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14th June, 2013



We left windy, grey Dover and headed in a northerly direction putting the wind on the stern. During the night the wind was gusting force 7 at times, but with no swell and a reduction in the speed of the wind over the ships decks due to its relative direction, ensured that even the worst sailors aboard would not notice the ship's negligible movement.

The following day at sea, after a cloudy morning the sun came out and the wind died away. The weather outlook for our time in Norway was looking mixed, though the forecast confidence was low leaving room for optimism that any forecast rain would not make an appearance.

Having picked the pilot up at 6am Saga Sapphire made her way in towards Stavanger ready to be all fast alongside for 8am. The manoeuvre alongside was fairly routine, turning before the berth and backing into position on the quay opposite the white clapboard houses of the old town. I say white, but one was painted blue, and stood out rebelliously amongst all the remaining 18th and 19th century dwellings. Our view over the old town didn’t last long, with the Queen Elizabeth’s arrival on the opposite berth soon obstructing it.

Stavanger is referred to as the “Petroleum Capital of Norway” and is Norway’s 3rd largest city. The revenue from the oil industry has however made it the most affluent in terms of financial wealth. The pilots certainly indicate that the local house prices have soared as a result.


We departed Stavanger at 9 pm and set course towards Karmsundet, to commence our interesting passage through fjords, dodging islets and rocks marked by buoys and beacons on the way to our next port of call. Just after departing the main port the monstrous silhouette of the vessel “Saipem 7000” could be seen against the setting sun. This is the world’s second largest crane vessel with each of its 2 cranes capable of lifting 7000 tonnes on its 140 metre boom arms. It can be crewed by up to 700 persons and is used in the construction of offshore oil and gas rigs as well as their decommissioning. Its presence in Stavanger just goes to highlight the importance oil industry has on the city.

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.