Monday, August 21, 2017

Honningsvag - North Cape - 13th July, 2017

We arrived in Honningsvag at 12 noon.  Honningsvag, in Medieval times, was believed to lie on the edge of the world !!, however, since it has taken us a day and a half to sail from Longyearbyen, they were obviously mistaken !!  We had lunch with the Swedish connection and Vanessa and Richard, and then we decided to leave the ship to have a look around the town. 

The weather was cold but not freezing, but quite foggy. We went into the local supermarket and pharmacy but other than that there was not a lot to see. Dinner tonight was informal, as the majority of the passengers were doing a transfer to the North Cape.  Our transfer was at 9.15pm.  The bus ride took around 40 mins to the North Cape, and along the way we stopped at a souvenir shop on the side of the road.  The were Sami people cooking traditional food, there was also a reindeer and the traditional form of housing was a teepee. 

 The scenery was very pretty in the parts where it wasn't foggy, and we managed to see some reindeer in the wild.  On arrival at North Cape, there at least 20 or 30 coaches, hundreds of people. We sat and had Hot Chocolate, before we walked out into the fog, and stood at the what used to be thought of as the edge of the world. 
We left North Cape about 11.45pm, again the scenery was amazing, for the drive back down the mountain to the ship.  The ship sailed at 2.45am, into a heavy swell.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

At Sea - Between Longyearbyen and Honningsvag - 12th July 2017

 A relaxing day at sea, sailing towards Honningsvag.  This morning we went to see the Iceberg that was collected by the Tender Boat last night.  It was on display in the covered pool area.  It was quite spectacular and weighed in at 300kg

We spent some time during the later part of the morning at the Polar Party with King Neptune and the Entertainment Crew and received our certificates for crossing the Arctic Polar Circle, 

 and then spent most of the afternoon with Pia, Anders, Brittmari and Ulf, our Swedish Friends, before a massage late in the afternoon before Gala night Dinner with Vanessa and Richard

Longyearbyen (Svalbard) 11th July, 2017

We arrived in Longyearbyen this morning at 7.00am.  Longyearbyen is the capital of Svalbard, and is the most northerly inhabited town in the world !!! wow !! and we were here !!!  This was in the Daily Program :  “ ATTENTION:  Due to the possible presence of Polar Bears, guests are invited to walk always on the main streets and to take paths only if escorted by a local ranger. “  Our excursion for today is “A Pant in the Country - The Amazing Dog Sled Tour”.   We left the ship at about 11.30am and were driven in 4 Wheel Drives into the country.  On arrival we needed to change into something similar to boiler suits, except they were in bright safety green - very becoming !!!.  While changing one of the assistants asked where we were from ! On finding out we were Australian, she broke into typical Aussie talk, and explained she was also Australian and had been working in Sweden with dogs previously, but that it wasn't far enough away from family, so she moved to Longyearbyen, where she had been for the past 3 years.
They then started preparing the dogs and sleds - more like small wagons that were on wheels, due to the fact that there wasn't any snow on the ground as it was summer.  It was about 7-8 degrees, which is apparently a hot day for the dogs !!.  14 Husky dogs were harnessed to the front of each sled, which contained 6 people and the guide, who was equipped with a rifle and and a survival pistol just in case there were any Polar Bears - eeek !! We were pulled along for about 2 klms, before we stopped to water the dogs, this happened at regular intervals, as it was hot for the dogs.  We learned that the dogs work best at -14 deg, when the snow is firmly packed


During dinner that night, an announcement was made, that due to the nice weather the Captain had obtained permission to leave to planned route and sail further up the fjord to Pyramiden, where there was a glacier, and that they would launch the tender and collect a large piece of an iceberg.  It took approximately 90 mins to reach the Glacier.  Wow !!! It was amazing !!!Which would then be bought on board the ship and displayed in the Pool area tomorrow.  We watched the ship sail towards to glacier with Vanessa and Richard (from Canada) in there suite until after midnight,and then went to Deck 14 as the ship started to turn again.


Another very late night, or should I say early morning, but what an experience with more incredible scenery !!!

After the Tender returned to the ship, we started our journey towards the North Cape, with more spectacular scenery

At Sea - Tromso to Svalbard - 10th July, 2017

Today we were at sea again, heading toward Svalbard. We had breakfast in the cabin, followed by a very relaxing day.  The scenery was even more spectacular than last night and we sat and watched it go by until around 2am, which was still

daylight. I left John on Deck 14, completely fascinated by the scenery !! Its very difficult to go to bed with such amazing scenery and when it looks like its mid afternoon.  Luckily the cabin has fantastic blackout curtains !!!