May 18, 2018Another sunny but cool day in Petersburg when the sun streaming in our stateroom windows woke us. We took off uptown, looking at all the booths that had sprung up overnight. There were at least three beer gardens, people dressed…
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|Heritage Harbor near low tide|
|Nearly Deserted main street in Wrangell|
|Wall Art is becoming common|
|More wall art in Wrangell|
|Miriam and Lennon’s sharing spot prawns|
|Our version of a spot prawn cocktail|
|View from the wheelhouse in Petersburg|
|This boat has been lying on the beach for years, no thrusters!|
|Jellyfish in Santa Anna Inlet|
|More abstract art jellyfish|
|Our limit of spot prawns|
|Most prawns were large|
|Rusting machinery on beach|
|Entering Zimovia Strait|
|New wreck on the beach in Zimovia Strait|
|Hakaii Beach Institute in the AM|
|Morning reflections in Pruth Bay|
|View from Bottleneck Inlet|
|Our only company in Princess Royal Channel|
|Spirit in Lowe Inlet|
|Green Island Light just before Dixon Entrance|
After clearing US Customs, we refueled at Petromarine. Fuel prices were only slightly higher than in Anacortes. By 1015 we were tied up at Bar Harbor, our home for the next few days. We have travelled 655 nautical miles since Anacortes
May 2, 2018Sometime during the night, the wind shifted to NW, but remained light. At 0740 we began the stinky and dirty process of pulling the anchor from the muddy bottom in Gerrans Bay. The day was sunny, but still cool.Heading out into M…
|Some of the people ferries from our marina to Granville Island|
|Our dock mates at Quayside Marina|
May 1, 2018
|Departing False Creek|
|Merry Island Lighthouse|
|Storstappen Island and North Cape|
|Off the Official North Cape Latititude 71.2 degrees North|
|Off the true North Cape|
|Rugged North Cape – Monument barely visible|
|More North Cape|
|Final night under midnight sun|
|Approaching Olden, Nordfjord|
|New Lutheran Church, Olden|
|Patrick Hiking above Loen|
|Mix of old and new in Stavanger|
|Approaching Pulpit Rock in fog|
|Finally on top of rock|
|Our lunch stop in Skagen|
|Another Lutheran Church, Skagen|
|Skagen Fisherman’s Memorial|
|45th Anniversary dinner at the Grill on Seabourn Quest|
|In the rain in Tallin|
|Narrow Twisting streets|
|Staircase between upper and lower towns|
|Center of lower town|
|Our food stop, built in 1432|
|Miriam in Hermitage Museum|
|Church of Spilled Blood|
|St Peter & St Paul|
|The altar inside|
|Catherine Palace Entrance|
|The Amber Room|
|Amber room Detail|
|Ballroom and concert|
|Chapel at Catherine Palace|
|Part of gardens at Peterhof Palace|
|Fountains at Peterhof|
|Hydrofoil on way to Peterhof|
|Russian Submarine as we left St. Petersburg|
|Sibelius Monument – Helsinki|
|Rock Church – Helsinki|
|Rock Church – 2|
|Lutheran Cathedral and main square|
|Street Food – Helsinki|
|Rugs Drying in the sun|
|Life Boat along esplanade|
|Icebreakers without much to due because of climate change|
|Leaving Helsinki through narrow passages|
|Gamla Stan and Palace|
|Modern Functionalism Architecture and old liveaboard boats|
|Main street Gamla Stan|
|Inside the Vasa Museum|
|Our smorrebrod lunch by Jette|
|Enjoying lunch at the Hertoft gazebo|
Blog Post 2 – No photos until we get higher bandwidth internet connections
May 26, 2017 – Copenhagen
The parties continued quayside until the sun began to come up, and the noise came right in the open windows where we were trying to get some cooler air. By the time the parties ended the sun was now coming in the window and lighting up the room. We are as far north already as Ketchikan, so the long days are no surprise. Our solution was to close the drapes and turn on the fan. Sleep still mostly eluded us, so about 0630 we freshened up and headed downstairs for an expansive breakfast buffet. The pickled herring was delicious!
Most stores do not open until 1000, but we headed out at 0900 anyway and searched for a spare battery for one of the Nikon cameras and a memory storage device for the iPads, knowing we would be taking lots of photos.
The pedestrian shopping street “Stroget” stretches for many blocks with every type of store imaginable. It is purportedly the longest pedestrian street in Europe. We decided there are no direct routes anywhere in Copenhagen, with the many canals which intersect the city, and the heritage of the old buildings which seem to be constructed in haphazard locations long before modern city planning. Nonetheless, we found both the batteries and the memory devices. Prices are much higher than in the USA, especially for LI-ion batteries which are taxed at a high rate.
Returning to the hotel we sat outdoors on the quay and enjoyed both the sun and delicious fresh asparagus salads before returning to the room for a much needed nap.
After another walk in the afternoon down as far as Vor Frelsers Kirkland (Our Saviors Church), with a unique spiral staircase around the outside of the campanile. The line to climb the staircase was very long so Patrick decided to pass on the opportunity. Returning to the hotel, we listened out the room window as a concert began across the quay. It will be another noisy night.
May 27, 2017 – Embarkation and Departure
The noise overnight was not too bad, perhaps because we were so tired. Jet lag is catching up to both of us. The weather continues to be nice, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70’s. We enjoyed another breakfast buffet and then a walk to stretch the legs before the driver picks us up at 1130. The tour busses were already out in force, with groups of people crowding around the popular scenic stops. There are 6 cruise ships tied up just north of the hotel, ranging from huge to a 328 foot ship. The Seabourn Quest looks tiny out at the end of Ocean Quay behind two large ships.
The check-in formalities were quick and we were able to board Seabourn Quest about 1230. The staterooms would not be ready until 1400, so we sat on the pool deck and enjoyed lunch with several other guests. Promptly at 1400 the announcement that the staterooms were ready was made. Arriving at suite 611, our home for the next three weeks, the stewardess, Natalya was waiting with champagne and canapés. Our luggage was already in the suite so we spent some time unpacking before attending the required safety briefing at our emergency gathering spot in the restaurant on Deck 4. After the safety briefing we headed back to the pool deck for the sail-away celebration.
Departure was delayed somewhat due to the number of cruise ships all scheduled to depart at the same time and the late arrival of guests from the massive British Airways computer system failure at Heathrow. Finally, at 1745 the ship’s horn blew announcing our departure and the ship joined the parade headed north towards our first destination, Flam Norway.
May 28, At Sea
The weather on our first day at sea was a sharp contrast to the sunny weather in Copenhagen. The temperature had dropped by 20 degrees and there was occasional rain and fog thick enough for the ship’s foghorn to sound.
We attended three of the “conversations” or lectures that Seabourn has on sea days. The evening was the first of three formal nights and also the Captain’s Gala reception. After the reception we tried “The Grill”, a new dining venue with Thomas Keller dishes in a classic chophouse atmosphere.
May 29 – Flam, Norway
Sometime during the night the ship entered Sognefjord, one of the longest and deepest fjords in the world. We docked at Flam shortly before 0800. Flam has expanded somewhat since the first time we were here and the number of tourists in addition to the ship guests was amazing. We had separate shore excursions here, with Miriam doing a “Mountains and Waterfalls” guided bus tour to some of the other scenic areas, and Patrick venturing out in a Kayak for the first time in Norway. There was not a lot of wildlife other than herds of goats and some birds, but plenty of waterfalls cascading down the steep rock walls of the Aurlandfjord, the final stretch of Sognefjord.
Seabourn Quest backed away from the pier at 1700 and headed back down the fjord for the 280 nautical mile voyage to our next destination.
May 30 – Aalesund, Norway
The weather overnight was much rougher out in the North Sea, but smoothed out as we approached Aalesund, arriving at 1000 and docking in the protected inner harbor amidst the Art Nouveau architecture of this town of 48,000. The original town was mostly destroyed by fire in 1904 and the city planners rebuilt with stone and concrete in the art nouveau style for most of the area destroyed by the fire, so the inner city has a very consistent look and feel.
Miriam took a lengthy walking tour exploring the details of the inner city and museums, as well as the quaint inner harbor. Patrick again ventured out in a kayak on a tour across the bay for a picnic on a small island followed by a paddle through the inner harbor.
The ship departed at 2000 and then went in several circles in the bay to re-swing the magnetic compass before the ship headed even further north. The seas increased again overnight as we headed for our next destination Svolvaer, 450 miles away in the Lofoten Islands.
May 31 – At Sea
The weather cooled even more with highs of 39 degrees, NW winds to 35 knots and large swells from the northwest. The ship passed through rain squalls and then sun patches all day. We were able to attend several additional lectures or “Conversations “ on history, marine mammals and the Viking sea migration patterns. Our evening entertainment was provided by Richard Wright, who we may have heard singing in the “Lion King” in London in 1999.
At 2115 the ship’s horn sounded signaling that we had crossed the Arctic Polar Circle. We will be North of the circle for the next few days.
June 1 – Svolvaer, Lofoten Islands
The wind and seas gradually calmed as we approached our anchorage in front of the town of Svolvaer. After a brief delay anchoring the ship the tours began. Miriam is doing a “Lofoten Vikings” cultural tour and Patrick went kayaking along the coastline as part of his tour. In the afternoon we both took part in a limited Zodiac tour up Trollfjord where we met back up with the ship. We did see some white tailed eagles and some trolls on the cliff in Trollfjord, but were a little disappointed that the captain decided to not enter the fjord with the Quest. Although beautiful, the fjord pales in comparison to Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia.
June 2 – Tromso
This city of 72,000 is both on Tromso Island and the mainland, connected by a bridge since 1960. There is a charming city center, with an increasing number of new buildings gradually displacing the original buildings built by either the Bergen Trading Company or the Tromso Trading Company. Tromso is also the area where the British RAF finally sank the German battleship Tirpitz after several attempts including mini-submarines. Several movies have been made commemorating those events. Patrick’s afternoon RIB adventure went to the site of the sinking. The RIB trip also went by an island with two musk oxen. Miriam took a tour that included a cable car ride above the city and a tour of the Arctic Cathedral.
June 3 – Honningsvag and North Cape
The weather offshore forced the cancellation of the planned Zodiac tour to the Puffin colonies and a cruise by North Cape. Winds were 25-30 knots, seas to 8 feet and intermittent snow squalls. It was snowing all day, but not hard enough to get any accumulation.
We were rebooked onto a guided bus tour to North Cape. North Cape cleared enough to have decent views, so most of the experience was there, even with the Zodiac trip cancellation. The monument was found to be misplaced when decent surveying systems were invented, since the next point west is actually 1.5 kilometers further north. Nevertheless we reached 71 degrees, 10.21 minutes North Latitude. The ship will actually go a little further north when we depart Honningsvag. Before departure we had a caviar, vodka, gravlax and aquavit celebration.