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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

20th September, 2018

Now, the North Sea can be an exciting place to be when the weather turns bad. It is however, not the typical type of experience one pays to endure; unless one happens to be a storm-chaser of course! Having established that we had none of these such characters on board, the decision was made to make a dash from Bremerhaven across the North Sea to Bergen ahead of a nasty looking deep depression called Storm Ali, arriving in Bergen the night before scheduled, spending it in the calm waters of the harbour.

As we approached the southern tip of Norway after a day at sea, the wind quickly increased to storm force just as we sought shelter in the closest fjord entrance where we would then weave our way northward on the slightly less conventional inner, sheltered route for some 100 miles up to Bergen. The winds howled through the fjords & islands, but we remained in calm seas and passengers were even able to enjoy a concert of Grieg’s works in the Discovery Lounge played by our fantastic resident Piano Quartet, followed by the usual delicious supper feast.

Approaching the berth at around half past midnight, a dramatic scene played out with lightning and horizontal rain as winds gusted over hurricane force. I was not so much looking forward to going out on the open bridge-wing to dock the ship… We waited a little time for the squall to pass, before using a slight lull as an opportunity to dock in Bergen with the assistance of two large, powerful tugboats.

Now, Bergen has the reputation as Norway’s rainy city; and today was not to disappoint. However, there were prolonged spells of dryness and even sunshine for passengers to enjoy as they headed ashore here in our second port of call. Various trips were on offer today, and these included a hike to Ovre-Eide farm, giving en-route some fantastic views over Bergen. Alternatively, if one preferred steam power to do the work for them, a trip on the Vossebanen steam train was offered. Another tour offered a ‘taste of Hardanger,’ which explored the beautiful region around Hardangerfjord, there was also of course the city sightseeing trip as well as for those music-lovers, a Grieg-themed tour exploring Bergen’s most famous son, world-renowned composer Edvard Grieg.

The wind remained blustery throughout the day, however upon departure I was thankful for this as it helped blow Saga Pearl 2 safely off our berth, meaning no tugboats required as we commenced weaving out of the harbour. Back under the city bridge we went, before turning to starboard and a different route to that of our inward one, northwards towards the open sea and Alesund – where the weather forecast promised a less windy and somewhat drier day for us to look forward to…

Captain Kim Tanner

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.