I write from Cadiz, safely tucked on our berth after a far from ordinary arrival. Having spent the majority of time from Barcelona in a north-easterly gale, (which, fortunately, we were ‘running’ with), we had a respite after passing through the Gibraltar Straits and turning north towards Cadiz. Early morning on the Bridge and all looked well for entering this challenging port; the wind had eased although we were still experiencing a long swell which necessitated using our stabilisers until near the pilot boarding ground. It was then that the first hint of deteriorating conditions manifested themselves; gusts of wind over 20 knots were recorded on our anemometer and as we made our way down channel, the strength increased to 35 knots. Our parameter for a wind on the beam is 25 knots; this was going to be a good one. 🙄 We had pre-assigned manning positions and it was Thomas, our Staff Captain, who was Navigator and therefore assigned the berthing manoeuvre, I being Ops Director and oversight of the procedures. Having asked Thomas if he was comfortable and him replying in the affirmative, we continued our approach. Cadiz has a very narrow entrance which has to be negotiated with a hard turn to starboard, this has to be precise, too slow or fast and the breakwaters beckon, throw the wind and tide into the mix and you get the idea………..
We had one thing in our favour, the wind direction was such that once the turn had been completed, the wind was almost coming from ahead, this meant that we had little ‘drift’ to port or starboard. The plan was to get as close as we could to the dock with the bow, under the lee (shelter) of the city’s buildings, this should afford us some respite. As a precaution, a tug had been ordered too, if it became necessary, push on our bow. Thomas did a lovely job, gradually easing her in, close enough to some mooring lines ashore and take some strain without having to use the tug. ‘Murphy’s law’ dictated that 45 minutes after our docking, the wind dropped, o well, you win some and lose some….c’est la vie.
I include some photos from the bridge, we are almost in the city centre, it’s still chilly 59F/14C but at least the rain has stopped and the barometer is rising. Afterwards I will post some Barcelona photos, better late than never 🙂
And so to Barcelona, I stayed on board during the morning, (affairs of State), while K1 forayed ashore. I joined her in time for lunch and I know that many of you will have visited the Mercat Boqueria, if you’ve never been, I urge to do so when the opportunity arises. A feast of not only colour but food, indescribably delicious, particularly the fresh seafood and hams…
I suppose I ought to add some ‘culture’ 🙂 Barcelona is steeped in culture and history, far too much to ‘do in a day’. It is a very popular tourist destination, the day we were in port, there were 3 other cruise ships berthed, not to mention the thousands of visitors who fly or drive. The main thoroughfare, La Rambla’ was a seething throng, a pickpocket’s paradise, (although I am not aware of anyone from the Amsterdam succumbing to their skills), however there are plenty of police around though.
I have no idea where the time has gone, it only seems like yesterday that we put Port Everglades astern and embarked on our circumnavigation of the globe. We leave Cadiz at 5 o’clock and head for Funchal, Madeira; our last port of call before Port Everglades on the 30th. I’m dreading packing, that in itself is a challenge, particularly when I see what K1 has ‘collected’ on her travels; o well, they have massive lorries in Florida 🙂