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2nd November, 2018


Yesterday’s sea-passage was remarkably good as we cleared away from the northern shores of North Sicily and adopted a NW’ly track towards southern Sardinia. We had periods of sunshine and the wind barely drew a white-horse. The scheduled Pilot time was 0700, but I needed to bring that forward to avoid clashed with other shipping movements – and with one Pilot on duty, I didn’t want to be hanging around for other ships to get into the port.

Pilot on-board at 0630 I made my approach, yes I drove in this morning, makes a change! I negotiated the two very tight turns to line up for the berth. Once in the harbour, the manoeuvre is very straight forward; point her in the right direction and makes sure you stop before you run out of water. All tied-up for 0715, well ahead of schedule and the Italian authorities cleared the ship as soon as the gangway was landed; very efficient. There is something nice about being early - you transition from the ‘ship-driving mode’ to the ‘in-port’ operation mode nice and gently, even time to enjoy a bacon-butty on the bridge wing.

I was reflecting this morning on the challenges of the cruise, missed, ports, changed ports, heavy weather, torrents of rain; what a fantastic team I have. Jo Bo, Cruise Director and Nat, Explore Ashore Manager, have been rocks and able, through their teams, to flex the daily program and the shore excursions at very short notice. Dirk, the newly appoint F&B manager and his teams have stepped up to the plate extending the lunch & dinning times, supported of course by Trevor, the Maître D’, [aka Doorman], the deck hands mooring the ship under atrocious conditions and all those efforts are achieved through the entire ship. I’m just the ‘driver’!

With really great reviews on the Shore excursion offerings as the Guest came back on-board, we prepared the ship for departure. Bit of a tricky one this. The Port Authority had managed to box me-in and we had to manoeuvre out passed all the other ’parked’ ships to get out into the open harbour. I have attached a picture of our electronic navigation screen. The Saga Sapphire is the ship top-left!

Clear of the harbour at 1830 and the pilot away we set course towards Cartagena. The forecast was not that good and I was expecting some swell and the lovely ‘motion of the ocean’.

More from Cartagena on Sunday.

Captain Stuart Horne

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.