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8th September, 2019


Overnight we retraced our passage of yesterday, around the North eastern shores of Norway back toward Mageroya. It’s a mixed bag of weather, from clear blue skies to angry clouds in a matter of hours, then sunshine again. Go figure!

After a spectacular sunset last night out in the open Barents sea, the skies cleared and the chance of the Aurora Borealis became a possibility. The NASA website were claiming the ‘right’ conditions, although somewhat early in the year for the Northern Lights. Just past midnight this morning my OOW called me to say the Northern Lights were playing. On the bridge gadding about in my ‘joggers’, not that I jog… I got the last glimpse, it was brief, there was cloud to contend with - but managed to get a picture. James, the OOW did a broadcast through public rooms and open decks, but at this time of night, most Saganautes are well tucked up. It’s one of those things, you can’t say when or where, it just happens.

Where are we today was my thoughts early this morning,, yes, one does forget where one is going, it’s not quite like going upstairs and saying “why am I here”, but you get the gist! Honningsvag is another lovely little Norwegian Harbour, principally attracting tourists for the North Cape but also the scenery and those rather large King-Crab. Have you seen these monsters?!

The sun rose at 0445 this morning to reveal the continuing blue skies, the local forecast was good and so I was hopeful for a great day.

The Pilot, whom embarked in Kirkenes, remained onboard for the Honningsvag arrival. To be fair, other than communicating with the linesmen ashore, they do not have a lot of ‘things’ to do in such ports as these. It’s all about the ship manoeuvring. Talking of manoeuvring, Staffy was driving in again today, as I stole his thunder in Kirkenes. It was a tight manoeuvre and onto a berth we have not used before. Having swung tightly, Staffy then backed down onto the berth we were moored alongside on time, although Denis, Staffy, had to fight the elements a little as a local wind freshened as we were coming astern, blowing the ship off the berth. It took a while to get the moorings out due to the distance we had to run the lines, but crucially, we were on schedule and the Guests were proceeding ashore at 0800.

What a lovely day. I wish I had taken the opportunity for the King-crab tour, so many positives from the returning Guests, and the vistas at the North Cape tour were stunning, so I was told. Me, I drove my desk all day.

On departure I had planned for a North Cape sail-by, so I was keen to get away briskly and, in addition, I needed to get a Formal night ‘in’ as well. Such a busy diary!

With JT, 2nd Officer, manoeuvring out this evening, a nice little manoeuvre, we started out on our semi-circumnavigation of Mageroya Island, keeping the shores on our port side, so an anti-clockwise navigation. Shortly before 1800, we made our close-in approach to the North Cape’s sheer cliff face, and the views were spectacular – it’s not often it is so calm and so clear here. Many of the Guest that took the ‘North Cape tour’ could now see it for the ‘sea-side’. Quite a perspective.

Unfortunately I have not got any photos, but I’ll ask around and see if I can get them into a later bog… better late than never!

With the shore line receding into the distance astern, we set course for Tromso and I dashed down to my Cocktail party, I was nearly late! Dinner done, I am just about off to bed, great ‘table’ tonight, good fun and far too many calories; although I need my sleep, another early ‘call’ in the morning. See you in Tromso.

Captain Stuart Horne

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