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1st July, 2018


The overnight passage became easier as we progressed further South West. I was on the bridge for 0400 this morning as we crossed back into the inland seaways off the Norwegian coastline. The morning showed signs of hope for some break in the cloud out to the west, and the wind had eased off but was still fresh in the southwest…. hope!

On departure form Honningsvag last night I negotiated with the tug skipper, who was on station there, to rendezvous with us at Hammerfest. If you recollect there are no Tugs at Honningsvag and are all based at Hammerfest. The tug skipper would have to go full tilt through the inside routes to get to Hammerfest before Saga Sapphire. Added to the ‘rush’ was that the tugs at Hammerfest were busy with other traffic on morning of our call. The requirement, from the tug skipper, was that I had to be at the Hammerfest breakwater for 0700 - ahead of our advertised schedule if I wanted his services. So, the deal was made, I would be at Hammerfest for 0700, latest.

So, the irony: This morning, shaping up for Hammerfest, the skipper hailed me on the VHF at 0615 to say he was on standby, but looking out of the window I saw the wind had eased to around 15 knots. It was off the berth and as Andy, Safety Officer was driving in, it was a good opportunity for him to park with the tug just on standby. Patience required, yet again, but eventually we were alongside utilising the mooring ropes. Early arrival meant we were all sorted in plenty of time for our Guests to get away on tour.

The day started fresh and a bit overcast, but as the day drew on conditions improved with even some passing sunshine. Despite the ongoing weather, it is July [!] the feedback from my guests was very positive. They really do have large reindeer in Hammerfest, as the picture shows!

Departure was on schedule at 1830. Rob, 2nd officer took the vessel off the berth. There was ample water off the pier, but not so much right astern. Therefore a slow manoeuvre to allow the bow to be slowly pushed past the quay, metres off, thus ensuring that the stern was driving into the deep water abeam, rather than the lack of water astern.

Once clear we had a nice coastal passage sorted for the evening viewing, as it was such a pleasant evening. I have attached a little ‘chartlet’ depicting the route we took, and no, this is not the navigation chart!

In addition we had the ORCA team on the open deck chatting about whale sightings and other marine wildlife, really very popular.

Tomorrow we have lined up a lovely passage off the Island of Hinnoya, there is promise of sunshine!

Captain Stuart Horne

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.