10th March, 2022
Heading south again on Tuesday & Wednesday, the snow on our decks started to melt as we left the icy climes of the fjords and headed out to sea again – albeit only 3oC, the sea temperature had a marked effect on warming the air temperature above zero. That evening, we had our best display of Northern Lights yet – they really danced across the sky.
The following day whilst crossing latitude 66o North, our traditional ‘Blue Nose’ ceremony took place in Britannia Lounge, awarding those guests who had not crossed the Arctic Circle before with a stiff shot of fine Norwegian Vodka.
The sun shone but it was breezy outside, sea spray adding to the white background of the snow-capped Lofoten Islands on the horizon to the east.
Just after 06:00 on Thursday saw us weave between outlying rocks on the Norwegian coast, making our way inland again to a new port for me: Kristiansund. Nestled in some outlying islands part-way up Norway’s western coast, this little fishing town rarely sees cruise ships apart from the regular service provided by Hurtigruten, the nation’s little expedition/cruise-ferries.
Arriving into the harbour entails transiting a 100m gap through two islands before swinging the ship and squeezing onto the small ferry berth. Several residents had woken up early to witness our arrival and wave at us from their windows in their PJ’s…
Once alongside, the eager early explorers were down the gangway first to pop into town, only a few minutes’ walk away. Our tour trips today consisted of guided walks around town, highlights of the town by bus, and a voyage to marble caves along the impressive Atlantic Road.
I popped ashore for an hour or so at lunchtime to stretch my legs; it was the sort of town centre one could easily explore. There was also a little ferry which circulated on ‘hopper’ trips around the harbour for free – I bumped into a number of guests who had found and taken advantage of this local treat.
After a warming bowl of Norwegian meat & veg stew, it was time to head back on board and take up position behind my desk to continue the duties of a modern shipmaster…
Late afternoon came around all too quickly, when it was time to squeeze through the islands again, tooting the whistle at the waving locals, before venturing back out into the North Sea for our 2 day journey back to Southampton.
Captain Kim Tanner
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