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M S Lofoten topic October 1997

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    M S Lofoten topic October 1997

    At the risk of boring people, here are some thoughts about my first voyage on Lofoten in October '97.

    She sits in the water waiting for her fate to be decided
    Rusted, proud, the Finnmarken is empty and cold
    No rewards for ploughing the seas for years.

    The fjord is a mirror of two blue glaciers
    we pass and it is shattered. Peer Gynt's Morning
    fills the air, but I think about the Little ice Age...

    Behind us the taiga, Finland and Russia
    lie quietly beyond the grainy black mountains.
    The cemetery holds a grey stone church, the only place
    that was missed when the town disappeared in '43.

    Honningsvag 2
    In the courtyard of fresh green grass, the rowan tree grows sadly
    beside the stone wall fortress. The only tree for miles faces north
    with its warm plastic nightie to hide it from the snow and wind.
    The soldier on sentry there counts the falling leaves.

    Down the rocky mountain, up the rugged glen
    we stand and stare forever in the hope of little men;
    Sheer cliffs and sharp grey peaks; no wind or rain or snow
    but brilliant light, a long twilight and a yellow glow.

    As we leave the long wharf(as big as the town's foreshores)
    I see the frostsmoke, curling under the piles
    like a giant chainsmoking on his wet cold throne.

    Against the tall ochre mountains, long black shadows rise
    and we slide between two massifs
    we are so small there is no shadow cast by us.

    Some passengers:
    We're a mixed bunch. .
    Two Americans and three English people and me at the table,
    all rather quiet, so Hilary from Wiltshire tries to sing Honey Bun
    to liven us up. The waiters are amused and cheer her.
    Alex* and I go out to watch the lights of Bergen disappear.
    A whole new adventure lies ahead.

    *82 yo marine engineer from Mystic, CT. He died 7 years later.
    Last edited by nari; January 4th, 2015, 01:49.

    Excellent! A good start!
    Regards; Sigve.


      Nice indeed. Looking forward for more, if you have.


        Hammerfest October 1997

        Three of us rush ashore to the bank for money
        and outside the bank were three babies in their prams
        all alone on the street, dressed warmly and snug,
        but they were completely alone, so I thought:
        what sort of country is this, where one can safely leave a baby unattended....?

        On board Lofoten, first night, leaving Bergen Oct 1997

        I was outside, staring at the glow of Bergen,
        when a very intoxicated man approached and started to talk
        about his home in Molde and I should leave the ship and go with him there
        but Alex (as above) appeared suddenly, about half his size
        and suggested he go somewhere else (politely)
        and with a Neanderthal grunt
        he left.


          Stromgata, Bergen a Norwegian Forest cat. 1997

          King cat sits on his mat, the town is his, proud cat
          staring at the folk who pass, including me; I say hello
          but he arches, sniffs and goes under the eaves to
          continue gazing over this Hanseatic harbour in the rain.

          Finse 1997

          Perisher* is prettier, but this is younger country, perhaps
          still recovering from the Little Ice Age. No tree can survive
          the blowing snow against the red and black station house.

          * Perisher Valley, a ski resort not far from Canberra. It has thousands of snow gums with bright red and yellow trunks.

          Bergen Aquarium 1997

          In the cool darkness, pellagic fish cruise the tank, bright slips of stars.
          Beneath their orchestrated movement two crabs, Northern monsters,
          climb the glass wall. I stare at the synchronised swimming -
          knowing that tonight the Lofoten sails for Kirkenes.
          I can barely wait, but simply watch the ballet of slow fish and frustrated crabs.

          On Lofoten, just past the Arctic Circle going North 1997

          On the stern at 11 pm, there is only me. The air is full of spray and icy wind; my legs shudder
          in tune with the prop shaft. Dark mountains everywhere, rushing foam below the rail; the night is darker than dark.
          Looking ahead; my frozen face turns Northeast to a soft mild glow of snow.


            The beach at Revesnes:

            Behind us rises "Fujiyama", topped with pure white icing,
            at our feet, a narrow beach ful of old rocks. The Australians laugh, kindly.
            "Call this a beach?" The fjord is still and blue, its waters freezing,
            yet it does yield some sand from its depths. The tide is in,
            and it is perfect beach weather.

            Snow in October falls slowly on this bleak and rocky vidda where no person is seen.
            A bitter, colourless land
            sliced up by deep cirques and trickling, half-iced rivers.
            I wonder if there are frogs in summer, croaking in the midnight sun.


              M S Lofoten 1997
              Ploughing the Barents, these Arctic seas remind the brain
              that we are not infallible. Yet the little ship remains on top
              and turns her nose to Vardo. Her scraped and battered bow'
              cleaves through the waves, as she has a thousand times before.
              Harriet* smiles at us. "In winter it is much much worse".....
              We shiver slightly and go ashore; it is autumn and the wind is blowing.

              * Harriet - our accomplished and humourous waiter assigned to our table 1997.
              Last edited by nari; January 19th, 2015, 07:21.


                Excellent! Always interesting to read other people's view on things such as Hurtigruten and the country in general.

                PS: I moved the thread into the Hurtigruten-section so that it doesn't get lost.
                With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
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