Return to Tromso

There was a “light alert” during the evening, but although one sector of the sky was slightly lighter than the others I’m not sure this will count as a full Aurora sighting.

Last night was another highlight. We docked in Tromso at about midnight and were taken by coach to the Arctic Cathedral where a trio of mezzo-soprano, cello and organ/piano gave us an excellent concert. The musicians were very good, as were the acoustics in this very modern cathedral. It was worth staying up til about 2am for such an enjoyable experience.

We then had to rise early to take our last excursion of the trip, into the countryside of Vesteralen. We left the boat at Harstad, visited a church, a museum, a ferry (with coffee and cake) and then rejoined the ship at Sortland. As with all aspects of this voyage, the Hurtigruten organisation was minute-perfect. As we drove over the bridge to Sortland, the ship passed underneath and they hooted each other. By the time our coach reached the quay, the ship was just docking.

Of the four side-excursions we took, it is hard to pick a favourite, each was so different: perhaps husky sledge, midnight concert, north cape and Vesteralen might be the order.

Still three more stops today, and a demonstration of fish filleting. I will probably give the latter a miss, but will get off and stretch my legs at one or two of the stops.

The first stop, at Stockmarken, was rather frustrating. The ship pulled up to the quay but the wind was so strong (offshore) that it took 15 minutes to bring the boat up to the quay and it then needed two ropes and the stern thruster operating flat out to keep the stern in to the jetty. The captain would not let us off the ship, although he did lower the gangplank and allow new passengers on (and disembarking passengers off). His reason was that if the wind rose by one more point he would have to depart immediately, risking leaving 200 of us stranded in the town. We had to content ourselves with taking a few pictures from the deck and we missed the Hurtigruten museum, which would probably have been fascinating. That’s life at sea for you.

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