Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
7th June, 2018
Well, all too soon we sailed from Dover on our next adventure, again up to the Baltic but this time completely different ports and further north to venture – into the Gulf of Bothnia.
Glorious weather greeted our first day at sea enroute to Norway and the little port of Arendal. Our passengers settled into life at sea, where sun cream would be one of the first considerations if venturing outside - not frequently the case when in the North Sea! That evening we held our welcome cocktail party and with lobster or steak one of the many choices on the supper menu, who could complain?!
The next morning posed a little challenge for us. Our local pilot called us up at about 06:00 and told us that while he was happily waiting to guide us through the archipelago / fjord into Arendal, he unfortunately had lost his little boat to come out and board us from. Being a small port, the pilot boat also doubles as a lifeboat and at that time was involved in a rescue operation (we later learnt that thankfully all was well and there were no casualties). Therefore we offered to launch one of our own little tenders to pop in and collect the pilot. So nothing too much of a challenge here on board Saga Pearl II.
Our pilot safely on board around an hour after he was due, we navigated in between the rugged little islands and were greeted at the berth by an array of dancers celebrating the film which has apparently placed Arendal on the map, Disney’s Frozen (which is set here, I am told). Those of you with young children or grandchildren will have already been well aware of this film’s existence, I however had no idea about it.
The sun continued to shine throughout the day, making it a delightful visit indeed, and our tours offered guided city walks, visits to local villages and various museums. This seemed like such a nice port to me that we elected to stay overnight, too. It was high time I had some exercise, so I decided to take my bicycle off again to explore. I cycled several kilometres to the bridge over onto nearby Tromoya, and continued around the island until my legs started to feel feeble. A perfect day for cycling, several Norwegians were also out too and their favourite hobby today appeared to be overtaking me!
Later that evening, having worked up an enormous appetite, I enquired with our local agent about the possibility of finding a restaurant serving a favourite of mine, reindeer. Once again, I was informed that it was out of season however a recommendation was made for one particular place which specialised in local foods and would definitely serve deer (or venison).
A lovely meal and a wander around town brought me back to our little ship and a deck party, for ‘Dancing under the Stars’ was being held on board. The cruise director had clearly forgotten to check the time of local sunset though before proposing this, as it wouldn’t be getting dark until almost midnight tonight! This minor detail certainly didn’t stop everyone from enjoying themselves though…
Early in the morning we snuck out of the port, pointing the ship’s nose in a south-easterly direction towards the narrow gap between Sweden & Denmark, the passage which would mark our entry into the Baltic Sea later that evening and our next port tomorrow of Sassnitz, Germany.
Captain Kim Tanner
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