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26th July, 2014


We left Dover on Thursday, a brisk north easterly breeze and low water in the harbour creating a slight challenge for the manoeuvre, but within the hour the ship was passing the Goodwin Sands, butting a strong southerly tide. By the following day the wind had, in the main, disappeared and clear visibility gave a good view to those who might be interested in North Sea steel work, dozens of assorted gas and oil platforms passed by on either side.

The Norwegian Police have apparently had a creditable threat of intended terrorist activity so we were obliged to step up our own precautions, no matter how remote the possibility may be, needless to say I am unable to let you know what they are, otherwise…….!

In fact Stavanger was heaving with all sorts of folk, having come into town to enjoy the Gladmat Festival, Scandinavia’s largest food fair which can attract up 250,000 visitors. From our berth the city centre was just a hundred yards away and there were plenty of marquee set up to attract our passengers, many of whom reported back that it was a splendid affair, not that they really needed to taste any more food I would have suggested.

The tours all went off as normal and it was interesting to hear that, because of such good weather over the summer, management at the beautiful Flor and Fjaere gardens are praying for rain as their normal reservoirs are just about empty. They have had no proper rain since April; I believe this must be just about unheard of in this, the rain capital of Europe.

We departed without incident and passed several of the world’s largest crane barges, in for service or waiting for more work, truly massive sea going structures which have eight lifeboats and cranes that pick up to 14,000 tons. A few hours later we passed under the bridge at Kopervik as we proceeded north and through the narrow scenic fjord off Haugesund, the evening sun reflecting off the obviously affluent properties on the eastern shore.

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.