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2nd July, 2013


The weather back from Spitsbergen was not particularly pleasant, a night of thick fog followed by a large swell of around 13ft on the bow that was less than pleasant for our more delicate travellers -  despite the sunshine on the second sea day.

We picked up the pilot at Fedje at 08:30 to commence our run in through the fjords towards Bergen. When the pilot came up to the Bridge there was that instant look of recognition as we were both surprised to see a familiar face. The pilot, Jan, was formally a Second Officer I’d sailed with on a shuttle tanker 10 years ago and the 2 ½ hour pilotage gave us the opportunity to catch up on what we’d been up to since we’d last sailed together.

Even more surprisingly we were also the only cruise ship in Bergen today, a rarity given the popularity of the port and that it was peak season.  Bergen which means mountain is not surprisingly surrounded by mountains giving it its own micro climate. There has been a settlement here since medieval times and the colourful waterfront buildings of the Hanseatic Wharf, known as the Bryggen, are testament to its fascinating history of trade. As Norway’s best known medieval settlement, the Bryggen is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With the sun now also shining, our passengers went ashore grateful for the respite of the ship's movement of the previous 36 hours as they went out to explore the historical city. Fortunately the journey south towards Dover was forecast to be a calm one!

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