Life at the end of the road

November 6, 2019

Battling to the North Cape :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:02 am

Only 16:00 now and it’s been dark for hours, the MS Lofoten has no stabilizers, quite a narrow beam and we’re crossing the ‘open sea’ now with the remnants of a northerly gale still making themselves felt. The ‘weather’ was a few days ago and has left a lazy northerly motion which is on our beam. Nothing serious, quite pleasant in fact, so long as you are not trying to carry any drinks Smile Though, with the price of everything in Norway, especially alcohol, that doesn’t happen very often Smile 

Today we were scheduled for a tour of Nordkapp, the North Cape https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Cape_(Norway) Europe’s northernmost mainland point, though it is actually on the island of Mageroya  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mager%C3%B8ya albeit connected to mainland Norway by a 4 mile long tunnel !!! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Cape_Tunnel 

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In weather that would have ground Britain to a halt we berthed at Honnigsvag https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honningsv%C3%A5g and boarded a bus for the 45 minute journey to Nordkapp. It did not go well Sad smile 

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The road conditions which proved adequate for our large Volvo bus had brought an articulated lorry to a halt further up the road.

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The bus driver phoned the highways department (yes, 200miles inside the Arctic circle in the middle of nowhere the friggin phones work) who recommended we turn around. Something that a 20 ton bus would struggle doing on a good day but our driver achieved with ease. So, like the Scharnhorst, we lost the ‘battle of the North Cape’  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_North_Cape Smile Still we had plenty of other attractions to see, like the most northerly Shell filling station in the world and Europe’s most northerly roundabout Smile

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Our big green and white bus dropped us off at the only building left standing when the Germans retreated in 1945 and most of us meandered slowly back to the harbour.

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Me, I spent a fascinating afternoon watching snow clearing Norwegian style Smile Had to laugh, just noticed my son in one of the pictures I took with a powerful zoom across the harbour, ‘like father, like son’ another boodly ‘anorak’ Smile

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Then I wandered about checking out the boats, it was a busy harbour for sure

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with a couple of boats heading off into the Arctic night, around 14:45 Smile

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And here on the quayside a mere 1311 miles from the North Poles lies four blades of an awfully expensive variable pitch propeller Smile I do hope someone put the right postcode on it Smile

17:50 and we just departed Kjollefjord after discharging some cargo and passengers, sad I know but I really like this ‘cruise with a difference’ Smile 

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November 4, 2019

King Neptune’s blessing :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:15 pm

Well we are some 200 odd miles north of the Arctic Circle now, having just left Tromso, which is Norway’s ‘northern capital’ if there is such a thing https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troms%C3%B8_(city) We actually crossed the Arctic Circle yesterday but King Neptune was busy so we didn’t have the ceremony until today Smile Perhaps he works ‘22 days on 22 days off’ like the rest of the crew and he was ‘off shift’ Smile I wonder how that works cos, unlike us at CalMac, their ‘change over days’ will always be different, so they’ll change at a different port every shift I guess. Anyway, there were one or two different faces aboard today and we have a new Master, perhaps he’s King Neptune in disguise Smile

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, nature and water Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water

Anyway, after leaving Haarstad around 7:00am, having yet another monster herring, caviar and other fishy delights breakfast we went to summon King Neptune. Sure there’s the usual fried egg, bacon and sausage for people with a less than nautical palate but hey, I can get that at home anytime hey.

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The first recipient of King Neptune’s blessing was this German lady who won the ‘guess what time we cross the line competition’. Along with her signed (by the Master) Hurtigruten ‘house flag’ and crow berry wine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empetrum_nigrum she was also the first to get the ladle of ice cubes down the back. Andre the Viking and I being the last but he had the good sense (or lunacy) to remove his shirt first. They breed them tough at this latitude Smile

An hour or two up the coast to Finnsnes where we tied up for 30 minutes

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and had a walk into town.

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I could have sworn I saw John and Murdo on the roof of a house near the pier Smile John and Murdo being a pair of hooded crows that live at Arnish. Having seen many a live lamb or sickly sheep have it’s eyes plucked out or umbilical cord complete with belly eaten I’ve shot plenty. Must be getting soft in my old age cos I’ve gotten quite fond of my two. Like most creatures in life ‘they’re just trying to get by’ Smile Well apart from the mink I guess but that’s an American import and like junk food I can do without it  Smile

Gone to the dogs

Three hours sailing and an excellent lunch later we berthed at Tromso around 14:30,

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just as the Arctic dusk was arriving. It had been snowing steadily and we were going dog sledding, something that I cannot say has been high on my priorities of things ‘to do’ and most certainly didn’t appear on my ‘bucket list’. Well, make sure you put it on yours, it is a great experience Smile

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Even in the dark with cold snow on yer face it’s a joy Smile

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After the trip we got to meet some of the dugs, not all 300 plus right enough but quite a few.

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The whole pack of them made less noise and were better behaved than Molly and Leah Smile

That was it really, we had an excellent dinner, saw the northern lights again and now I’m off to bed somewhere above 70 degrees north, which is a couple of hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle.

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