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Spirit of Adventure blog

Croatia and Cities of the Central Med

28th August, 2022

Our route from Dubrovnik to Palermo took us south of Italy and through the Messina Strait, which lies between Calabria and Sicily. We took our pilot at 6pm, and were not asked to slow down as pilots in Messina are used to high-speed transfers - their pilot boats are built for purpose. I asked pilot to assist as a local guide, as I wanted my 2nd Officer, Tom, to gain experience by conning Spirit of Adventure through the Strait. He had to adjust speed for the local ferries and execute a sharp turn to starboard as a part of the task. Tom performed well, as I expected and his thinking out loud - announcing your intention before executing it - was bang on.

Once we completed our transit and disembarked the pilot we headed north. As there was time I decided that a small detour would be in order…Stromboli wasn’t far away. The contours of the volcano were barely visible and sadly without any activity. We were disappointed, but I guess that inhabitants of Ginostra, the village on the Island of Stromboli, were quite pleased that the volcano lay fast asleep.

The next morning, we arrived in Palermo with the sunrise and had a beautiful hot and sunny day with the best parking spot in the harbour.

Our route to our next port of call, Cadiz, took us north of the island and guests had the opportunity to enjoy the view of Sicily’s northern coast during the evening. Two perfect, sunny sea days, before reaching the Gibraltar Strait and then Cadiz shortly after, guests took the opportunity to finalise their tanning efforts – with the open decks very popular. As always in sunnier climes I included in my announcements to guests the importance of sun protection, as well as rehydration, but I forgot to specify the kind…walking around the open decks, I noted beer and cocktails seemed the order of the day!

Cadiz was as charming as ever. I stayed on board as my reliever arrived in Palermo and we were going through the familiarisation and handover process. Captain Krešo Volarić will be taking over once we arrive back in Southampton.

Shortly after departure I received a call from Staff Captain Simon - one of those calls we don’t like receiving. One of our guests required medical assistance beyond our onboard capabilities, so we had to contact local authorities and request a helicopter. We were close enough to Cadiz, the helicopter arrived within 20 minutes, and the guest was airlifted shortly after. I made an announcement advising our guests to please respect the privacy of our patient and not to take photos of the operation.

Once the helicopter was gone, we continued our way home along the coast of Portugal, the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel.

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.