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7th July, 2016


The crossing of the North Sea was in fair sunny conditions as we headed off on our cruise ‘Into the Arctic Circle’, a two week voyage to the very top of Norway. Our first harbour pilot was scheduled to board at 5 am and as we approached the coast the ‘Norge’, a private small ship belonging to the Norwegian Royal family passed ahead looking quite superb in the golden skies of sunrise.

Stavanger was still fairly quiet as we arrived, but on our jetty there was a lorry loaded with brand new roof trusses. Needless to say there was some amusing conversation suggesting the refit period was not quite finished. In fact it was only the vehicles crane that was to be used, to place the shore gangway on board.

A variety of tours were on offer, including a drive down to a small settlement at the head of Lysefjord, perhaps more famous for Pulpit Rock which towers almost 2000 feet above the waters. Mrs R and I have also, in the past, taken the ferry to the delightful Flor and Fjære Gardens situated on the small fjord island of Sør Hidle. On this occasion we decided to join a group taking the ‘Occupation of Stavanger’ tour which included the Rogaland War Museum housed in an old military barracks and the ‘Fly Historisk Museum’. The latter had many planes safely under cover in an original hangar built in 1942 next to the Harsfjord from where German seaplanes operated. The collection includes a couple of small airliners, some early jet fighters and a magnificently restored Catalina flying boat. A Messerschmitt 109 is being rebuilt and a Heinkel seaplane fished out of the fjord a few years ago is also being slowly preserved in an ‘as found’ condition.

The same truck came to take our gangway off before leaving, this time without the roof trusses. I have been assured that they are not hidden away under canvas somewhere behind the funnel.

Captain Philip Rentell

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