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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

11th June, 2018

A bright, sunny Monday morning which will have seen many residents of the globe having to trundle solemnly into work after the weekend, but saw us weaving pleasantly in between the Swedish archipelago of islands for some 12 miles into this pleasant and little-visited port.

We will be doing a fair amount of weaving between island archipelagos during the upcoming days, most enjoyable scenic cruising – especially when the weather is as glorious as today’s. All of a sudden this morning though, we squeezed through a narrow gap and popped out into a little expanse of water leading to Ornskoldsvik (or “O’Vik,” as the locals call it, and thankfully so may I) and our berth situated nicely on the city waterfront.

This little town, just under 400 miles north of Stockholm, is known as the gateway to the “High Coast,” with its dramatic post-glacial landscape. Inhabited since the bronze age, this coastline has now been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Alongside just shortly before 09:00, our passengers were free to wander off and explore at their own leisure or, of course, opt for an organised trip if there was something in particular they wished to see. Greeting everybody cheerfully as they walked through the port security gate along the waterfront, was a lively local jazz band. Our Cruise Director wasted no time in asking if they could pop aboard later to perform some pre-dinner al-fresco music, to which they gladly agreed!

Tours today headed off to nearby islands of Ulvon, the town & its surroundings, a scenic drive along the “High Coast,” or – my favourite – a ride on a ski lift up the steep coastline. At the top of the mountain, everyone was given a Swedish ‘Fika’ (a sort of locally-made cinnamon roll apparently – I was later informed by some passengers that they were ‘lovely’) before being able to wander around by oneself and then enjoy a scenic drive along the coastline, reaching cliffy altitudes of almost 1000ft.

At supper time, after the local jazz group had performed on the open decks aft of the Veranda restaurant and been rewarded with a little Saga food, we set sail back out of the archipelago and back into the Gulf of Bothnia, sun shining brightly on a mirror-calm sea. It had been a grand day indeed.

Next stop tomorrow: the far more pronounceable ‘Umea!’

Captain Kim Tanner

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