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5th May, 2018

Le Havre

A peaceful eve-crossing of the English Channel found the bridge team ‘closed’ up on the bridge for 0415, ready for arrival operations. A short night indeed, we had only just dropped the Southampton Pilot! Still, looking out to sea, it did look like that we were going to have a fabulous day and with sunrise at 0630 it was a lovely sail-in.

The Pilot embarked at the sea-buoy on time at 0530. During the arrival briefing the Pilot stated that our assigned berth was still under construction! With morning light growing, I entered around the inner breakwater and caught sight of our ‘assigned’ berth, and sure enough, it didn’t exist as such, it was a building site. After a great deal of conversation, whilst I am driving through the port, we agreed where to park - I just then had to put her in the agreed position.

First line ashore at 0645, I was all ‘made-fast’ by 0700. It then took an hour, seemingly, to get the gangway in. Shouting down to the personnel on the quayside to announce my disaffection, the retort was, “they are always going on strike”! Fortunately I was in 45 minutes ahead of schedule so had some ‘faffing-around’ time to play with.

What another glorious day, Mr Blue Skies, hello! Great feedback about the tours and from those independent strollers’ , the reports back were that they really that liked the old town. So, the day drew to an end and it was time to sail having with the last of the Tours up the gangway at 1740.

Which lucky Deck Officer was elected to drive tonight? Our new-ish Safety Officer, Andrew. An interesting manoeuvre for Andrew, one of which we would not normally take a tug. However, given the slowness of the type manoeuvre, and that my Seniors and I didn’t want to miss the Welcome Cocktail party, I booked a tug to save time.

So, off we popped at 1800. Andrew, using the tug, executed the swing off the berth very nicely and then drove out of the harbour. Once clear of the port, with the Pilot still on board, I handed the vessel charge over to my Staff Captain Tom, to complete the departure process by debarking the Pilot a little later. I dashed down to the Britannia Lounge, luckily, it’s a short commute!

In the Britannia Lounge with a few minutes to spare and, by the time I came to introduce my Senior Officers, the Staff Captain and Chief Engineer had arrived ‘on-scene’. All in a day’s work and all possible because we have a great team on Saga Sapphire.

Captain Stuart Horne

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