Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
17th May, 2018
Well, Dover was sunny and welcoming as we embarked our passengers heading to Norway on this week’s ‘Norwegian Notes’ cruise. The idea, as you may have derived from the title, is a musically themed voyage around this wonderful Scandinavian country.
We set off in the afternoon sun, once everyone had found their cabins and – of course – had sampled our legendary Saga afternoon tea. Sticking close to the English coast we wound our way up into the North Sea and enjoyed the first day of the cruise at sea, with a formal night that evening along with our welcome cocktail party.
The next morning, nice and early, we picked up the local pilot for our first Norwegian port of Haugesund. It was an hour or so to transit northwards between the rugged coast of the mainland and an archipelago of low-lying islands, as opposed to a fjord. Finally we passed under the impressive Karmsund Bridge leaving just a couple of metres between it and our funnel tip, before approaching our berth located near the city centre.
Today is National Norway Day – and as such we were welcomed into town by an impressive marching band on the quayside. It was a particularly breezy day, but the sun shone brightly to combat the northerly wind – which I suppose was lucky for the school kids who were parading up and down the quayside wearing their school uniform skirts & shorts. Must have been a tad nippy – took me back to the days of standing in the snowy school playground with my uniform shorts on…
Safely alongside the city centre berth, passengers were eager to shoot off ashore and explore the local city & sights. Just a few hundred metres from the ship lay the centre of town, making it easy for those who wished to go and do their own thing to do just that. Other passengers who had booked organised tours could be given a guided tour around the town, or perhaps visit the nearby might Langfoss Waterfall in nearby Akrafjord. The water there is said to be ‘magical,’ providing people with energy boosts, and…it’s even said to boost fertility levels..!
Another organised tour whisked some off to nearby Skudeneshavn, an age old quaint fishing village consisting of some 130 wooden houses from the 1800’s. Herring fishing was at its peak back then, and this charming little place was home to many such fishermen and their families.
We remained in the calm shelter of Haugesund port overnight, before sailing at the crack of dawn to Stavanger, a mere 30 miles or so away by sea, but a lot further by car…and a completely different place indeed.
Captain Kim Tanner
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