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St Malo

Spirit of Discovery blog - Captains' blogs

5th October, 2019

Overnight we sailed through the Alderney Race and down the western side of the Cherbourg Peninsular.

Pilot for St Malo was at 0800 this morning as this is a tidal port and we have to make sure we arrive at a certain height of tide. Also the wind was forecast to be very strong earlier in the morning during the previous “tidal window” and would have been unsafe to enter. Interestingly enough the Seabourn Ovation which was due in with us attempted to arrive at 0300 and aborted due to these strong winds. She then re-entered the port 30 minutes before us when the wind had died down sufficiently.

After a 7’ run in through a very narrow channel we arrived off two mooring buoys and had to carry out a very tight manouver swinging the ship through 180’ and then securing the bow and stern to these mooring buoys with 4 lines each end. Once in position we tightened the lines and had about 20m clearance each end. I’m glad we arrived slightly later with less wind and in daylight, particularly as this was our Maiden call for the ship and for me!!

With 4 superb tenders (photo attached) taking 90 guests ashore at a time, and a dedicated tendering platform with no steps the whole operation is so slick compared to older ships. During the morning we had another plaque exchange but this time on a small scale with one lady from the tourist office.

During the afternoon I decided to go for a walk ashore myself as having never been here before and the setting was very spectacular. St Malo is one of the most visited destinations in Brittany, mainly due to the impressive fortifications and the delightful character of the old walled town which I managed to walk round and decided to treat myself to a “crème brulee” ice cream.

Departure was set for 2100 again due to the right stage of tide and the Staff Captain guided us clear of the buoys and back to sea.

Captain Julian Burgess

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