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16th June, 2013


On leaving Jondal Saga Sapphire made her way back down the Hardangerfjord. Before the fjord reaches the open sea, we altered course to starboard into a strait called Langenuen. This strait then connected into Raunefjord, which the ship also travelled though. After passing under the Stongi Bridge, just before reaching the city of Bergen the fjord forks: alter course to starboard and you are only a few miles from Bergen, keep heading in a more northerly direction with a small adjustment of coarse to port and you find yourself in Hjeltefjord which derives its name from the old Norse for Shetland, as this made up part of the primary route to the islands from Bergen.

At Holmengra we left the fjords temporarily for a few hours, with rocks and islands kept fairly close by on the starboard side and open sea to port we proceeded due north. By now it was quite late so the decks were clear of passengers and with sea conditions calm it made more sense to keep it simple and have a few hours respite from the winding fjords. Had the weather been different or had it been a more sociable hour, I had another route up my sleeve.

We entered another strait call Froysjoen at around 2am and proceeded along its 14 nautical mile length until reaching Hornelsfjord. Saga Sapphire is about as large a cruise ship as is allowed to transit this area with restrictions in place for vessels longer than 210m (Saga Sapphire is 199.6m). Passing a well-marked rock in the middle of the Skatstrauman, after the Hornelsfjord, that sits just 4m (12ft) beneath the surface we made a sharp turn into the Nordfjord, finally! Making a note of the interesting stretch of water between Froysjoen and Nordfjord I decided to ensure our return passage also took in this area, as at 3am in the twilight none of our passengers were around to see it!

Olden, our destination sits at the end of the Nordfjord and by 8am we were alongside having picked up a shadow in the form of another cruise ship, the Minerva, in the Nordfjord. The Minerva (formally Saga Pearl, which many of our regular passengers will be familiar with) anchored off of Olden, running its tenders to the jetty astern of us.

It had been a few years since I’d been to the small town of Olden, and a few new houses had been built since my previous visits, but other than that it largely remained the same. This port was the one where original weather forecasts indicated a day of rain for our stay; however since then they’d evidently changed their minds with the later forecasts more accurately forecasting sunshine.

With everyone back aboard we sailed from Olden at 1700, and having turned in the morning, ensured that sail away was not hampered by the late afternoon wind that was guaranteeing the flags on the ship as well as those in the gardens of the local houses could be seen in full.

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.