Day 10 – Thursday 23rd November 2017;
We woke to a lot of howling wind but the ship wasn’t rocking as much as it had been during the night, but later during breakfast it was really moving with plates and dishes sliding back & forth, we only heard a couple of crashes though, one from the kitchen area sounded like a whole stack of plates. During the night we had stopped at Bodø at 02h30 then Ørnes at 07h00 and were due to cross back over the Arctic Circle at about 09h15. We heard later that at Bodø they were loading a large 25ft Christmas tree for decorating the ship but the wind was so strong that it lifted off the fork lift and flew down the dock and into the fjord to be lost as it would have been too dangerous to retrieve it.
Because of the heavy seas we actually crossed the Arctic circle line at 09h40 just a little late and this time it was daylight so we could get some photo’s of the marker. As the sea was so rough and the wind strong they asked us not to go out on deck but viewed the marker through the windows, unfortunately though, the windows had a lot of water on the outside so apologies for the quality.
The ceremony for crossing the Arctic Circle again was a dose of Cod Liver Oil, strangely all nationalities of a certain age had the same childhood recollection of having their nose held while being administered a spoon full. Because it was too rough and wet to be on deck they substituted capsules for liquid because of the potential mess, but we still were allowed to keep the rather nice engraved spoons. An interesting note from the expedition leader is that poorer Norwegian people used to paint their wooden houses with Cod Liver Oil as a preservative, what must that have smelt like when the sun came out in the summer.
After the Arctic Circle we were supposed to dock at Nesna, Sandnessjøen and Brønnøysund but the weather was too bad but luckily the sea calmed down a bit by 18h00 because it was the “Captains Table” dinner, where all the ships officers greeted us all individually with a complimentary glass of Bubbly. Then after the main course we were treated to a song from all the officers and dining staff. It was a very nice evening.
They managed to dock in Rørvik at 20h30 where there was quite a lot of cargo to load and some passengers to disembark.
In the evening the app on Steve’s` phone was saying that there was a very good chance of seeing the Northern Lights tonight, in fact the best forecast yet so at about 9pm we togged up and went out onto the rear observation deck to see. We could see absolutely nothing that looked like the lights but the wind was so strong after a while it was getting dangerous to stay out.
Day 11 – Friday 24th November 2017
We sailed through the night to dock at Trondheim at 06h30 till 10h00. We could have had an early breakfast to walk into town but had already done that and decided to have breakfast at normal time and a leisurely day just watching the scenery go by which was very nice as we had done this part in the dark on the way north.
The ship docked at Kristiansund at 16h30 then Molde at 21h00 so not many stops today.
We had to have our cases outside the lift by 9am in the` morning so after dinner we did all our packing then went to the lounge area to chat with the others for the rest of the evening.
Day 12 – Saturday 25th November 2017
As always the last day is just a waiting day so breakfast then clear the cabin then lunch and coffee till the ship docked at 14h30. Disembarkation was smoothly done by decks so the luggage arrived at the conveyor at the same time we did then outside to the waiting coach to the airport. Airport check-in was smooth especially when the guy on the desk said “As you are changing at Oslo I have checked your luggage right through* which was great. Unfortunately on this return leg we had to take two planes, changing at Oslo, with a lot of waiting in between. That unfortunately is the nature of travel nowadays. After docking at 14h30 we would not get to Gatwick until 23h00 then a cab ride home to Kerry & Cheryl’s house. But apart from the waiting it all went very well the flight arrived half an hour early,we can certainly recommend Norwegian Airways although Judy was asleep as soon as we took off, there was free Wi-Fi on the flight which Steve found quite useful, the Cab driver was waiting at the gate and the journey to East Dean was traffic free and took just under the hour. Then Kerry and Cheryl were waiting up for us so we could have a drink, chat and relax before bed.
The holiday was great we both really enjoyed it. We saw the Northern Lights which was our ambition, perhaps they could have been a bit more like the films we have seen but then we would probably have to go to the north pole or camp at Nord Cap for a month or so in December which I think would be a bit too full on, especially driving a 4,500kg camper with front wheel drive and very limited grip, on the icy roads. Which would probably mean buying spiked tyres, perhaps an expense too far.
We had a ride on a Husky Sled too short and too expensive perhaps but another great experience.
We crossed the Arctic Circle, OK on a ship, but we certainly plan to come back in the Motorhome so as to actually drive there as we have driven to the Tropic of Cancer.
We liked the feel of Norway so definitely want to come back in the summer, it is perhaps the most expensive country in the world, the prices are excruciatingly expensive and not just alcohol. As we were both developing colds probably caught from the other Brits. we went into a Pharmacy to buy some “Lemsip” or equivalent, they don’t do it with any active ingredient like Paracetamol and just a lemon drink was over £6 then a pack of 16 Paracetamol which cost about 20p in Tesco’s were £5.50 and the theme seemed to apply to everything except fuel which seemed to only be a little higher than the UK.
Some Facts about the voyage
When the Captain gave his talk about navigation he showed a Power Point slide with information, so Steve asked him for a copy, these are the figures:
- From Bergen to Kirkenes is 2,600 nautical miles / 4,815Km
- there are 239,057 Islands
- 81,192 reefs
- 1,841 lighthouses
- 12,000 Navigation Marks
- 5,000 Marks with lights
So quite impressive navigation especially as most of the journey is done in the dark.