21st October, 2021
I believe that most of us have a “bucket list”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please watch the movie - a masterpiece with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. One of the items on my list is the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, an ancient pilgrimage trail originating in medieval times. Although there are 9 routes to choose from, they all finish at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
The port of Vigo lies 1 hour drive south of there. The harbour has a pleasant “homey” feel. Our sail-in was picturesque, but as we arrived at the Pilot Station at 06:30 and it was still dark, we couldn’t see much. I appointed Staff Captain Matt as the designated driver. The original plan was to swing on arrival and dock port side to, but as we had to conduct inspection and maintenance on our port side lifeboats, we came bow in with starboard side alongside. Matt made a very nice approach to the berth, good speed control and docking. I couldn’t have done it better myself. Shortly after our arrival, the Regal Princess docked ahead of us.
Just before 11:30, as I was making my way to the gangway for the plaque exchange ceremony, I received a phone call from the ship’s agent asking if I had changed my mind. I was a bit puzzled with his question, but I told him that I would meet him at the gangway in a couple of minutes as we had agreed. I met the agent and port officials who were all very happy to see me and explained the background to their phone call. They had intended to conduct a joint plaque exchange with both ships, but the Regal Princess Captain was “too busy”. They were more than pleased that I was not. I explained that I take this type of event very seriously as it builds rapport with the port. As I’m writing this blog, an email popped up from the agent in Malaga asking for suitable times to conduct the plaque exchange there on our next cruise.
The afternoon was nice and sunny and the early evening looked promising. I told Matt that as he was the one to take us in, he may as well take us out. He did a good swing to starboard and we started making our way out. Sail away was much more colourful and picturesque than our arrival. As the evening was so pleasant I took the opportunity to go for a run on deck..
Captain Franko Papić
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