25th August, 2019
After a comfortable overnight passage, we shaped up for the Bergen pilot station well before morning twilight. Embarking the pilot at 0500 south of Viksoyna, one of the many island lying west of the mainland, we turned to the north to navigate towards the narrows. The run into Bergen from the Pilot station is around 2.5 hours. It is a very pretty experience and the narrows sit around the half-way point.
The challenge with the narrows is, firstly the raging current that runs through there at the peak of high-going, or low-going tidal range, and coupled with that, the hard-left and then hard-right passage requirements at that point, compounded by restricted navigable water. Of course, there are local variables that can quite significantly negate the tidal flow and you really never know until you get there.
I always prefer this passage to be done in day-light, it increases your spatial awareness. Sunrise was at 0615 and our passage time at the narrows was set for 0615, which was ideal. I have made up a pictorial to represent the Saga Sapphire going through the narrows, it gives you a feel of what I am talking about. As luck would have it, today we were at the top of the tide and local conditions negated the tidal flow down to almost nothing, even better. It is a lovely passage through and I always encourage my Guests to get up and about, advising on my previous evening update broadcast.
That done, we shaped up for the berth - straight-in today, no swinging or backing down. Simon, the Staff Captain was executing the parking. All ‘made-fast’ for 0745, the ship was cleared in rapid time and our Guest s start perambulating ashore shortly after 0800.
Now then, Bergen has a reputation of being the wettest City in Norway, indeed, more often than not when I am here it is drizzling or chucking it down. Today, Mr Blue sky all over the place. A glorious day. The day drew to a close and it was time to be off again via the narrows towards Flam.
Although a Sunday and many of the shops closed, the reports back from the Guests were very good; it’s not all about the shopping! All onboard for 17.00, we were away promptly with my 2nd Officer, JT, driving out. A reasonably straight forward manoeuvre, backing off the pier and swinging in to the deep water to the north west of the City. Aided by the offshore winds, the manoeuvre was conducted text-book and we were on our way out following the same passage in as executed this morning. Likewise to this morning, lady luck being on our side, the tidal conditions at the narrows was slack-water, smiley face.
Handing over to my Staff Captain, I made my way down for the Newcomers cocktail party. See you in Flam.
Captain Stuart Horne
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