Spirit of Adventure blog
I don’t want to jinx us, but I haven’t had weather this calm and pleasant in the Bay of Biscay since 2010. Our approach to Santander Pilot Station and arrival were conducted in darkness, as sunrise was scheduled for 08:45. We were on time. Pilot was not. As he was making his approach to board, we were already aligned for the channel and way past the pilot station. He shouted his recommended course order over the VHF radio.
The Pilot boarded and came to the bridge shortly after. He greeted us, asked where his seat was, eager to take over the Con and start giving orders to our helmsman. I politely used the quote from Marvel’s Black Panther movie “We don’t do that here”. I explained to our pilot that we have procedures we must follow and as long as he is on board, he will have to follow them as well. By the time we completed the Master/Pilot Exchange checklist our ship was proceeding nicely in the channel. Pilot informed me that our assigned pier had been changed. We ended up on the better pier, a ferry pier in the centre of the city. I wanted to turn and go port side alongside, but the pilot was persistent that we go bow in starboard side alongside and he returned my quote from Black Panther. Fair enough.
After arrival and well deserved breakfast, we had yet another plaque exchange. I was given a wooden model of Santander Cathedral as a gift from the City Officials and a lunch invitation for our next arrival, with granted shore leave, to try the local specialties almejas (clams), rabas (fried calamari) and cocido montañés (bean stew).
I took a nice long walk on the open deck and had a series of pleasant chats with our guests who were enjoying the sunny afternoon (now I’m humming the melody from the Kinks). Departure was smooth, with a different pilot who didn’t mind me driving out and him acting as an observer. I thrusted the ship off the berth some 30 meters, then swung her around with bow to port with stern swinging off the berth at 25 meters with 45 degrees per minute. Well controlled and executed as planned. The sail away was short, but picturesque, and the majority of our guests were on the open decks thoroughly enjoying the sun and the scenery.
Captain Franko Papić
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