Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
20th May, 2018
At around midnight on Saturday night, Saga Pearl II passed through the entrance to Norway’s second longest fjord – Hardangerfjord. Formed some 8,000 years ago, this impressive fjord weaves about 95 miles inland, with steep mountains interspersed with cascading waterfalls on either side creating some great dramatic scenery. It is also the gateway to Hardangervidda, the largest mountain plateau in Europe.
At breakfast time we reached the little village of Eidfjord, nestled at the end of Hardangerfjord. With a little pier jutting out into the deep fjord water, and the locals keenly awaiting us, we were safely alongside at about 08:00. It was a perfect morning with clear blue skies and flat calm, pristine fresh air and silence in this little picturesque village which houses around 900 people.
Our visit coincided with the Hardangerfjord Music Festival – a festival of chamber music. As such, some of our tours today and in the evening were musically themed ones – including a ‘surprise evening concert’ to be held in the brand new Fjordahallen Concert Hall on the banks of the fjord, not too far away. Other excursions disappeared off to explore ‘Waterfalls & Waffles,’ and a very interesting sounding ‘Musical Cider Walk.’
After enjoying a BBQ lunch in the glorious sunshine with a few like-minded (and equally hungry) passengers on the outer deck aft, I decided to take my bicycle and go explore ashore. I followed the coastal road around the end of the fjord and then continued on a single lane track up to where the old glacier must have been. Around 17 miles later, and 500m higher, the track abruptly finished leaving me with a wonderful view of the valley and a nearby waterfall. I relaxed a minute, took a drink from the stream, and reflected on what a lucky soul I was to be here. And then came the fun part – cycling all the way back down again.
We remained in port overnight allowing for a quiet, relaxing evening and night alongside, before sailing at breakfast time the following morning. Today we would spend much of our day scenic cruising on the way out of Hardangerfjord, taking our time to explore the fjord’s off-shoots and narrow passes, which is one of the beauties of having a small ship. We danced a little ‘pirouette’ in the ship underneath the impressive Furebergsfossen Waterfall, as well as taking a peek at Norway’s 3rd largest glacier In Gjerde, before then passing through the narrow waters of Heroysund, which are just shy of 300m wide.
Once clear of the fjord at about 18:00, it was time to get our glad rags on for the farewell cocktail party and formal supper. The courses were set for our sail back down through the North Sea where we would spend a relaxing final day at sea before reaching Dover on Tuesday. Gosh, hasn’t this cruise flown by!
Captain Kim Tanner
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