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Portland

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

4th June, 2018

It was primarily a quiet day at sea for our Guests and for me apart from an appearance with Kevin Woodford and his “can’t cook, won’t cook”. The battle lines were drawn as Cruise Director Simon Heath and I went head to head and had to try and copy a dish that Kevin was creating live. We had to prepare a vegetable risotto and a “flambé” steak sauce. It was the 2nd time I had appeared with Kevin and this was even better than last time for entertainment value. There were lots of jokes and innuendos as Kevin guided us through – he was definitely “Captain” of the show. As we approached the end of the cooking we had to set light to our dish as we poured brandy into a very hot pan – my flames weren’t too far off the sprinkler head in the deckhead!! At the end of the “cook off” two guests were invited onto to stage to test the dishes from Simon and I. Apparently Simon has never cooked before as he grew up in a house full of women, and now lives in the Philippines were his maid does all the cooking!! Anyway the guests were all given a voting card with a red pepper on one side and a green on the other. It soon became apparent from the 2 guests “blind” tasting the food that I had been a little heavy handed with my Tabasco bottle – it was perfect for me but perhaps not to everyone’s taste. Yes you guessed it – Simon one hands down. Revenge is in the air for next time!!

As I awoke at 0530 on Monday morning it was a beautiful start as we approached Portland Bill and then the harbour. Rob our 2nd Officer kept the “con” and embarked the local pilot, before handing over to Matt our Safety Officer who guided the ship in through the Northern breakwater entrance and then manouvered the ship alongside. It soon became clear that Matt had “driven” ships before. We were all fast alongside by 0800 and shortly afterwards had a shore gangway rigged ready for our Guests to head ashore. The Isle of Portland is a limestone tied island 4 miles long x 1.7 miles wide, and 5 miles south of the resort of Weymouth. It is a central part of the Jurassic Coast, a World heritage Site on the Dorset and east Devon coast, important for its geology and landforms. Portland Stone, famous for its use in British and World architecture including St Paul’s Cathedral and the United Nations Headquarters, continues to be quarried.

I headed ashore at 0930 with Stuart Anderson, our resident musician. After a 20 minute taxi ride we arrived at Weymouth Golf Club. We had a fantastic round with no hold ups on a great course with excellent tees, greens and fairways. All the members and pro were so friendly. I am currently playing off 14 handicap (my lowest was once 11) and Stuart was off 24, however after the last round when I “crushed” Stuart I let him play off 28. It was a very close game although I was never in front and in fact got to dormy 3 at the end of the 15th – this meant Stuart was 3 holes up with 3 to play so I knew I could not win. I of course never give up and won the 16th and 17th leaving the 18th with all to play for, I slightly over hit my 2nd shot to the green and ended up close to a fence near the clubhouse. With space for only half a swing I “stabbed” at the ball onto the green and had a 30 foot putt to win the hole and square the match. Unfortunately the ball rolled past the hole and Stuart took “the money”

Hugo, one of our 2nd Officers, drove out which he thoroughly enjoyed and executed well with only minimal input from me. After we cleared the berth Hugo swung the ship through 180’ before building up speed to pass through the breakwater. With the pilot away at 1815 we then set course to follow the inside route back to our homeport in Dover.

Captain Julian Burgess

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.

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