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A few days on FINNMARKEN 25-29 September 2008

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    #46


    As still more local passengers queued to board, the American tourist group had already set off on one of their walks, and this time the guide really did have an umbrella, though this rapidly succumbed to the gusts of wind. Walking some distance behind them along the road, I quickly came face to face with several of the group who had thought better of the weather conditions and had decided to return to the ship. Such encounters were repeated all the way along the road up to the railway station, and by the time I had crossed over to Sjøgata I doubt if there was anyone left and the guide was nowhere to be seen.



    It was certainly a contrast to the snowy but blue-skied April of my last visit to the town, when I had stayed overnight to allow ample time at the aircraft museum. Now, with easier going underfoot, I soon reached the old Saltens Dampskibsselskab building, making my customary pause to admire the model of Nordkapp in the travel agent’s window, before continuing to the small boat harbour.


    Around the town I was noticing changes since my 2006 visit; a hole-in-the-ground was filled with a new building and a former fish restaurant had turned Thai.




    Near the City Hall were some sculptures I didn’t remember seeing before, though they may have simply been hidden behind piles of snow cleared from the pavement. Or had I crossed over into the next street after photographing the bell tower last time? The birch trees looked autumnal, emphasising the deep yellow ochre colour of the Norrlands Museum building. I took a few more photographs of to remind myself of such contrasts of weather and season before returning to the Hurtigruten quay.



    Rays of sunlight appeared momentarily between the clouds as Finnmarken departed.

    Comment


      #47


      The ferry “Bodø” was just behind, but made a sharp turn to cut through the channel opposite the mole, thus overtaking Finnmarken which went the longer way around the island. My last departure here had been on Nordstjernen which had taken the same course as "Bodø", and I had photographed Vesterålen doing the same manoeuvre.





      I wondered whether Finnmarken was simply too big for the turn-and-channel route, or if the difference was due to the particular wind strength or direction we were experiencing. I tried to remember what Trollfjord done back in 2003, but then I’d returned from the Svartisen excursion and, having been directed straight to the restaurant for a late lunch, had scarcely been aware of the departure. Clearly this detail was something to note and check up on later.






      At this point my wanderings on deck became restricted to “smokers’ corner” as a crew member appeared and chained off access around the promenade. This seemed ominous, and I was prepared for Vestfjord at its most challenging!



      Indoors there were more omens of worse weather to come – not merely the restocking of piles of reisesykepose bags, but actually a notice in the shop declaring it to be closed because of bad weather! I speculated whether the sales staff had already succumbed to the swell, or if smashed glass ornaments were to be expected – I was already visualising souvenir moose and trolls hurtling around, only to become finally squashed beneath collapsed rails of assorted tee shirts and knitwear. At any rate I would have to wait to purchase the delightful “I have crossed the Arctic circle with Hurtigruten” tee-shirt – just the thing to wear on the day of crossing the Antarctic circle aboard Fram, I decided. (Indeed it proved to be much admired and a talking point on that subsequent voyage!)

      After all these preparations for the worse, the crossing of Vestfjord turned out to be a complete anticlimax compared with what had been experienced earlier in the voyage. Understandably though, it had been announced before we left Bodø that we would skip Stamsund and proceed directly to Svolvær. In normal circumstances I would have been eagerly watching for the southbound ship off Honningsvær – this would be Kong Harald – but of that ship there was no sign. I momentarily wondered if Kong Harald had gone to Stamsund but immediately dismissed the notion - it is a difficult port for docking in such wind. So it was surprising that I hadn’t seen her. Surely she couldn’t have refused the Vestfjord crossing altogether when Finnmarken had made it without any difficulty. The only explanation seemed to be that I had simply missed her due to the restricted viewing with most of deck 5’s outside area out of bounds. It had now started to rain heavily, and I wasn’t anticipating any ship crossing announcements or traditional greetings either.

      Comment


        #48

        The story of Kong Harald’s whereabouts would not be explained until my return home (where my progress was being followed via AIS and webcams), although, as had been the case for other happenings during this voyage, all was not entirely clear even then. Kong Harald had certainly arrived in Svolvær well on time, as captured here on the webcam of Lofotposten, but there she had remained.

        Having braved “smokers’ corner” as Finnmarken swung round past the fisherman’s wife statue at the harbour entrance – always a magic moment – I immediately headed down to reception as I was joining a group to visit the art gallery of Dagfinn Bakke.



        To say the scene down on deck 3 was busy would be a huge understatement. As well as tourists intent on the various visits – an ice sculpture exhibition and a museum were alternatives to the gallery – the school groups were eager to disembark and had all flooded into the reception hall the moment announcements were made, their camping paraphernalia piled around the floor on what little space remained.

        It was at that point that I got into conversation with one of the older students who I found myself squashed next to. Their field course had been about geomorphology in general and glaciers in particular, and it was apparent that the experience had been inspirational, putting the previous classroom learning into meaningful perspective. Indeed he was reconsidering his choices of university studies as a result. Nearly half an hour later we were still chatting about that, and were discussing relevant university courses in Sweden that I was aware of. Only now, looking at the time stamps of photos taken before and after meeting that student, have I realised that we must have been standing around in reception for at least half an hour, and by the time I stepped onto the rain drenched quay it was fifty minutes since the announcement of our supposed “imminent” arrival! At the time I had certainly not suspected that the delay was due to Kong Harald, which had eventually moved from the quay to accommodate Finnmarken.

        But the saga was not quite over, because, although annoyingly no one thought to check again on Kong Harald’s own webcam for me, it appears from a sequence of Lofotposten webcam pictures as if the ship might have returned to Svolvær after Finnmarken had continued on her way . . .


        . . . and then an hour later (as may possibly be discerned in this the most dismal image ever to be seen on CaptainsVoyage) off she set once again!





        In the next and final episode of A Few Days on Finnmarken, Seagull is in a silly mood as the sun comes out, a troll joins in some celebrations, and finally it’s farewell to Finnmarken in Tromsø.

        Comment


          #49
          WAOW.... those images are really.... 'pretty'.. love the whole presentation and the narrative additions: kind of makes me feel a part of the magic which so cleverly is Hurtigruten.

          Can't wait for next episode... this is one of the greatest threads!
          With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

          Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
          Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

          Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

          Comment


            #50
            I'm LOVING it!!- Seagull, you should write professional travel commentary!

            Comment


              #51
              Thank you for your kind and appreciative remarks, pakarang - I’m delighted that I’ve been able to convey something of the experience of travelling Hurtigruten.
              Originally posted by pakarang View Post
              WAOW.... those images are really.... 'pretty'..
              Just one thing though . . . with so many dark weather images in that episode I’m not so sure the word pretty would have sprung to my mind ??
              OK, I see it is in inverted commas Ah! now I’ve got it – you are trying out an idea for the next absolutely impossible and challenging subject for the photo competition .

              Comment


                #52
                Originally posted by ehp View Post
                I'm LOVING it!!- Seagull, you should write professional travel commentary!
                But then some editor or other would be purging what I’d written of all those dashes and exclamation marks, and words in inverted commas, and hyphenated words, and those short sentences without a verb, and all those far-too-long rambling sentences –
                (see what I mean about hyphenating words!! – and exclamation marks and dashes) –
                and sentences beginning with And and But and However and Well, and other possibly over-used words like actually and perhaps and indeed (and, well actually possibly could be included!) . . .

                Umm, I think you get the point! It just wouldn’t sound like me at all.
                But surprisingly perhaps, I can do scientific and technical . . .

                Comment


                  #53
                  Ah, but you see, you must find the right EDITOR (wink wink!!)

                  stream of conscious is what makes it charming--and easy to read. and In the moment.

                  And Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and ee cummings would agree with me in my belief that you have to KNOW THE RULES BEFORE YOU CAN BREAK THEM.........

                  Comment


                    #54
                    Originally posted by ehp View Post
                    ... .James Joyce and ee cummings would agree with me in my belief that you have to KNOW THE RULES BEFORE YOU CAN BREAK THEM.........
                    Ah, now I have to admit to a hobby interest in James Joyce – to the extent of actually having read all of Ulysses AND Finnegans Wake – joined the International James Joyce Association, and have even occasionally attended literature academics’ conferences on and off since the early 80’s.

                    Comment


                      #55
                      I have Ulysses--just waiting until I have an enormous chunk of uninterrupted time to read it...

                      Comment


                        #56
                        I wonder if anyone has any feed-back for me on the exact route of departure northbound out from Bodø – as discussed in the most recent episode of my journey above?

                        Comment


                          #57
                          Originally posted by Seagull View Post
                          I wonder if anyone has any feed-back for me on the exact route of departure northbound out from Bodø – as discussed in the most recent episode of my journey above?
                          I noticed that, but really have no idea. It was actually the first time I had ever heard that route being taken after departing Bodø on northbound. My first thought is because of the weather, but then, I really don't know the area well enough to know that for sure. Don't we have a member in Bodø that knows the area better than us?
                          With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                          Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                          Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

                          Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

                          Comment


                            #58
                            Originally posted by Seagull View Post
                            I wonder if anyone has any feed-back for me on the exact route of departure northbound out from Bodø – as discussed in the most recent episode of my journey above?
                            Thanks to talfh for further discussion of the route in Midnatsol's thread:
                            http://www.captainsvoyage-forum.com/...8&postcount=64

                            Comment


                              #59
                              In this final episode of A Few Days on Finnmarken, Seagull is in a silly mood as the sun comes out, a troll joins in some celebrations, and finally it’s farewell to Finnmarken in Tromsø.

                              Here it comes in six postings – enjoy!

                              Comment


                                #60


                                Hurtigrute webcams had revealed tantalising glimpses of building construction taking place in Svolvær since my last visit, but, hurrying back from the art gallery in absolutely torrential rain, it had been difficult to fully appreciate these changes. Back aboard Finnmarken I attempted a photo of the glass entrance to the new terminal building, but as soon as the ship left the harbour I headed for my cabin. Now I’m dry once more, it is perhaps a good moment for me to take you to see a favourite part of the ship – and you may initially think it a curious choice – the aft stair!

                                I hung around those stairs rather a lot during the voyage, getting in everyone’s way and generally making a nuisance of myself. Occasionally the impedance may have encouraged others to linger and look at what I was looking at, enjoy what I was enjoying, but when meal times approached most folk seemed intent on scurrying down – even if they did then have to stand around in the arcade for the restaurant doors to be opened. But at other times I was not the only admirer of the art of Dagfinn Bakke which adorns these stair landings, and it was really no surprise that the visit to his art gallery in Svolvær had proved so popular.





                                The artworks on Finnmarken’s staircase are humorous illustrations – caricatures or cartoons you could call them. They reveal a keen observer of people and situations – a whole cast of characters and local types are portrayed here with the gentlest of jest.


                                So difficult to choose a favourite, though I kept coming back to this engineer . . .


                                . . . selected some to photograph especially for Jan-Olav . . .


                                . . . and there were those with me in them! – the one on the right could indeed be the illustration for my entire story of A few days on Finnmarken.


                                (All the above photographed by Cecilia Taylor)

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