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15th June, 2013



After passing through Karmsundat, which culminates just after passing under Karmsund Suspension Bridge, and sailing past the city of Haugesund, Saga Sapphire continued onward, weaving in and out of channels and fjords, finally entering Hardangerfjord in the small hours of the morning.

Hardangerfjord is Norway’s second largest fjord after Sognafjord, and is 111 statute miles long. Jondal is about 25 miles from the innermost end of the fjord and is home to the fjords largest church, nicknamed the Hardanger Cathedral. It is also a popular destination for summer skiers and snowboarders.

Situated in a small and quiet bay within the fjord, Jondal is a tender port. It is not a port suitable for larger cruise ships and indeed, Saga Sapphire is really even a little on the large size to comfortably anchor there.


In order to ensure that the ship has enough room to swing about the anchor it is necessary to anchor 2 cables (2 tenths of a nautical mile) from the nearest obstruction or land. This allows for the length of the ship (just over one cable in length) and the scope of the anchor cable put out. Fortunately it was a nice and calm day with no wind so anchoring was achievable. Even with only a two cable swing circle finding a patch of fjord shallow enough to anchor in can be an art form.

In the end we anchored in 80 m of water (about twice the depth of most of the North Sea), running in towards the land with the anchor walked down to “3 shackles on deck” until it touched the bottom and started to lead astern. At this point we “let go” whilst coming astern on the engines to ensure the anchor's cable was suitably laid out on the fjords floor. Of course we have echo sounders and electronic charts but the physical indicator of the anchor touching the bottom is reassuring on such a steeply shelving underwater topography, particularly when getting it wrong by a ship length could have you letting the anchor go in 300m of water with inevitable disastrous consequences.

Once the vessel was “brought up” to single anchor, it wasn’t long before the ship's tenders were running to and fro from ship to shore taking passengers to Jondal.

It was only a short call in at the quaint village in Hardangerfjord and at 14:30 we started “shortening the cable” on the anchor whilst we recovered the last tender. With the tender safely raised above the water Saga Sapphire continued to recover the anchor before proceeding towards our next port of call.

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.