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Alaska 2018 Blog Post 8 – Petersburg

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…

Alalska 2018 Blog Post 7 – Wrangell to Petersburg

May 13, 2018

After docking Spirit, Patrick walked the 1 ½ miles to town and found the hardware store still open to purchase a shop vacuum to clean out the Diesel Kabola heater, which had sooted up badly.  Patrick made it with minutes to spare, since everything closed at 3:00 PM.  We decided on Mother’s Day dinner  at the Stikine Inn, at the bar, since the place was so crowded for Mother’s Day.  Food and service was great, with large portions good for several meals.

Heritage Harbor near low tide
May 14, 2018

The rain returned and stayed all day, so we cleaned the Kabola Heater with the new shop vacuum; the heater now runs fine.  Patrick also cleaned the watermaker filters and did general engine checks, as well as arranging a main engine service check on May 17 in Petersburg.

Nearly Deserted main street in Wrangell

Wall Art is becoming common

More wall art in Wrangell
May 15, 2018

A sunny day in Wrangell, with walks into town and slow cooking a pork shoulder in BBQ sauce so we could have dinner with cruising friends on the Selene 53 “Tranquility”.  Rick and Pat Lennon arrived from Montana and we had a relaxing evening on board with the slow cooked pork, preceded by spot prawn cocktails.

Miriam and Lennon’s sharing spot prawns

Our version of a spot prawn cocktail
May 16, 2018

The morning was sunny, but cold, only 46 degrees.  We cast off the lines at 0855 and headed west towards Vank and Sokolof islands.  The channel between Vank and Sokolof Islands has high currents.  In Sumner Strait, the flood current past Station Island increased to more than 2 knots against us..  Entering Wrangell Narrows at Point Alexander at 1158, we were boosted by the flood current, at times reaching 4 knots.  The helpful current persisted until Green Point.

We were early for docking in the sometimes-high currents in Petersburg Harbor, especially since we were assigned a slip in the newer North Harbor, closer to town but more exposed to the current in Wrangell Narrows. We slowed down and timed our arrival closer to slack water and at 1432 were tied up at slip 35 in the North Harbor, having come only 40 nautical miles since Wrangell.

Our view out the wheelhouse windows is great, north down the entrance to the narrows with the mountains and glaciers across Frederick Sound providing a great backdrop.

View from the wheelhouse in Petersburg
The “Little Norway” festival starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday, with parades, dinners, herring toss contests and generally fun for all.  The Little Norway festival is centered around May 17, Norwegian Independence Day.  We were last here for the festival in 2015.

May 17, 2018

Another sunny day in Petersburg.  We have engine maintenance scheduled at “Piston & Rudder” at 1000, near low tide.  Low tide this morning is -3.5 feet.  We left our slip at 0900 and were at the shop at 0910.  By the time the brief servicing was complete, the flood tide was flowing at 4.3 knots, too fast to even leave the float at the shop, so we waited for the current to subside and took care of other miscellaneous maintenance tasks like replacing a failed GFCI outlet on the flybridge.  By 1500 the currents were low enough that we returned to North Harbor, backing into our slip with a 3 knot current pushing into the slip.   We were thankful for bow and stern thrusters.

This boat has been lying on the beach for years, no thrusters!

Alaska 2018 Blog Post 6 – Ketchikan to Wrangell

May 9, 2018

We woke to the sound of rain on the deck.  The rain persisted all day, sometimes light, sometimes moderately heavy.  There was only one cruise ship in town today, the Zaandam, and all the shops catering to the passengers were in full operation.  This was the Zaandam’s first Alaskan port of call and many of the passengers looked miserable sloshing through the puddles, with inadequate clothing such as skirts, shorts, high heels and flipflops, for the 50-degree wet weather.  There must have also been a sale on clear plastic ponchos due to the number of them in sight.

Our morning was spent walking to the Safeway near Bar Harbor and replenishing our fresh provisions and dumping the garbage.  Even our raingear leaked a little.

About 1730, just after the Zaandam left, a fierce squall blew through, with very heavy nearly horizontal rain and winds to over 30 knots.  We were glad to be tied to the dock!  By 1800 the wind was down to 5 knots and the rain was only moderate.

May 10, 2018

After washing the salt from the boat and filling the water tanks, we played tourist and walked downtown, window shopping and watching the 6000+ passengers invade the downtown area.  The jewelry and souvenir stores were filled, especially when the rain began once again.  We stopped for lunch at the Alaska Fish House and had some good fish and chips, as well as some smoked salmon chowder.  Late in the afternoon the sun appeared, and it stayed nice all evening.

May 11, 2018

Spirit slipped the mooring lines from the dock at 0710 to take advantage of the flood tide as we headed up Tongass Narrows in occasional rain and low clouds.  Heading up Clarence Strait, the wind increased to 15-20 knots from the south as predicted, but a favorable current persisted until we turned the corner at Lemesurier Point into Ernest Sound.  This location is good for Coho salmon later in the year.  We bypassed Meyers Chuck since the only attraction, the art gallery, is closed this time of year.  Just before passing Meyers Chuck we spotted our first whale spout of the season.  Traversing Ernest Sound we spied several more Humpback whales before turning into Santa Anna Inlet.  The anchor was down and set at 1330 after a 54 mile run from Ketchikan.  By 1430 three prawn traps were in place in our favorite spot.

We found the inlet to be infested with jellyfish, not a problem until they clog the generator sea strainer and shut the generator down.

Jellyfish in Santa Anna Inlet

More abstract art jellyfish

A check of the traps at 2000 yielded 6 quarts headed spot prawns, the daily limit for two persons.

May 12, 2018

After a quiet night at anchor, with only the sounds of a gurgling stream on shore to keep us company, Patrick headed out to check the prawn traps.  A disappointingly small number of prawns were there, with two of the three pots empty, as well as the bait containers.  Still, there were several quarts of headed prawns.  The afternoon pull completed our prawn limits for the day.

Our limit of spot prawns

Most prawns were large
With occasional light rain showers throughout the day, we stayed inside and re-organized our storage, making room in the second guest stateroom for Josie, our grand-daughter, who arrives in a month.  It was a good chance to inventory the supplies and get rid of excess stuff, which will be discarded in Wrangell.

Low tides revealed more of the rusting machinery on the beach, which has been slowly rusting away since our first visit to Santa Anna Inlet in 2010.

Rusting machinery on beach
May 13, 2018

The morning check of the prawn traps was again disappointing, just a few.  After putting the tender back on deck, we pulled the anchor at 0815 and headed up Seward Passage, which even on a flood tide seems to ebb south.  Spirit entered Zimovia Strait accompanied by several porpoises, and several whales spouting in front of Thoms Place.  Exiting Zimovia Strait we encountered the muddy waters of the Stikine River the rest of the way to Wrangell.

Entering Zimovia Strait
New wreck on the beach in Zimovia Strait
Spirit was moored in Heritage Harbor at 1245 after a 36 nautical mile run.

Alaska 2018 Blog Post 5 Port McNeill to Ketchikan

May 4, 2018

Our alarm was set for 0500 for a 0535 departure from North Island Marina, not even fully light.  The winds were calm with light rain, which persisted until noon.  We set a course across Neill Ledge, through a 40 feet deep gap between the kelp patches and headed for Pulteney Point.  From Pulteney Point we headed for Gordon Channel, boosted by a modest ebb current.

Reaching Davey Rock, the seas were so smooth we took a shortcut through Bolivar Passage and behind Storm Islands to shave a few miles from our traditional route around Pine Island.

As Spirit approached Cape Caution we encountered a low westerly swell, perhaps 1 meter.  Cape Caution was abeam at 1035, just five hours after leaving Port McNeill.  Turning towards Egg Island, the swells moved to our beam and then our port quarter as Calvert Island began to protect us.

Cape Calvert was abeam at 1240 PM as we headed in glassy smooth water up Fitz Hugh Sound to Kwakshua Channel and the entrance to Pruth Bay on Calvert Island, our anchorage destination for the evening.  We knew it was early in the season since the top of Calvert Island was still covered in snow.

Kwakshua Channel
Spirit was the only vessel anchored in front of the Hakai Beach Institute, so we were closer than we have ever been to the lodge.  After some tries, we were able to get logged on to the guest wireless internet, where you are allowed 300 Mb per day of free service, even though there is no cell phone service.

Hakaii Beach Institute in the AM

May 5, 2018

After a leisurely breakfast of avocado toast with soft poached eggs, we pulled the anchor from the sand bottom of Pruth Bay at 0640 and headed up the relatively narrow channel between Hecate and Rattenbury Islands, across Hakai Pass and into Ward Channel.  The transit of Ward Channel takes only about 10 minutes and we exited into Nalau Passage.  By 0810 we had re-entered Fitz Hugh Sound, under clear skies and a 10 knot north wind.  Looking back down Fitz Hugh Sound we could see the dense fog bank still covering Cape Caution.

Morning reflections in Pruth Bay
Spirit was running against an ebb current, which slowed us down by 1.5 knots until we turned into Lama Passage at 1015.  When we could see Bella Bella, we regained cell phone coverage which lasted as we passed Dryad Point and headed down Seaforth Channel to Ivory Island Light at 1315.  Heading out into Milbanke Sound, coverage disappeared.

The exposure to the low westerly swell of 3-4 feet, mostly on the beam, only lasted for a little more than 1 hour, until we turned into Finlayson Channel at 1410.

Approaching Klemtu, we once again had cell phone coverage all the way up Finlayson Channel until we turned into Bottleneck Inlet at 1630.  The entrance to Bottleneck is shallow and narrow, but we entered near high tide and showed a minimum depth over the entrance bar of 22 feet, which correlates well to the chart datum of 9 feet at lowest tides.

View from Bottleneck Inlet
By 1644 the anchor was down in 32 feet of water.  The 7-10 knot winds through the entrance kept us lined up with the entrance.  Just as in Pruth Bay, we were the only vessel anchored.  Today Spirit logged an additional 82 nautical miles.

We dined on a marinated pork tenderloin accompanied by a rustic hash of baby potatoes, onions, peppers and fresh rosemary, with a green salad garnished with avocados.  We are only three days from Ketchikan and US Customs, so need to eat the fresh food not allowed across the border.

As the sun set, the wind died completely, and we floated aimlessly around the anchor as we enjoyed some cooking shows on the satellite TV, still working even in the narrow and steep sided inlet.

May 6, 2018

Our departure from Bottleneck Inlet was at 0600, to take advantage of a high tide through the entrance and to minimize the adverse current Hiekish Narrows, 8 miles further up the channel.

The weather was settled, with clear skies, and minimal winds at first.  Aside from the BC Ferry Northern Adventure, which passed us shortly after exiting the narrows, Princess Royal Channel was deserted.  The ebb current ranged up to 2 knots against us and there were periodic bands of wind and chop.  Slowing down for photos of Butedale, which disintegrates more every year, we looked at the dock which appears to be in better shape than previous trips.  The place looked deserted, not even any smoke from the caretaker’s house, nor any call on the radio inviting us to stop.

Butedale 2018
Our only company in Princess Royal Channel
The wind picked up to 20-25 knots at the top of Princess Royal Channel, with 3 foot seas to match, which persisted until we entered Grenville Channel “the ditch”, which stretches nearly straight for 50 miles.

Our anchorage for the evening is Lowe Inlet, just 15 miles up the Grenville Channel, just before the narrow portion, only 1/4 mile wide.  Lowe Inlet is a marine park and we usually anchor in Nettle Basin, which is mostly 80-100 feet deep, right in front of Verney Falls.  The flow from the falls keeps the boat aligned with the current rather than swinging all night.  That was the plan, but the National Geographic  Quest was anchored in Nettle Basin.  We negotiated an anchorage location and one hour later the Quest left us alone except for “Yachette”.  With sunny weather and 70 degree temperatures it was a pleasant evening in Lowe Basin.

Spirit in Lowe Inlet
May 7, 2018

The anchor was pulled up at 0546 as both Spirit and Yachette left Nettle Basin to take advantage of the last of the of the northbound flood tide in the narrow portion of Grenville Channel.  The ebb currents can reach 4 knots quickly, really extending the time in Grenville.

We were called by VTS as we proceeded north, warning us about a boat hard aground on the west side of the channel north of Morning Reef.  Sure enough, a 25-30 foot aluminum boat had the bow up in the trees.  VTS requested we slow to no wake speed passing by to minimize further damage since the stern was still in the water.

The weather on Chatham Sound was initially good, then the afternoon westerlies started and the winds eventually gusted to 28 knots and a short, steep sea developed on our port quarter.  As we passed Green Island, the seas flattened and when we turned in corner into Dixon Entrance at 1500, the wind had slackened to 15 knots, with the swell and wind chop on the port bow.  

Green Island Light just before Dixon Entrance

We crossed into US waters at 1535.   By the time we reached Tree Point the wind had fallen to 5 knots, the sea was flat except for a 2 foot low westerly swell.  We were pleasantly surprised at near continuous cell phone coverage until we reached outer Foggy Bay.  Threading our way though the channel, we joined two other boats as we anchored in Foggy Bay inner basin at 1800 PDT.  Clocks were changed to Alaska Daylight time.  We covered 104 nautical miles today for a total of 618 since leaving Anacortes.

As the sun finally went down, the wind died completely while at anchor in Foggy Bay and we called it a night early after 12 hours underway.

May 8, 2018

The winds remained calm overnight and we slept well at anchor. Nevertheless, at 0502 the anchor released from the sticky and stinky black mud in Foggy Bay and we reversed course out the narrow channel into Revillagigedo Channel and headed for Ketchikan.  The weather gods were not done, we experienced wind, waves and opposing swells as we chased the remains of fog banks covering the channel.  Past Twin Islands, the wind and seas calmed totally and we headed without further incident up Tongass Narrows.  

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

Alaska 2018 Blog Post 4 – Pender Harbour to Port McNeill

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…

Alaska 2018 Blog Post 3 Vancouver to Pender Harbour

April 30, 2018

Today was provisioning day in Vancouver, with walking trips to Costco and Granville Island for fresh produce and fresh oysters, along with trips to Urban Fare for items for which we did not need the Costco quantities.  Later in the afternoon, Frank and Cathy Montgomery arrived and we shared the fresh oysters on board Siprit, followed by an excellent dinner at Provence Marinaside restaurant at the head of the dock.

Some of the people ferries from our marina to Granville Island
Our dock mates at Quayside Marina

May 1, 2018

The skies were overcast to partly sunny as we prepared to depart False Creek’s Quayside Marina.  After filling the water tanks, we cast off the lines at 0930 and motored slowly out of False Creek, which has a 5 knot speed limit and a lot of people ferry traffic, as well as kayaks, stand up paddle boards and other miscellaneous watercraft.

Departing False Creek
Clearing the entrance, we set a course for Bowen Island, crossing the traffic lanes at right angles as the wind speed increased to 15-20 knots.  The seas gradually increased to 4-5 feet as the wind held steady at 15 knots.  Rounding Bowen Island, we set a straight line course for Merry Island and Welcome Passage in confused short seas still running 4-5 feet from the northwest.  As we continued north the seas gradually calmed to 1-2 feet, but the wind remained at 10-15 knots approaching Merry Island.

Merry Island Lighthouse
The seas were rippled north of Merry Island and the wind shifted from NW to SE under sunny skies.  Spirit entered Pender Harbour at 1520.  Garden Bay was our initial choice for anchorage, but a number of buoys, floating barges, crab pots and anchored liveaboard boats used all the safe spots, so we went back to Gerrans Bay and anchored in our usual spot.

Engines were shut down at 1552 as we set the hook in a mud bottom in 45 feet of water. Todays run of 48.5 nautical miles was accomplished in 6 hours 22 minutes, including the slow speed requirement in False Creek and the no wake speed from Pender Harbour entrance to our anchorage.

Alaska 2018 Post 2 – Roche Harbor to False Creek

April 25, 2018

Boats arrived all day and by 1700 there were 26 Selene Trawlers in the marina.  The day started off a little cool, but by afternoon it was downright hot.  A group of us staged a surprise birthday party for Frank Montgomery on Spirit, with three types of pasta, salads, brownies and plenty of great wine.

April 26, 2018

Today was the “Selene University”, an all-day class on basic electricity for boats.  The session was well attended and that evening many of the owners showed up at McMillin’s restaurant for excellent food and drink.  One of the activities at the Rendezvous is a photo contest with several categories including a “Name That Port”.  We decided to enter the attached picture from dinner, called Name That Pork, from the garnishes on the Pig War Martini.

April 27, 2018

Today’s activities included seminars such as Nobeltec Time Zero software, Marine Communications and how to transit the West Coast in a Selene.  These were followed by a potluck in the evening.

April 28, 2018

More seminars, then a wine tasting lunch where we learned how to identify the various wine aromas, flavors, bouquets, etc.  There was a “Trawler Crawl” in the late afternoon to see what other owners had done for customization.  The evening was capped off with a banquet and prizes for each boat.

April 29, 2018

At 0600 we cast off the lines before it was fully light and headed for Vancouver and our slip at False Creek’s Quayside Marina.  We took a close look at Patos Island before heading out into the Straits of Georgia past Point Roberts, Sand Head and finally into False Creek.  Spirit arrived at the Customs Dock at 1353, but we had to wait until 1515 before leaving. By 1535 we were tied up at Quayside Marina after a nearly flat 60 nautical mile crossing.

Alaska 2018 Post 1 – Anacortes to Roche Harbor

April 24, 2018

This year we are moving north slowly, taking several days enroute to Vancouver to attend the NW Selene Owner’s Rendezvous in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.  The slow start is actually good for the trip north through the tidal rapids since high slack water, our preferred transit time for the rapids north of Desolation Sound, will be in the middle of the daylight hours, allowing a smooth passage north, weather dependent.

After last minute shopping for perishables in Anacortes, parking the car for the next three months and filling the water tanks with fresh water, we cast off the lines from Anacortes Marina at 1120.  The skies were hazy and there was a brisk NW wind which covered Spirit in salt spray.  Once into Harney Channel the wind subsided, and the water was glassy.

Spirit took advantage of the ebb tide down Spieden Channel, showing 10.7 knots over the bottom.  Entering Roche Harbor west of Pearl Island, we docked at the Roche Harbor Yacht Club Outstation at slip G-15 at 1450 under now sunny and warm skies, joining several other early arrival Selenes.  Our log shows 27.2 nautical miles since leaving Anacortes Marina.

After washing the salt off Spirit and launching the tender, we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the sun, watching 2 more Selene Trawlers arrive, with 2 more anchored in the harbor. 

Roche Harbor has upgraded the AC shore power on G dock to GFCI breakers, and owners are finding that AC wiring on board must be ABYC compliant to avoid tripping the GFCI breakers.  Marina staff is here to help, but often the only solution is to move to a non-GFCI slip elsewhere in the marina, until the wiring issues are resolved.

The Selene Rendezvous is a gathering of Selene owners and prospective owners, along with several vendors who support the fleet.  The owners gather annually and partake of both social activities and a variety of learning seminars.  The rendezvous is organized by owner volunteers, with additional financial support provided by the vendor community.

North Cape Cruise Post 3

June 3 – North Cape (Nord Kapp)

Seabourn Quest departed Honningsvag at 2100 and slowly cruised north along the coast of Storstappen Island, the location of North Cape.  The Observation Lounge was packed with guests waiting to see North Cape from the water.  At 2315 Quest passed about 0.5 miles north of the famous headland. Although the sun was obscured by low clouds and occasional snow flurries, the was still plenty of light for pictures from the deck.  With the 25-30 knot winds it was a chilly experience to get pictures of North Cape, but the guests all took turns and shared taking pictures of each other for the event.  Ducking back inside to warm up for a few minutes, as well as refreshing our libations, we then stepped back out and got a few photos of the real northernmost point of Storstappen Island, which cannot be reached by road, and is a much less photogenic headland compared with the high vertical headland that is called Nord Kapp.  According to our GPS we reached 71.18 degrees North Latitude.

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

Since we are so far north, it does not ever get dark, but it was interesting to leave the suite drapes open.  Seabourn even provides eyeshades to help guests sleep with 24 hours of daylight and avoid disrupting our circadian rhythms. However, since we are 9 time zones out from home, ours are already messed up.

June 4 – At Sea

The rough seas and heavy winds persisted most of the day, with temperatures gradually increasing.  Tonight was the last night north of the Polar Arctic Circle and we were fortunate that the skies cleared as many guests again gathered in the Observation Lounge to experience the sun approaching the horizon, never quite getting there.  This was also the last “formal” night before arriving in Copenhagen in a few days. At midnight, the lounge was full as we all watched the sun approach the horizon.  The sun then moved through north to the east reaching its lowest point at 0141 am and eventually started getting higher on the horizon.

Final night under midnight sun

June 5 – At Sea

The temperature has increased to 46 degrees and for most of the morning the skies were overcast.  A sizable swell was still present.  About 1100 the winds switched to the West and started to increase.  Other than some lectures on Viking history our day was spent relaxing.

June 6 – Olden, Norway

The Quest steamed into Nordfjord and docked at the small town of Olden, which is nestled at the head of the fjord and framed by spectacular hills.  Several weeks before our arrival the new aerial tram at Loen, just a few kilometers from Olden, was officially opened by the Queen of Norway.  Patrick headed out on his tour by Zodiac to the dock in front of the tram station.  All 35 people visiting the cable car boarded and we headed up the 1011 meter single span tram, arriving 5 minutes later.  Seven of the group, including Patrick, then headed out on a hike to the top of the mountain.  There was still a lot of snow patches on the ground which we slogged through. Keen sandals were not the best choice in the snow, since the snow packed up under the arch of the foot and soaked Patrick’s wool socks.  Returning to the top of the tram we had a cup of coffee ($7 USD) in the new restaurant before riding the tram back to the zodiac for a tour of Nordfjord.  Patrick then walked through the town of Olden looking for photo opportunities.

Approaching Olden, Nordfjord


New Lutheran Church, Olden

Patrick Hiking above Loen

Miriam boarded a bus for a different tour into the villages of Blakset, Fjelli and Holland, then on to several viewpoints, including the spectacular Nos viewpoint with a 1600 foot sheer drop into the valley below.  Her tour concluded with a visit to Nordfjordeid village before returning to the ship.

June 7, 2017 – Bergen, Norway

Since we have been to Bergen several times and have seen most of the traditional tourist sights, we had arranged to meet our friends Randi and Stewart MacKay, who live about 35 miles away on a island south of Bergen.  The Quest docked right at one end of the old harbor, an easy 5 minute walk to the center of Bryggen, the historic Hanseatic area of Bergen at the head of the harbor.  We spent from late morning to late afternoon catching up and swapping pictures of kids, grandkids and places we have been, while enjoying a nice meal overlooking the inner harbor at Bergen.  When it was time to return to the ship the light rain from earlier had turned into serious showers.

June 8, 2017 – Stavanger, Norway

Stavanger has exploded in size and has massive new construction since Patrick last visited it on business 35 years ago.  The Seabourn Quest docked right in the inner harbor at 0700, so those people hiking to Preikestollen (Pulpit Rock) could make the hike (a 7 ½ hour round trip) and get back to the ship before it departed at 1600.  Patrick was one of the 27 guests attempting the hike in steady rain and fog.  Patrick had completed the hike previously, wearing business attire.  The trail is in much better shape since the Norwegian government hired Nepali Sherpas to rebuild the trail and it now resembles the trails Patrick hiked on the way to Mt. Everest Base Camp in 2012.

The ship and tour guide enforced strict “turn around and descend” times to make sure the group could catch the correct ferry boats and return to the ship.  About half the group, including Patrick, made it to the top where the fog, rain and clouds made it a dreary place, offset by the champagne toast the guides had waiting at the top.

Our plan was for Miriam to take the cruise boat up Lysefjord and view the rock from below.  The miserable weather conditions precluded even a glimpse from below.

Mix of old and new in Stavanger

Approaching Pulpit Rock in fog

Finally on top of rock

The Seabourn Quest departed Stavanger on time, completing the Norwegian portion of our cruise, heading for Skagen, Denmark.

June 9, 2017 – Skagen, Denmark

The predicted strong winds that could have prevented the Quest from docking at Skagen never materialized, so the ship docked on schedule at 0900.  The cruise ship terminal is fairly new and within walking distance from the town center, but a free shuttle bus was provided anyway.

We met our friend Lisa Marx and her friend Jette Hertoft for a delicious and expansive Danish Smorrebrod lunch in town.  We avoided the aquavit, but did indulge in Danish beer.  After lunch we then wandered the main street which is one long pedestrian shopping mall.  Skagen is a popular tourist destination for Danish residents as well as the occasional cruise ship. Since we had visited Skagen in 2013 and walked out to the point where the Kattegat and  Skaggerak meet we did not repeat that experience.

Our lunch stop in Skagen

Another Lutheran Church, Skagen

Skagen Fisherman’s Memorial

The rain held off, mostly, until departure time, and then was steady through the night as the ship travelled the 155 nautical miles to Copenhagen.

June 10, 2017 – Copenhagen

The ship docked early, at 0600, close to the center of town and just two city blocks from the “Little Mermaid “statue. Rain was predicted, sometimes heavy, with temperatures only reaching 60 degrees.  We have to be back on board by 1545 for the safety briefing before we depart and begin the Baltic portion of our cruise.  All but 38 passengers disembarked here at Copenhagen, so we will have a whole new group of people to meet.

The rain never materialized and after the hubbub of disembarkation for those guests leaving the Seabourn Quest we headed ashore and walked around the Kasstellet near the ship.  This fortress is still an active military installation, open to the public.  It is a pentagon star shape surrounded by a moat with high walls on both sides of the moat.  The moat is now the home of swans, ducks and other sea birds.  The crowds around the popular attractions such as the “Little Mermaid” continued to build, as did the tour buses, so we returned to the ship area and walked around an outlet mall right across from the ship.  Like most outlet malls there were few real bargains and nothing that screamed “take me” for either of us.

The cruise departed on schedule with a full ship and 292 passengers new to Seabourn out of the 420 on board.

Miriam and Patrick celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary with a dinner in The Grill by Thomas Keller, at a table decorated with rose petals in a heart shaped pattern.

45th Anniversary dinner at the Grill on Seabourn Quest

June 11, 2017 – at Sea

A relaxing day at sea under mostly sunny skies, with an ability to soak up some Vitamin D.  Many of the new passengers are in large family or social groups, so the interaction with the other guests is harder than on previous Seabourn sailings.  When our stewardess, Natalya, found out about our anniversary we returned to a cabin littered with hearts and kissing swans made from towels!

June 12, 2017 – Tallinn, Estonia

We did a walking tour of the old town in rain, heavy at times.  The rain and crowds made for challenging photography.  The town would be pleasant for exploring if the weather had been better.  The narrow cobblestone streets and old buildings, with many churches, old houses and upper and lower city walls could occupy several days.  Taking cover from the rain after browsing the street stalls nestled behind the old city walls during our free time we ducked into “Peppersack” restaurant for a coffee and pastry.  The building dates from 1432, but is still in good shape.

In the rain in Tallin

Narrow Twisting streets

Staircase between upper and lower towns

Steert Vendors

Center of lower town

Our food stop, built in 1432

June 13, 2017 – St. Petersburg, Russia

The ship docking location was changed from Lieutenant Schmidt’s Facade on the Neva River just a few short blocks from the Hermitage to the newer Marine Façade cruise terminal 5 miles from the Hermitage.  The Marine Façade is capable of holding as many as 7 cruise ships, and we were one of 5 when we arrived.

The bus trip to the center of the city takes as long as 45 minutes when the traffic is heavy.  The streets are complicated by the many canals winding around the city, and the relatively few bridges crossing them.  Our tour began with immigration formalities and a bus ride to the Hermitage Museum, with a photo stop at St. Isaacs Cathedral just a few blocks away.  Our tour began with an early entry (before official opening hours) into the museum, where we had to shed jackets and backpacks in the cloakroom before entering the museum.  Passing through the Egyptian Room, our first stop was the gold and diamond rooms where photography was prohibited, but where we saw much of the Romanov collection of artifacts and jewels.  Our guides could translate the explanations given by the museum tour guides, which are required in those rooms.  In fact, we were split into two groups of 10 for that portion of the tour.  Those rooms require the museum guides and they limit the number of groups in the rooms. By the time we exited those rooms, the public was streaming into the main museum and we became part of the massive crowds viewing the artwork and sculpture.  It was nearly impossible to get close to the Da Vinci’s, but with plastic protecting them, the view was not that good anyway.  An individual could spend days in the Hermitage and still not see everything.

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

Leaving the Hermitage sometime after noon we then visited St. Peter and St. Paul Church with it’s slender 431 foot gold spire, the highest in Europe.  The church sits inside the fortress of the same name on an island in the Neva River.  The river and canal system was crowded with sightseeing boats, hydrofoils and private yachts, all traveling at relatively high speed down the waterways.

Returning to our bus, we headed back to the Admiralty Façade for lunch at “Bellini” restaurant, which included vodka, borsht, stroganoff and a folkloric show.

After lunch, our final stop of the day was at “The Church of Spilled Blood”, a massive orthodox style building commemorating the assassination of Czar Nicholas II.  The building is made to look old, but in fact was built in 1905.  After the Bolshevik revolution, the building was used for storage, and as a morgue during WWII.  The building escaped major damage during the war.  It was restored beginning in 1971 and an unexploded artillery shell was found imbedded in the dome while repairing leaks in the roof.

Returning to the ship we hurriedly changed and grabbed a bite to eat before re-boarding busses for the one hour trip to Catherine Palace, in Pushkin.  We entered the palace after hours for a special tour, putting on booties to protect the floors.  The palace was heavily damaged during the war, and is still undergoing restoration. Photos were allowed, including in the “Amber Room”, considered by some to be the 8thwonder of the world, where the walls are composed of complex and beautiful amber mosaics.

Entering the massive ballroom, which reminded us of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, but better restored, we were served champagne and then listened and watched classical music, opera arias and folkloric dancing before exiting to the main courtyard.  In the main courtyard we were treated to a military band as we slowly walked back to the main gates of the palace and got back on the buses for the one hour drive back to the ship.  The rain and wind started just a few minutes after we boarded the bus.  We arrived back at the port about 2230 and after clearing Russian immigration were greeted with a banner held by 8 crew members saying “Welcome Home”, and then offered hot chocolate with Bailey’s after we cleared security on board.  The biggest surprise were the snack plates waiting in our suite, with small sandwiches, cookies, fruit and chocolates.

June 14, 2017 – St. Petersburg

Morning arrived all too soon and after breakfast in our suite we headed for the bus, after clearing Russian immigration again.  No new stamps, just a look to see if we were on an organized tour.  Our destination was the Romanov palace called Peterhof, about one hour drive away on the Gulf of Finland.  We once again had early entry before the crowds, and after once again donning booties visited a number of rooms restored after Nazi shelling heavily damaged Peterhof during the war.  Many of the artifacts were removed before the shelling and either buried in secret locations or transported east of the Ural’s for safekeeping.  What could not be removed was either destroyed or looted during the time Germany occupied the area.  The restoration was done using the same materials, tools and techniques as in the original construction and was very beautiful.  After touring the palace itself we headed for the gardens, some 4500 acres of 150 fountains and gardens, both formal and wild.  The view from the canal leading to the sea reminded one of Versailles, only more spectacular with all the fountains in operation.

Part of gardens at Peterhof Palace

Fountains at Peterhof

Returning to the city for lunch at “Almond” restaurant we then proceeded to the Faberge Museum and looked at the collection of Imperial Eggs and other Faberge creations.  We also looked at similar enameled work by other Russian jewelers.  Following that visit we returned to the ship under sunny skies for a relaxing evening on board Seabourn Quest.

June 15, 2017 – St. Petersburg

We spent the day aboard getting our luggage ready for the next phase of our journey.  Without going on an organized tour we could not explore ashore, but we did not desire that anyway, since the ship is moored far from the city.  The skies cleared and the temperature climbed into the 70’s, a welcome change from the cool, wet weather of the last few days.

The ship held an “epicurean event” on the pool deck as we departed, with lots of caviar and other gourmet treats as we sailed away from Russia.  On the way out we passed a large Russian naval base guarding the approaches to St. Petersburg, passing through a narrow entrance guarded by fortifications on both sides.  The only naval ship of note was a submarine flying the Russian St. Andrews Cross flag, so it is apparently still in commission.

Hydrofoil on way to Peterhof

Russian Submarine as we left St. Petersburg

June 16, 2017 – Helsinki, Finland

After transiting some narrow passages, the Seabourn Quest docked near the old town shortly after 0700.  The weather was nice enough to eat breakfast outside on the aft deck.  We had arranged a “Introduction to Helsinki” tour after Patrick’s kayaking excursion was cancelled due to lack of participants (he was the only one who signed up).  After the tour which included the Rock Church and the Sibelius Monument, Patrick walked around the old harbor and looked at the many icebreakers moored close to the Quest.  The Baltic is now mostly ice free in the winter so they get little use.

The Quest departed at 1400 and headed back through the scenic archipelago to the Baltic Sea and set a course for Stockholm, where we will dis-embark the Seabourn Quest after 21 nights aboard.

Sibelius Monument – Helsinki

Rock Church – Helsinki

Rock Church – 2
Lutheran Cathedral and main square
Street Food – Helsinki

Farmer’s Market

Rugs Drying in the sun

Life Boat along esplanade

Icebreakers without much to due because of climate change
Leaving Helsinki through narrow passages

June 17, 2017 – Stockholm

The approach to Stockholm was obscured by dense fog.  We could barely see the small islands lining the channel on either side of the ship.  The foghorn sounded every two minutes right up until we were backing into the slip at the cargo terminal some 6 miles from downtown.

We had ordered breakfast in the room, and it arrived early, at 0615. The Seabourn Quest actually docked at 0700 and by 0715 the first guests were leaving the ship for the last time.  Our transportation to town was set for 0900, so after a final cup of coffee in the main dining room we headed down the gangway at 0830.

The rooms were not ready at the Sheraton Hotel on the harbor in Stockholm, so we stored our bags and headed out sightseeing.  We took a harbor tour “Under the Bridges” in sunny warm weather.  The tour included passage though a set of locks into the freshwater lake that is part of the city which is a marine playground with beaches, boats, commercial traffic and apparently no speed or wake limits.  The locks were almost the best part of the tour as we watched some boats get sideways.  Most boats just hold on to lines along the side and with rafting they sometimes can not hold on and the fun begins.  The attendants there only collect the tolls for using the locks.  Just as in Seattle, there is a bridge just outside the locks which must be raised for sailboats and commercial traffic, adding to the complexity.

Gamla Stan and Palace

Modern Functionalism Architecture and old liveaboard boats

Main street Gamla Stan

Inside the Vasa Museum

By the time the 2 ½ hour tour was finished our room was ready at the hotel.  Miriam rested and Patrick headed on foot to the Vasa Museum, about 2 ½ miles from the hotel.  A detour around the island of Gamla Stan, just across from the hotel, was interesting, but on a sunny Saturday was packed with tourists. The Vasa museum was also interesting, but dimly lit for preservation reasons, so photos were hard due to both the dim lighting  and the sheer size of the Vasa inside the building.  The Vasa is basically the same length as HMS Victory in Portsmouth, but narrower.  The narrow beam and insufficient ballast are believed to be the primary technical reasons for the capsizing just 20 minutes into her maiden voyage.  The builders knew the ship was “tender”, but no one was willing to tell the Swedish King of the risks.

We have an early train to Gothenburg in the morning, so dinner happened at the hotel.  The dinner included an unusual presentation of pickled herring, which actually tasted very good.  On the other hand, the souls vide beef presentation was not, so we asked to have it put on the grill for a bit, which made it OK.

June 18, 2017 – enroute Denmark via Gothenburg

Stockholm central station is only 2 blocks from the hotel, so getting there in time for an 0810 train was easy.  The trains are modern, have wi-fi and to our surprise our ticket included both breakfast and lunch, but so close together we were still full from the first meal when the second was delivered.

The train arrived on time and the taxi ride to the ferry terminal only took a few minutes at a cost of 200 Swedish Krona, about $20 USD. We arrived so early we were the only people in the terminal for some time.  Large glass walls on the seaward side of the terminal provided good views of the many pleasure craft and tour boats going in and out of Gothenburg harbor.  By one hour before departure the large lounge was packed with foot passengers and luggage heading to Denmark.

We boarded the Stena Jutlandica on time for the 3 ½ hour transit of the Kattegat to Fredrikshavn in Denmark.  The route winds its way through the Goteburg Archipelago filled with boats under sail and power and some very large marinas.  The topography really reminds us of the San Juans.  Leaving the Archipelago the ferry nosed out into the mild seas of the Kattegat.

Arriving on schedule at Fredrikshavn we joined the throngs of other foot passengers disembarking the Stena Jutlandica.  There is a long covered walkway leading out of the ferry terminal area and crossing the main road, with escalators and elevators at the end to get back down the street level.  The car rental agency was one block away, but closed!  Several phone calls and 30 minutes later we found that the keys were at the concierge desk in the Hotel Jutlandica, right at the base of the elevator.

A few minutes later we were in the car and headed for the beach cottage in Hou, where Ted and Lisa Marx had a light meal waiting for us.

June 19, 2017 – Hou, Denmark

After a continental breakfast Patrick and Ted began assembling the 10 by 5 meter tent which was last used at Lisa’s birthday party which we attended in 2013.  That project took until noon, but fortunately the wind held off until after the roof of the tent was on.  We all went to the harbor in Hou for Danish hotdogs for lunch and then relaxed under the tent playing Mexican Train.  Dinner was at a shoreside restaurant in Hals where we had Wienerschnitsel with fresh peas and roasted potatoes in servings so  large we each only ate half and took the rest back to the cabin for lunch the next day.

The evening ended with another marathon Mexican Train match.

Lisa Marx’s Cabin

June 20, 2017 – Hou, Denmark

After a continental breakfast in the sun facing the Kattegat we headed into the local fish market, which was unfortunately closed on Tuesdays.  Back in the car we headed for Voersgaard Castle, built in 1523, not far from the town of Saeby.  We had driven by the castle, which is believed to be haunted, in 2013, but it was too early in the day and was closed.  It seems every castle open to tourists in Denmark claims to be haunted, probably just to attract tourists.  Today it was open, and several tour buses were in the lot.  Workmen were building sets for the upcoming Medieval Fair in July, where everyone wears period costumes.

Returning back to Hou, we looked for items for dinner, which was to be an outdoor event with a number of other attendees, both relatives and friends of Ted and Lisa.  We ended up deciding on pizzas and shrimp salad.  The wind had picked up again, so Ted and Patrick added several of the side walls to the tent to provide a windbreak, as well as additional lines and stakes to combat the wind.

The evening was very enjoyable as we shared martinis by Patrick, the salad by Ted and the pizza by the local pizza joint.

June 21, 2017 – Hou, Denmark

After breakfast in the sun , we headed to Hou to buy fresh fish for dinner.  The fish market had a wide variety of fish, some still moving around.  Lisa picked Plaice, which is reputed to be better than Dover Sole, as well as some peel and eat shrimp,  We then went to Hals, where we were pleasantly surprised by a large flea market.  We found some gifts for Ted and Lisa and also for our upcoming lunch hosts, Jette and Mogens Hertoft.  They live next door to Ted and Lisa and have a large house and extensive gardens.  Lunch was Smorrebrod, aquavit, beer and carrot cake for dessert.  Lunch finished about 1530 and then the neighbors on the other side showed up for a visit.

Our smorrebrod lunch by Jette
Enjoying lunch at the Hertoft gazebo
Dinner was finally cooked by Lisa near 2000, with the fresh Plaice pan fried, boiled potatoes and fresh peas.  After dinner we started the final game of Mexican Train.

June 22, 2017 – Enroute Copenhagen

The night was all too short, since the game finished after 0100.  After a quick breakfast we headed out in the rain and began the drive to Copenhagen.  We took two ferries, one a high speed SWATH vessel that travelled at 40 knots and carried several hundred cars and trucks.  The ferries cut 150 kilometers from the trip and we arrived at the airport to drop off the rental car shortly after 1500.  We took a taxi back to the city to 71 Nyhavn Hotel for the evening and enjoyed a Thai style tasting menu dinner at “SEA” restaurant on the waterfront in Nyhavn.

June 23, 2017 – Enroute Bellevue

After a typical Scandinavian buffet breakfast at the hotel we took our pre-arranged transportation to the Copenhagen Airport.  It is under massive renovation and can be confusing on where to go.  After checking in we were able to use “fast track” through security.  Inside security was a massive shopping arcade which one had to walk through to get to immigration control for the flight to Heathrow.  British Airways has a new lounge next to the departure gate which we were able to use.

The flight appeared to be fully booked and the line to board was unusually long as they were trying to convince many passengers to check their carry-on bags to reduce the crowding and delays in trying to find space for the bags.  Even in business we had to search for a spot several rows back to place our bags.  There was a meal service even on the 1 ½ hour flight, consisting of a cold chicken, watercress and potato salad.

Arriving at Heathrow, we were bused to the main terminal and after clearing security proceeded to the BA Concorde Lounge, where we relaxed until our flight was called at 1500.  While in the lounge we had some salt beef sandwiches and rose champagne while we waited.  Our flight left from Satellite C, which meant an additional delay to ride the underground train to the boarding gate.  The flight was just boarding, so we were one of the first passengers on board.  After a glass of champagne we changed into our sleep suits and relaxed for the next 9 hours as the British Airways 747 flew over the middle of Greenland, Baffin Island, Northern Canada and on to Seattle. 

So ends the European 2017 Adventure.

North Cape Cruise Post 2

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.