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6th May, 2018


Not so late last night after the Welcome Cocktail party, but what a fabulous Captain’s Table I hosted, a really chatty bunch. A mix of long-serving Saganauts and Saga virgins.

However, another early morning with an unscheduled call from my 12-4 Officer Of the Watch, Rob, at 3 am. He had been in touch with Zeebrugge Port Control to advise of our impending arrival only to be told “you need to come earlier”. This was down to the traffic movements in and out of the locks. I had a choice to be an hour late or an hour earlier!

It was a fantastic sunrise at 0600 as we embarked the Pilot. I have attached a picture of the sunrise, it used to be my thing, this was so crisp and full of that ‘new-life’ feeling. Hope you enjoy.

Embarking the Pilot at 0600, we navigated the 22 nautical miles around the shallows to the Port entrance. Tom , Staff Captain, was driving in this morning. A reasonably straight forward berthing, but an accurate positioning was required to swing off the head of the berth before backing down to the parking slot.

Ahead of our 0900 advertised arrival time, we were all as ‘snug as a bug’ and moored for 0810. Nice, plenty of time for the breakfast ‘steak’ roll. It’s a treat we occasionally give ourselves after very early mornings.

Another roaster of a day, cracking, quite lovely. Of course, the main attraction here is the trip up to Bruges, of which I have attached some pictures. It’s been a few years since I last visited, but what an intriguing and beautiful place.

The day came quickly to an end, it always does when you drive a desk all day, and our happy passengers were all back on board ready for our run up to Ijmuiden.

Carl the 3rd Officer was driving out, you notice how little I do! Once again, a nice little manoeuvre and we were on our way. The Pilot disembarked at shortly after 2030 and then we took a northerly passage up through Hinder banks, an area of shallow subterranean ridges and valleys and little in the way of navigation marks. It’s an interesting route, one I regularly used when Deep Sea Piloting taking Car Carrier ships and Containerships up to Europort from Zeebrugge.

It's a few miles to Ijmuiden, and up-hill does not help, so we will need to be slick in the morning.

Captain Stuart Horne

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