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3rd March, 2016

Tromso, Norway

Tromso is the largest Norwegian town north of the Arctic Circle. Troms County includes the adjacent mainland; Tromsoy Island is linked to the mainland by a bridge and the town is served by an airport and is a starting point and support base for arctic expeditions.

The first of our excursions leaving the ship today was the Overview of Tromso tour. This tour began with a short drive to the Tromso Museum where passengers enjoyed a guided tour and learnt about the challenges facing the native Sami people as they struggle to preserve their way of life. Continuing then with a drive past Lake Prestvatn and the meteorological institute, the world renowned Northern Lights Observatory, the place where Hitler’s Tirpitz was finally sunk by British Lancasters in November 1944, and the modern architecture of the breathtaking Arctic Cathedral. Our guests then much enjoyed their cable car ride up Mount Storsteinen for a stunning bird’s eye view of the city and its magnificent surroundings.

Another excursion was the popular Reindeer Sledding and Sami Experience tour. Departing the pier passengers drove to the other side of Troms Island and then across the 1335 yard long Sandnessund Bridge to Whale Island where the Tromso friluftsenter is situated, a journey of approximately half an hour. Upon arrival passengers were greeted by their Sami host who explained about a little about the centre and the activities on offer. Passengers were then taken to meet a small herd of specially trained reindeers, (apparently Rudolph was not present!), ready to take everyone on an old-fashioned sled ride, which saw them travel quietly through the pristine Norwegian winter landscape, hearing nothing but the jingle of the reindeers’ bells as they meandered sedately along.

After their reindeer experience our passengers enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and Bidos (a traditional Sami meal consisting of reindeer meat) in a traditional lavvo tent. The local guide then told stories about the Sami people, their history and way of life and the art of lasso throwing which our guests were able to try themselves.

We departed in the early evening and continue our journey yet further north, and as I write this we have just caught our very first glimpse of the Aurora, a faint wisp but most definitely there and it most certainly bodes well for the forthcoming days!

Captain Wesley Dunlop

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