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24th March, 2013



By seven the following morning we were passing the Arctic Circle in calm seas and early morning sunshine, and for the remainder of the day we were blessed with blue skies and wonderful views of small water side hamlets, rocky shores and snow-capped mountains as we passed through Norway’s outer fjords. Torghatten, the famous mountain with the hole passed by at lunchtime and we sailed under Rorvik’s road bridge during afternoon tea, with just a metre or so to spare above the funnel.

There was an exchange of Norwegian pilots as we passed Kristiansund in the middle of the night and, before breakfast, the island on which Alesund is situated came into view. It is a pretty town and these days tunnels connect it to the other nearby islands and the mainland. Being a Sunday the shops were closed so the two of us decided to walk up to a restaurant that sits on top of Mount Aksla. We could see from the ship that a few like minded souls, in their RJ’s, had the same idea as they were easy to spot even from half a mile away. Over 400 steps meant a certain amount of deep breathing before the top was reached, but the views were spectacular.

Some folks took the fast ferry all day excursion up to Geiranger fjord, others to the islands of Giske and Godoy, while another tour went off to see the art nouveau for which the town is famous. It was a lovely day and just before we departed three more pilots arrived, one an apprentice. He was great tall chap who stood on the bridge wing in his shirt sleeves. The Staff Captain and I meanwhile were still layered up to keep out the chilly evening air. I suggested he was making us look just a trifle over dressed, to which he smilingly replied that he had ‘internal insulation’.

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