Posts Tagged ‘cruise’

Returning to the unfinished sequence: Day 6 (continued)

July 27, 2018

I had a wonderful cruise on the ‘MS Lofoten’ more than two years ago now. Somehow, the blog posts petered out when I reached Nordkapp, but I still have my notes and I might be able to find my photos. I still have a strong sense that it needs to be finished.  We left my journey with the travelling sandals at Nordkapp –

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the travelling sandals on board MS Lofoten

Day Six – Monday 16th November 2015 – was overloaded with experiences, and I can’t easily reconstruct their sequence.  You will have to accept the patchwork, and the jumble of times and events.  A little inflatable charged towards us in the dark – orange men in bright orange overalls – and I thought: how strange and wonderful to be one of the people for whom everything is laid on.  In this staged event, a local fisherman came aboard with a bucket of King Crabs (Kamchatka crabs).  “I bring them here for you; for your entertainment” said the fisherman.  Big boots.  He swung on board up a rope ladder – no faking it.  I felt like Elizabeth I on a progress.  What drama would next emerge? These invader crabs are wonderful to eat – but not nice to see them alive and maybe unhappy.  Surely unhappy – crawling around, or lying doggo, on that big plastic bin.  Was I about to see them killed?  I turned tail, revolted.  Didn’t take the photo (forgetting that I’m a sometime blogger and would need it later) – go on the trip yourself if you want to see the show of their struggle.  (This picture was taken in the fish market at Bergen.)

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Kamchatka crab

Before Nordkapp, what?

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A quick walk on the icy wharf at Harvoysund, when a smart black car swept up suddenly – a couple jumped out, embraced, and the woman stepped quickly on board.  A flash car, a sophisticated moment, were unexpected and somehow incongruous in this tiny place.  I gaped like a yokel.

These are puzzling places.  Some seem big: they’re not hick towns at all, for all their wintry inaccessibility.  So very far north, such an extreme climate, yet people still drive smart cars, embrace, express irony.  The houses around the wharf display lights in their windows – an old custom, symbolising lighting the seafarer home.

Our ship takes on cargo – Christmas trees at the next town – around ten am.

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It’s twenty to six, and there’s still dinner, and two more stops to make before today is over.  The boat is gently pitching now, instead of the rolling she more usually does. I suppose it’s to do with turning the top corner.

That was not all on this wonderful day.  Illuminated cliffs as the ship went near to a fjord, and shone its lights onto the steep rocks.  Earlier, I was standing on the deck in the icy cold, enjoying solitude in the growing dark when I realised that I was watching a blue-green light gradually extending itself across the sky.  The Northern lights, displaying themselves in cold abstraction across the heavens.  Behind them, the Plough (the Great Bear – the Ice Bear – the Isbjorn); Cassiopeia winding the lights as her hair.  Somewhere, the Pole Star.  And next to me, sharing them: an exhilarated, deaf, Irish-Australian  woman – Pauline – .  My heart, already softened at Nordkapp, rejoiced, delighted.  It will do feelings, after all, careless of rationality.  Hope and joy: “See, see, where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament – “.  I can’t help thinking it, though the blood bit is all wrong.  The chill green, pale as a drift of cloud, is there whether we are here with our amazement and wonder, or not.  Our primitive awe that takes no notice of scientific explanation, but just looks most deeply at the strangeness of it all.

A Sea Voyage – Day 2/3 and a Map

November 26, 2015

Evening of Day Two

I’m looking through the window as these mountains darken under a sky still pale blue.  Clouds are mountain-coloured and drifting as we move steadily on, crossing a darkening sea, blue-grey, but still lighter than the mountains.  As the dark comes down I can see a double image – warm gold wood and glowing lights.  My own face – self portrait serious – is coming gradually clearer in the glass.  A row of trivial curtains hangs itself, petty, across the massing outlines, as they become darker, more separate, more other.

Our cosy glow thrums forward, soft, safe, civilised.  Waves of German language wash gently behind me and I can pick out the odd word. “Ratten verlassen das Schiff,” I detect, and they chuckle.  I smile too, into the window, turned away but surely visible.  Moomin hills lump back at me.  No orcas.

– and now our reflected interior is prickled over with Christmas lights, strung for us all unknowing by the mountainside’s houses.  It’s a little early for Christmas, but the shards of light look celebratory.

– Darker yet.  The German speakers emerge as four ghosts sitting behind me – something glitters from a woman’s gesturing arm: she is quiet, emphatic, “Das stimmt aber schon.”  One man draws a huge square in the air; the other speaks little but very deep-voiced.  A second woman, barely visible, says almost nothing.

I should go and Dress for Dinner – playing safe: a little bit smart but not too much.  I overdo it.


Day Three – Trondheim and northwards.

(No photos of Trondheim, and no memory either – maybe I was asleep?)

Dark sea, light sky, lighthouse.

Dark sea, light sky, lighthouse



moving cloud, distant rain

moving cloud, distant rain


Sunset, cloud and sea - half past one in the afternoon

Sunset, cloud and sea – half past two in the afternoon – Kjungskaer Fyr (Lighthouse).

I miss the mussel-tasting in the afternoon – out on deck, watching the sea and the sea birds. Perhaps.

Day 3 ends with Rorvik – by which I am fast asleep.


I think you’ll be needing a map of Norway.  Here we go:

Norway Cruise Map




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