The morning was spent relaxing and admiring the beautiful views of snowy mountains as they passed by, I love the relaxed way of life of the ship that by now we were well into. In the afternoon I went to a lecture about Norwegian explorers of the Arctic and Antarctic. It was dark by time the ship docked in Tromsø. Tromsø is a place I have always wanted to visit, the setting is so beautiful. But unfortunately as it was dark I couldn't see that.
|Kitted up for Whale Watching|
After a while I went to join some others who had gone onto the viewing deck. To do so I had to squeeze up a steep flights of steps and onto the deck which didn't really have anything to hold onto! The rails were very low and there were no seats, scary! Like a few others in order to feel stable and safe, I leaned back on a window and stayed there as the boat flew along the fjord at quite a pace, I hoped that I wouldn't need the survival suit lol!. Unfortunately there were no shoals of herring showing on the radar which meant there were no whales. But while we were on deck we saw a beautiful aurora. It was vivid green and was directly overhead and stretched like a ribbon above the fjord and snow covered mountain tops, twisting and twirling along itself. For me it made up for not seeing the whales. I was relieved to squeeze down the steep steps and back into the warmth and safety of the cabin.
Later as the Nordnorge left Tromsø I stood on deck, the city swith it's sparkling light looked beautiful. Snow started to fall as the lights slipped away and I thought how lucky I was to be able to come on a trip like this.
Ever north we go, I loved seeing all the new places we stopped at, and watching locals getting on and off. Supplies were loaded and unloaded. Cars waiting in tiny Arctic villages to pick up a loved one, I wondered what their stories were.
|Near the North Cape|
Today our main stop was Honningsvåg on the island of Magerøya which is almost the most northerly point Europe. Marian had opted to go on a trip to the northernmost place in Europe, the North Cape while I went on a trip to two fishing villages. It was very cold here but it was bright and sunny.
|The Winter and Christmas House|
|The East of the Sun Gallery|
We left the snug Christmas House and the Arctic cold hit me, onto the bus and off to the next visit which is the village of Kamoyvaer where we visited the East of the Sun Gallery. This is the gallery of Eva Schmutterer from Germany who came to Kamoyvaer many years ago after meeting and marrying a Norwegian from the area. She was inspired by the amazing landscape and wildlife of the region and produces amazing paper collages. I loved her work and it was very reasonably priced so I bought three prints. I had a little wander around the village afterwards, it was very isolated and it felt really Arctic. Places like Tromso didn't feel really Arctic to me but here it did, as fascinating as I found it I couldn't live here.
|Fishing Boats at Kamoyvaer|
Later that day we had a talk on the Sami culture which was enlightening. Many of the Sami people live a nomadic life across the northern areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia and at this time of year are in the east so we wouldn't be seeing any Sami or reindeer. We had the usual talk from Bjorn and David and learned that gulls drink seawater and filter the salt out through glands in the head and the salt is excreted through their noses - nature is amazing!
That evening we relaxed in the lounge on deck seven, my favourite place on the ship. It was quite stormy, after all we were now well into the Arctic on the Barents Sea, 742 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The easy going life on a ship is deceptive, you are travelling in wild waters and further than you realise.