Skip to navigation Skip to content
< Back to Saga Sapphire blog

29th June, 2018


The past two days at sea were, personally, enjoyable for me. It was the first opportunity to catch up with work since embarking on the 20th June in Dover. The two sea days were with relatively good seas, however, we were beset by cloud and wind from the North West.

On the run up we decided to reconfigure the itinerary as there was a challenge with one of our key tours in Hammerfest, which includes a visit to the Sami people. At short notice it became undeliverable on the scheduled day because there was a Sami wedding taking place. Fortunately we could switch Hammerfest and Honningsvag without impacting the overall itinerary. “All the right ports, not necessarily in the right order”!

At 0300 this morning we embarked our pilot at Hekkingen station, off the large island of Kvaloya, marking our entrance into the fjords and islands off the Norwegian shore. A four hour inland sea passage took Saga Sapphire up toward the island of Tromsoya. To get to Tromso we had to navigate under the road bridge on the west side of the island, which connects Tromsoya to Kvaloya. The bridge has an air draft of 41 meters, this means to say the clear span is 41 meters from sea-level. With our forward mast folded down, and a water draft of 8.5 meters, the air draft of the Saga Sapphire is 40 meters. We have passed under this bridge many times, but it is always a ‘will we, won’t we’ moment! Approaching, you are mentally dragged to look skyward just to make sure we slide under, after all we are talking about three feet clearance. To boot the span legs are only 90 meters apart - focussed navigation required. I have attached a picture of the Tromso road bridge.

Coming around the top of the island we headed south toward our Tromso berth, berthing ahead of schedule at 0730. Staff Captain Franko did the driving, nice swing onto the berth – patience as always is required with Saga Sapphire. Once alongside the ship was cleared by the authorities, and my passengers were free to ‘launch’ themselves into Norway. A good array of tours here and a frequent shuttle bus service into the town, about 10 minutes away.

A change of Norwegian Pilots, late in the day, and further conversations about the ability to execute the revised itinerary were finally agreed just before departure. It was a rather a cloudy, wet and cool day but my guests were as chirpy as you could be. Cleary, Saga Sapphire guests are a savvy bunch – coming prepared for North Cape latitudes!

All guests on-board and with reports of a successful tour programme, Emmeline, Chief Officer, took the ship off the berth and we set course northward through the Fjords reaching open sea at midnight. From here it was North easterly courses up toward the Cape for our call at Honningsvag.

My bunk is calling me…

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.