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Spirit of Adventure blog

Zeebrugge & Le Havre

14th February, 2023

Wake up call for the morning of Zeebrugge was slightly better than the day before, as we picked up pilot at 05:30 in order to be alongside for 8 o’clock. The tide can be very strong, therefore there are no speed restrictions for the passage. We discussed the plan and pilot agreed with it. With a current of 3kts going across the breakwater entrance we entered with the same approach as we do in Dover. Once inside the harbour I took the Con from the pilot, and started to slow us down in order to have the speed of 5 kts as we approached our assigned pier. Just off the berth I swung us around, made a nice pirouette, and backed us down to the pier. As we were finalising our final mooring arrangement, the sun decided to treat us with its appearance and the air temperature started to rise, giving us a more pleasant day that we were expecting.

During my previous contract on Adventure, I was focused on developing my senior watch keepers’ ship handling skills. The only officer who didn’t get the chance to drive was 2nd Officer Tom, so departure today was in his hands under my watchful eye. We agreed on the plan, briefed the pilot and he performed bang on. Once we were off the berth and aligned with the exit course for the breakwater, Tom handed the Con over to the pilot, but kept control of the speed, gradually accelerating in order to have speed of 14 kts by the time we reach the effect of the current again. I left the Staff Captain Kirill in charge on the Bridge for the outgoing pilotage, as I wanted to attend the Farewell Party held in the Britannia Lounge, and bid our guests farewell.

Next morning brought Le Havre. This was the 1st call for Adventure and the 2nd call for me. My 1st call was back in 2018 on Sapphire. Kirill took us in with the pilot’s advice, swung us around and backed us to the berth. We connected the shore side gangway and realised that the one they had supplied us with was not suitable for wheelchair access. When we flagged this to the port officials and our agent they were able to procure another, suitable gangway and connect it in just over half an hour. All I can say is, impressive. Shortly after, the port officials came on board once again (the first time was to give the ship necessary clearance that allows us to go ashore), to conduct the plaque exchange. I met them in the Britannia Lounge and received 3 plaques, including the one that was personalized for me. Quite a lovely surprise.

After a lunch with guests in the Grill, I spent couple of hours at my desk and when I went on the Bridge for a cup of coffee at 3 pm, I realised that the temperature went all the way up to 17 deg C. That was not forecast. Just before I joined for this contract I bought a new pair of running shoes and decided today was the day to finally test them. I was chatting to my Chief Officer Vincent, who agreed that conditions were great for an afternoon run. We teamed up, met at the gangway and went for a 5k run that took us through the harbour all the way to the city centre and the beach. The majority of the run was very pleasant, apart for some couple of hundred meters that was going through the fishing harbour. I will not be describing the smell of dried shellfish. It turned that part of the run into a proper challenge.

Once back on board, we got ready for departure which was in hands of our Safety Officer Chandon. He took the ship off the berth, aligned us for the breakwater and we made our way out. I left him to be in charge of the outgoing pilotage because I had to be up at 4am as we were scheduled to pick up pilot at Nab at 04:30 for Portsmouth. All in all, a very pleasant and successful cruise.

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.