In my previous post, W1610 – Get a Grip , I described my visit to the first port of call on this cruise, to Kristiansund, Norway.
The next day (Thursday) we continued to sail north along the coast of Norway towards our second port Tromsø, which we were due to reach midday on Friday. This part of our journey is billed as ‘scenic cruising’, and rightly so as the scenery we passed as we threaded our way between the coast and the numerous islands, rocks and skerries that litter this coastline was stunning.
When I went out on deck that morning I only wished I had dragged myself from my bed sooner, as the light and scenery were perfect. The weather was glorious all day, so although I had done this route on three previous cruises, I saw it at its very best this time. I don’t think there is need for many words in this post, hopefully the pictures will speak for themselves:
An Australian seagull on migration 😉
Torghatten – the hole through the rock is completely natural – it was formed during the ice age, and is 160m long, 20m wide and 35m high. However legend has it that it was made by the troll Hestmannen while he was chasing a beautiful girl called Lekamøya. When the troll realised he could not catch her, he released an arrow to kill her. The King of the Trolls threw his hat in the path of the arrow to save her. The arrow pierced the hat, which then turned to stone:
The Seven Sisters – a range of seven mountain peaks all around 1000m high:
A little before we reached the marker for the Arctic Circle, the ship’s entertainment department put on the expected fun and games on deck to mark the event. On previous occasions senior management have been made to do things like kiss a raw fish, but this was a more sedate affair where passengers crossing the Arctic Circle for the first time were invited to be initiated into the Sacred Order of the Blue Nose by having their nose painted blue by the Lord of the Arctic and the King of Trolls, and then drinking a glass of Aquavit. As always it ended by various crew members being thrown in the pool:
Very soon afterwards we passed the little island with it’s globe marker for the Arctic Circle:
Late in the afternoon saw the absolute highlight of the day – we diverted down Holandsfjord to view the Svartisen (or Black) Glacier. This is the second largest glacier on mainland Norway, and it’s lowest reaches are the nearest to sea level of any on the European mainland. At the end of the fjord where the glacier is located the water was flat calm and the most amazing azure blue. The captain brought the ship to a graceful halt, and after pausing a while, slowly and silently completed two 360 degree turns of the ship on the spot to ensure everyone had a full view of this breathtaking scene. I’m not sure these photos do that scene justice – it was a wonderful finale to a great day’s scenic sailing:
Postscript At the end of the late evening show, the crew pulled back the curtains in the show lounge to reveal that the sun was just setting, although it was around 23:45 – a sure sign of how far north we had travelled already. I rushed outside to get these shots of the last sunset we would see for a while, and also of the moon on the opposite horizon: