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Halifax, Nova Scotia

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

30th September, 2018

After an extended sea passage due to a storm off the coast of the Azores we made our early morning approach to the Halifax pilot station and a delightful start it was. With the pilot on board at 0700 we then had 8 miles to weave our way to our berth. The pilot took the con for the transit and I then took over a couple of miles before the dock. The berth this morning was situated within a basin which was only 105m wide, so with a flood tide setting us on to the corner of the basin we had to get the approach “spot on”, particularly as I decoded to save the company some money with no tug. Of course, had it have been windy I would have taken one without hesitation.

The team on the forward and aft mooring decks were under strict instructions not to throw any line ashore until after 0801 as the local longshoremen charge 3 times the regular rate if they handle any line before 0800 and then they double it for Sundays!! With the first line at 0806 we were well in the clear. By 0830 we were all fast with the gangway ready. A crisp and sunny day initiated our first port on this “Nova Scotia and St Lawrence in the Fall” cruise. Today we were expecting highs of 18’C – so very pleasant indeed for the last day in September.

Halifax is a lively, vibrant city and the capital of Nova Scotia. It has a fascinating Maritime Heritage and features the World’s second largest natural harbour which stretches for approximately ten miles. The city was integral in the rescue operation of the Titanic in 1912 and was again at the forefront of a Maritime Disaster when five years later in 1917 they had the “Halifax Explosion”.

Halifax has lots to see and there were 8 shore excursions on offer today including; The Best of Halifax, Halifax Highlights by Harbour Duck or Vintage Double Decker, A History of Halifax Walking Tour; and The Titanic Connection.

I decided to take to the road and head for Mount Pleasant Park, cycling round the many trails and enjoying the coastal views before heading up to Fort George at the Citadel National Historic Site. With 15M covered and some cracking hills I felt I deserved a cup of Earl Grey and some Banana Cake at a local café–lovely!!, A pleasant change from the Britannia Lounge but you simply cannot match the ambience of afternoon tea on board, which is always a white glove affair.

With an overnight in port there were two evening tours running; the “Wines on the water” and a “Historical Ghost Walking Tour”. I decided to remain on board and take the Staff captain to dinner in the Pole 2 Pole restaurant and always a fabulous meal was had. I always enjoy overnights in port, as I rather like waking up in the “same place” for a change. With a good night’s sleep, I decided to go for a 5km run this morning and take in the sunrise over Halifax harbour. There is an excellent waterside walk which at 0700 was very quiet and perfect for my jog.

With just 2 tours this morning, “Exploring McNab’s Island” and Coastal Drive to Peggy’s Cove, all guests were on board by 1240. Our agent again gave us advice on avoiding excessive longshoreman costs by making sure we did not let the first mooring line go until after 1301!! Staff Captain Dennis carried out the manouver and once clear he handed over to the pilot. With the pilot away at 1400 hrs we set course for Sydney (Nova Scotia).

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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