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14th March, 2015

Bergen, Norway

The North Sea was exceptionally kind to us as we headed up towards Norway, high pressure over Scandinavia driving the chilly winds that came up past our starboard quarter. Sunny, but calm, so many of our new guests were outside dressed in warm coats that had been packed specifically for this ‘Nordic Eclipse’ cruise, a solar eclipse that everyone is crossing their fingers for on March 20th. We have many new ‘Saganauts, some having come from as far as Texas and Queensland, and even St. Austell, just down the road from my home.

Those passengers who had decided to get up in time for our arrival in Bergen were amply rewarded as it was quite special, the sky turning a vivid pink over the mountains ahead as the ship turned eastwards and under one of the main bridges crossing the fjord. A brave few were on the top deck, dressed to the nines against the light chill wind created by our forward motion, and even when we had finally glided gracefully to our berthing position the temperature was still a mere 1 degree Celsius. Time for the long johns again, not a pretty sight.

The day remained just about perfect, blue sky throughout, no wind and even the temperature rose to around 13 degrees or so. The all day tour which took in the Flam railway left promptly before most of the other folk had even gone to breakfast. The other tours to Hardanger Fjord and sightseeing around Bergen itself had all gone by the time we started our crew emergency drill, an exercise in which I threw in a few ‘curved balls’ just to keep our officers on their toes.

We gave three long blasts to the old Marco Polo as we departed and there was much waving taking place between the two ships, a moment of maritime camaraderie. For the next two hours the sun eventually set, having been in our faces as we left, and the last of the crimson twilight hung on the western horizon until the pilot disembarked. We headed north into the increasing darkness, other ships lights becoming bright and the lighthouse at Fedje guiding us seawards.

Captain Philip Rentell

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