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25th October, 2018


Hello fellow blog readers… I’m back, joined in Southampton on the 19th, complete with my new metal right knee. It is so hard to be at home and just ‘recuperate’; do you know how much you eat when you just are ‘lying-around’?! Still, I’m back on-board now and settled in, Gavin Executive Chef, Kumar and the team can carry on with my waistline-training!

It was a truly lovely run down across the Biscay,, a little bit of movement the first night, but millpond style thereafter. The sun was gorgeous as we navigated southward off the Portuguese coast.

The 21st, Sunday was Trafalgar night, the commemoration of Lord Nelson epic and valiant win over the Franco-Spanish fleets in 1805. We had a Drawing Room gathering to salute to the Immortal memory of Lord Nelson with invited guests, both serving and past-serving Royal Navy, Fleet Air-Arm and Royal Marines and then, the following evening, Trafalgar Dinner where we followed Royal Naval Tradition. Splendid evening with thanks to Gavin and his team, along with Trevor, Maitre D’ teams for delivering a great service.

It was nice to be back in Gib today, it has so many fond memories for me, the last bastion of the British Empire! Our arrival pilot time was scheduled for 0700, alongside at 0800 - but at the last knockings we received information that a ‘block of flats’ [see picture] was due in at a similar time. Given I had a large slug of Bunkers to take, I couldn’t afford to be late - and thus brought the Pilot time forward to 0600, for 0700 alongside. It’s been a while since I parked a ship inside the western arm, very tight and not much room to manoeuvre. However, we were all fast alongside before 0700, the ship was cleared by the authorities and we waited for the day to start, the first Shore Excursion scheduled for 0830. Bit of a murky and misty day - I did promise my loyal guests a dry day, which, apart from an hour of ‘light’ drizzle, I just about got away with it!

Only a half-day call in Gib this time because it was a high-speed run to Alghero, so all Tours back, gangway aboard we were off promptly at 1300. I drove out, I like to do the first few manoeuvres after a ’leave’ as it gets my brain back in to focus. Whilst only a slight breeze onto the berth, I required the services of a Tug to swing the ship through 315 degrees to pass through the breakwaters, within two ships lengths. A lot of ‘tugging’!

Once clear of the breakwaters at 1330, the Pilot disembarked, and we made our way south out of Algeciras bay. Clearing south of Europa Point by 1400, we entered the Gibraltar Straits traffic lanes and headed east. The overnight passage would take us into the Mediterranean, first crossing the Alboran Sea and then later tomorrow, once south of the Balearic Islands, the Sea of Sardinia and then on a North Easterly passage toward the western shores of Sardinia… what a fabulous place to visit.

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.