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30th June, 2018


The overnight passage from Tromso saw the ship navigate the 50 miles of inside passage to the seaway between Nord Fugloya to the NW and Arnoya to the SE . Once outside we were in brisk NW’ly conditions and a fair sea running with the skies heavy with rain-laden cloud. At 0300 we passed back over the ‘baseline’ and entered the waterway between Mageroy and Masoya. On the easterly approach before the short run up to the Berth at Honningsvag the wind was indicating 50 knots, that is a local F10. Fortunately I had sped up earlier in the morning to give myself more ‘thinking’ time on arrival.

To add to the challenge, another large cruise ship was due to in Honningsvag with only one tug available. After discussion with the Captain on the other cruise ship, and with his assigned berth northward [windward] of ours, we agreed it would be best for him to lead. It took an hour for the other cruise ship to berth and then it was my turn. 

With the tug at full power and maximum thrust, we pinned the ship on the ‘half-berth’ whilst we got all the knitting out back and front. Ultimately although we were a little later than planned, I know my guests appreciated that we did achieve the call into Honningsvag. To enable the ship to remain alongside required the bridge team and mooring stations to be constantly on duty. All credit to the Deck hands for a hard day’s work.

Whilst it was howling in Honningsvag the tour offering was fantastic and my guests were coming back on-board absolutely ecstatic. All the "work" was worthwhile then. The ship was cleared for departure at 20.00, whilst we watched the other cruise ship sail. We needed to use the tug she was using.

Outwardly not a tricky sailing, we were pointed the right way and that good stuff, but with 30 knots of wind and obstructions on our port quarter, we had to let go our mooring lines quickly and get the engines started so we did not drift across the Harbour, as one cruise ship did the previous week! However, with the tug using full power to keep the stern alongside and using maximum thrust use for the bow, we carefully we let one mooring ‘go’ at a time. As the last head-rope was let go, the bow drifted down-wind and it was ‘both engines’ ahead to clear the southerly working pier. Once clear of the ‘half-pier’ and using the tug to push the stern up into the wind, we came nicely into the middle of the channel and cleared the harbour of Honningsvag shortly after 2100.

Next up, passing the North Cape at midnight. It’s a three hour run from Honningsvag, around the east coast of Mageroy before setting a westerly course to pass close-in off the North Cape. Getting the position right to be there at Midnight facing west for the midnight sun is always the objective. Perfect timing, bang –on at midnight, the North Cape and the Midnight sun party in the Drawing room was in full swing with 200 guests.

Once clear of the Cape we set course for Hammerfest and the forecast was, wait for it, good - even some 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.