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13th October, 2021

Montoir

The Montoir pilotage starts at the estuary of the river Loire. Distance from the pilot station to the berth is 16 nautical miles and with slowdown, swing and tie up, it was recommended by the pilot that we arrive at the pilot station at 05:45 in order to be alongside by 08:00. The pilot boat was massive! Weather conditions were as good as it gets, so instructions from pilot requesting course alterations in order to create additional lee were followed, though we didn’t understand the reason behind it. Once the 5 meter Zodiac was launched for the pilot boat, it all made sense.

Our passage to the pier was peaceful. Passing the Saint Nazaire, we had a view of three big cruise ships being built in their shipyard. The pilot and I agreed that we will swing as we pass the pier and come alongside. He was very informative and confident. We swung fast in order to reduce the effect of the current and have the bow pointing in the correct direction. As we were making our approach to the berth, I was expecting the current to push us onto it, however the effect was the opposite. We ended up thrusting the ship sideways for 150 meter against the current…quite entertaining (sarcasm alert). We were berthed alongside 15 minutes later than scheduled, but without any impact to our guests..

The morning continued to be busy, as it was our scheduled weekly crew drill. Today’s scenario included multiple casualties so we had to activate our mass casualties response plan. Both the staging area for the response teams and triage area for medics had to be used. Safety Officer Richard and Doctor Milija had a lot of work to do with their teams. A great training session for all parties involved with good performance and feedback.

Our departure was set for 17:00, but we got a heads up from our agent that 3 of our tour coaches were stuck in traffic in Nantes. While we waited for the buses to arrive, I enjoyed another plaque exchange. Visitors from the port of Montoir included the Harbour Master’s representative and the Director of Tourism called Pierre, who organized a local band called XXCelts to entertain us from the quayside before departure. Once all guests were on board, we were ready to sail. Today’s designated driver was Richard, our Safety Officer. He thrusted the ship off the berth into the middle of the river and then steered her under the Bridge of Saint Nazaire, crossed by the Route Bleue, and out the same way we came in.

The evening was beautiful with light easterly winds, a balmy temperature of 18°C making for an exquisite sunset. I decided to go for a run on promenade deck. Usually, this entails doing 12 laps, which equals a 5 km run. I started at a slower pace than usual and by the time I had completed 12 laps, I felt I could do more. So as Forrest Gump said, “I just kept on running”. (I know that you just read that in an Alabama accent). I did have a crisis during the 20th lap, but I didn’t want to give up. I was able to complete 24 laps and was very proud to run 10km in just under 1 hour…59:48 to be exact. Not bad for an old geyser like me…

Kind Regards
Captain Franko Papić

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.