Day 9 was the day of the rain. The temperature was ridiculously high at 5C for most of the day so walking was difficult with water over remnant ice. In Solvaer I actually fell over and dented the ice with my head, despite wearing my spikes. According to official sources (Gwen) no common sense has been knocked in. I am getting insufficient exercise since it is too difficult during port stops, and the bow section of deck 5 (with a continuous route around the ship) has been roped off as too dangerous underfoot. Today I will do my 10,000 steps even if I have to wear out the carpet in the internal corridors!
On the other hand I have been reading more. In the last nine days I have completed Hunger by Norwegian Nobel prize winner Knut Hamsun, Northfield Hall (Jane Eyre tale) by Jane Stubbs, The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas (another Norwegian), How to be Both by Ali Smith and H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald (recent Costa prize winner). This is about the same rate as my reading at home, which is an indication of how much there has been to see and do, on and off the ship.
As I write this, we have crossed the Arctic circle again, between mountains washed free of snow by the warm rain!
It is interesting to see how the focus of the trip has changed over the eleven days. On days 1 and 2 everyone was passionate about the aurora, but this gradually faded as we went further north and encountered greyer and greyer skies. We then began to focus on the excursions and the places at which we stopped. The third phase was about survival as the hurricane (“Ola”) crashed around us until finally we entered the calm fourth phase with no further excursions, just a gentle return home on a now-familiar ship.