a port, beautiful blue skies, still airs with the decks caressed by a cool breeze created by the ships speed, how lovely.

Andy, Safety Officer was sailing in, quite a challenging manoeuvre requiring to drive straight ‘at’ the quayside, as if you are going to run into it, then push the bow around, just in the nick of time, to bring her alongside. It was necessary to use the elements to execute this arrival, allowing the stern to drop-in, I am quite sure the Guests watching were wondering what on earth was going on! A slow but well executed bit of ‘parking’. Attached photo shows Andy Safety Officer and Franko, Staff Captain at the final stages of mooring the ship in Cartagena. All done for 1230, the broad-range of Shore Ex offerings were eagerly taken up on what was to be a rather hot day.

The evening brought an increased cooling sea-breeze, which was welcome especially if you were on the open decks enjoying the vista. All tours were back promptly 15 minutes before the scheduled departure of 1900 and final sailing arrangements were put in hand. With the onshore breeze pinning the ship onto the quay I ordered a couple of tugs to lift the stern off the berth.

My recently joined 2nd Officer, Becky, had the honours tonight. So, with careful oversight, Becky lifted the ship off the berth and we exited the port, setting course Isla Formentera, which lies south off Ibiza, our destination. My cabin was roasting, so a walk-about the decks doing a bit of ‘meet and greet’ allowed me to cool down somewhat before returning to my cabin to cope with sleeping in mild sauna!

Ibiza tomorrow…

Captain Stuart Horne

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