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A Winter trip on MS Lofoten, Jan/Feb 2016

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    Thanks, Tommi :-) I know, I know, I'm a lightweight... I did take this one shortly before dinner, already seen in the Lofoten thread,

    but dinner coincided with Svolvaer, there was no ship meeting because Polarlys is in dock being made pretty, and I suspect I was hunched over a laptop photo-editing for the rest of the evening! As for Stamsund at 2210, past my bedtime! Worth it for the early morning start to day 10 though, I think......


      Now, where were we? Ah yes, getting up ridiculously early on Day 10

      So early, in fact, that it was completely dark, and even arriving in Ørnes only the very first signs of blue where showing,

      The quayside at Ørnes was sufficiently well-lit for a couple more Waiting for Lofoten photos,

      It also had plenty of dark corners away from the floodlights, and it was entertaining watching the forklift buzzing back and forth around the dimly-lit obstacle course of pallets, boxes, and of course unprotected dock edges,

      It was still dark when we left Ørnes,

      but it was only a few minutes later, as we were heading down the fjord, that the light began to arrive,


        The light continued to develop very nicely indeed, and combined with the spectacular scenery in Meløyfjorden made the dark early morning, and the cold coffee-scented watch from the bridge wing, well worthwhile.

        We reached more open sea, and the wind rose with the light, revealing fantastic windswept craggy mountains in the cold steel-blue light,

        which gradually warmed,

        Eventually, towards late morning, the snow turned to drizzle, the cloud lowered, and the mountains began to disappear from view,

        which seemed appropriate, since we'd now crossed the Arctic circle again.


          A few more snow-turning-to-drizzle scenes,

          and then the ceremony. We all know what crossing the Arctic circle south-bound means...

          (and if you don't, I'm not going to tell you!). The rest of the day was rainy and misty - which I didn't actually mind, since it gave me a chance to relax and to catch up on photo editing after the frantic pace of yesterday. In fact, I took hardly any more photographs for the rest of the day - one in Sandnessjøen as the snow gradually disappeared in the rain,

          and one in Brønnøysund very definitely in the rain,

          which, bizarrely, turned out to be almost identical to one I took on the last trip, also in the rain:

          The pavements in both Brønnøysund and Rørvik were covered in ice, as the day's rain had by now frozen, so I had only a very short walk (probably hilarious to anyone watching) in each, and a quick peek on board Richard With, and that was day 10 over.


            Beautiful continuation of your report. Such a lot of outstanding blue-hour-pictures. That was for sure a great moment at the entrance of the Trollfjord. In my opinion Captain Lande is perfect. He is a big fan of MS Lofoten and he is doing his best to share this passion for the old lady with the passengers. It is a pleasure to be his passenger.
            Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


              Day 11

              Day 11 meant, for me, waking up in Trondheim, with no particular rush to go anywhere or see anything. So I had a leisurely breakfast, and was next door on Nordnorge by 8am having a good look around while she was quiet. Oh, it's another world entirely on the big ships!

              The gallery:

              Despite its overwhelming (to me, straight off Lofoten) size, it did look comfortable,

              and I rather liked the artwork, by Ingwald Karlsen,

              and the fact that there were cosy corners to be found,

              And someone aboard certainly had an admirable sense of humour


                But there's just something about Lofoten, isn't there? Nordnorge felt so remote from the sea, I couldn't imagine getting the feeling of being in the waves the way that you do on A deck on Lofoten, with the spray in your face. And going back to Lofoten reaffirmed that small is beautiful feeling, as I squeezed back on board between the supplies we'd just taken on,

                (looks like carrot soup tonight)

                That's our head chef waving in the last one (at least, I think he was waving). Seen earlier in Kirkenes helping unload passengers' luggage, and later in Bergen doing the same.

                And I like the artwork on Lofoten too, all the more for much of it showing Lofoten's predecessors:

                And, what could be more comfortable than this?


                  But overall, Day 11 was a washout really. Literally, because it rained for most of the day, and the weather was grey, cloudy and misty; and metaphorically, because I was so sad that it was nearly all over - much more so than I expected. I think it was a bit of a shock to my system, suddenly there weren't incredible snowy mountainscapes coming one after another throughout the day, preceded by blushing pink dawns and followed by fiery sunsets. Just grey :-( I had a short walk in Kristiansund (in the rain), and found this little quayside abstract,

                  and I had a short wet deja-vu walk in dreary Molde (sorry, Molde!), and went, sadly, to bed.
                  Last edited by billplumtree; March 1st, 2016, 22:49.


                    There is (or was?) an artist by the name of Dagfinn Baake who lives in the Lofotens and does very appealing paintings/drawings of Hurtigruten ships and the passengers. They all have a satirical flavour, such as lines of large people lining up to fill plates at the buffet, and many mood-filled depictions of life in the islands.
                    One time, after seeing a collection of his artwork on one of the big ships (can't remember which one) I tried to obtain a collection of his work in a book, but the helpful person in the bookstore said that a collection does not exist.
                    As for the large ships - their lairy colours and busyness as one walks through the corridors is off putting for me. The only redeeming features are the wide tall windows in the panorama lounges. Plus the idea of travelling in lifts or trudging up through the decks to get way.


                    • Tommi
                      Tommi commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The paintings are on board Finnmarken. pictures can be found in the Finnmarken thread,

                    • nari
                      nari commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thank you, Tommi. I could not remember which ship had them as they all look alike to me - only the name changes.
                      I appreciate the link.
                      Last edited by nari; March 2nd, 2016, 02:32. Reason: The usual...typos.

                    Day 12

                    The last day. The last blue hour, so I made sure I was out there watching it evolve,

                    as we approached Florø - where we came across the container ship Maersk Flensburg,


                      After that, and breakfast, and being turfed out of my cabin on the dot of 10am (the only disadvantage I found to being up there on the boat deck!), it was more sadness I'm afraid. I tried to take a few photographs around the ship, but somehow couldn't muster much enthusiasm. My wild snowy muse had left me, or rather I had left it.

                      I tried to relax, to read, but couldn't concentrate and blamed my book for not being good enough. Music likewise. I'm weak. I wish I was stronger, like Assumpta: knitting right the way into Bergen harbour, to the very last minute.


                        And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my winter trip on MS Lofoten. Despite the sad tone of the previous post, I enjoyed every minute of it more than I can say. It more than lived up to all my hopes and expectations; if I was sad at the end, it was only because it was precisely that: the end. My problems now are twofold: what do I do with my already-treasured photographs, some of which I feel are the best I've ever taken? And how on earth do I follow a trip like that - what next?


                        • nari
                          nari commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Ah, might have to do what I did - back to back round voyages. Over 24 days- imagine that during January-Feb. next year.....endless snow and blue light, etc. Sounds good? I'm only half kidding.
                          Seriously, it was a good feeling returning to Bergen only to stay aboard, watch all the activity at the Terminale - and do it all over again.

                        Bill, that was a wonderful report. I have exactly the same feeling, when changing from Lofoten on a big (not to say new, they aren't) ship. It is just another kind of travelling. Such a trip can only be repeated: On a different time of the year. Different lights, different parts of the route in beautiful weather and others, which you have experienced in great weather - then in rain. So you will have completely different impressions again. That is the only thing i can recommend - except of the idea of experiencing completely different cruises on working ships. I once began a thread. Just have a look:
                        Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


                        • billplumtree
                          billplumtree commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Thanks Ralf. And thank you for the link to the old thread - some interesting ideas there....

                        I can't find any more suitable word than "WAOW". This is a brilliant pictorial report! There are so many extraordinary images and I love the sense of detail in so many images.

                        I have to admit that one image really looked better than all of them... number 28-1 is brilliantly and fantastically captured. Excellent shot, truly excellent.
                        With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

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                          Fantastic report and pics. Will definitely have to do a winter trip soon.