9th September, 2019
Here we are, yet another beautiful spot inside the Norwegian Archipelago, Tromso. But before I throw some words at this Blog, I have, as promised attached a photograph of the North Cape as we sailed through last night. Remarkable weather! The Pilot travelled with us from Honningsvag to Tromso, saves all that malarkey of transferring to and from Pilot launches, slowing down the ship for embarkation, ah, far too much of a nuisance, so the Pilot remained onboard.
At 0500 we passed over the ‘base line’, an imaginary line on the chart, north of the Island of Armoya, which means the Pilot has to be on the Bridge, and indeed he was; we set a southerly course to navigate between the island towards Tromso. It was a pleasant run down, if overcast - the forecast was for blue skies early afternoon, fingers crossed.
As we approached the point for swinging the ship onto the berth, a number of things occurred. A military coastal protection vessel was maundering in exactly the wrong place, the actual tidal flow was contradictory to what I had been advised and the wind blew up, a bit of a habit this, to 35 knots. This required a strategic rethink on the approach to the berth and with no Tugs available, it was going to be interesting. I swung north of the berth and backed the ship down against the wind. Once abeam of the berth, I had a small slot into which to fit the Saga Sapphire, I edged the ship sideway on the wind. It’s a bit like going downhill with no brakes and using your gears against the engine. Still, a great plan that did pay off, even if it took a bit of time.
I was a little late alongside, but, thankfully, the Shore Excursion were not affected, and another positive, the sun did shine and it was relatively warm, about 10 degrees warmer than yesterday!
With all aboard at 1630, well behaved are my Guests this cruise, we executed our departure from the berth at 1700. A bit of a glitch with the ‘Pilot’s’ and availability, but, where there is a will, there is a way. It’s a fantastic passage from Tromso to Narvik, all on the inside passage and with relatively late twilights and early sunrises, it’s a beautiful experience, just a shame it was overnight.
Using a Tug to lift off the berth, we proceed on our almost complete circumnavigation of the island Tromsoya, given that there is a bridge just south of our berth that was too low for Saga Sapphire to safely pass under - without remodelling the bridge. You can see the bridge in one of the attached photographs.
It’s going to be a long night, I have to be up on the Bridge for three Pilot change-overs, 2330, 0300 and 0630, as well navigating the narrows between 0430 and 0600. Yawn!
Sunset was rather impressive as the photographs show. We are on our way to Narvik and I am on my way to bed.
Captain Stuart Horne
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