Saturday 13th September
Overnight we travelled northwards in between the Lofoten Islands. This wall of volcanic rock has been cut by the ice and the sea into mountainous and rocky islands. Our ship called in several ports and threaded its way to the open sea at Harstad. Our last call in the Lofoten Islands will be at Finnsnes.
After a short call in the very small port we negotiated very narrow channels to reach Tromso. The town is described as ‘The Arctic Gateway’. From here most of the Arctic expeditions of the 19th and early 20th century departed. On the waterfront is the Polar Museum which charts human activity in the Far North. Amundsen, the Norwegian bi-polar explorer, had this town as his base.
It was afternoon when we arrived but the light was the equivalent to early evening at home. The fjord here connects with the Norwegian Sea and so is tidal. When the tide meets one of the fastest sea currents in the world it makes reverse direction waves which are like mini tidal waves. These stir up the fish and the sea birds have a ‘fish fest’. There is a high concrete bridge here which we will sail under, with the Arctic Cathedral to our starboard at 18:30 p.m.
Overnight we will leave the Lofotens, cross open sea to reach Hammerfest, the most northerly town in the world.