- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

23 July 2009, At Sea off the Norwegian Coast.

Norway as part of the Scandinavian Peninsula is a long and vertical country. You have to travel quite a ways to get from the lower point of the country, North of Denmark all the way to the top, South of Spitsbergen. From 58oN to 71oN that is roughly 780 nautical miles as the crow flies. As we are going all the way to the top and beyond there has to be some sea time in between ports to make it possible. We travel of course more than the 780 nautical miles to get to the top as the Norwegian coast is not straight and we have sail around rocks and islands and other protrusions. Today was thus a day at sea while we travelled from Kristiansund to Honningsvag which lies just around the corner (past it) from the North Cape. With a ship you try to sail as much as possible in a straight line and with Norway that works quite well, if you stay about 4 miles off the coast to start with. The coast, laying in a North Easterly direction, then recedes away from your course line and you only have to make the occasional course change to follow the general direction of the coast.

A coast that is sometimes just over 5 miles away and sometimes more than 12, depending on the way the coast line recedes. So we happily followed our coastal track and in the course of the day we saw the Lofoten and the Vesteralen islands on our starboard side. By now we had also officially left the North Sea and we were sailing in the Norwegian Sea which eventually goes over into the Arctic Sea. Before we enter the Arctic Sea you first have to go over the Arctic Circle which is located at 66oNorth. We did that at 7am in the morning. The Officer of the Watch honked the horn and 47 guests under the leadership of the Cruise Director jumped in the pool and “swam across” As we are Holland America ,the pool temperature was not Arctic but a pleasant 86oF so a good time could be had by all. A larger number of guests were also up and about and witnessed the proceedings from a dry distance. I remained even further way, watching it on the security camera while having my early morning cup of tea. I have learned to stay away from these sort of things as I may get thrown into the pool if I am not paying attention.

However the event was declared a great success and everybody has pictures to prove it. The next thing is that all will get A Crossing the Arctic Circle certificate. When you go over the equator you become a “shellback”. When you cross the Arctic Circle you become a member of the “most ancient and honorable order of the blue nose”. Also nice to have for your scrap book. While this was going on, the wind died away completely and the sea became as smooth as a mirror. Most unusual but certainly well received. The skies remained mainly overcast with the sun peaking through occasionally. The overcast bit made me happy as it means very little chance of fog and the peaking through made the guests happy as they could see that the sun was still above the horizon by the time they went to bed and would still be there by the time they would get up again. Of course it did not stop one of the guests complaining about the fact that now the sun shone into the cabin late in the evening………. You could of course close the curtains before you go to sleep………..

As it was a sea day, we made it a formal day and I had finally the chance to host a table again. The past cruise with only port days and the cruise before with all its early arrivals and departures had made that completely impossible. However tomorrow we arrive at the very decent time of 11 am. All fast; so nothing prevented me attending to my social duties as a captain. The weather seems to be holding and thus it should be a wonderful day tomorrow in Honningsvag.


  1. Missed Career at Sea

    July 24, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    The things that go on to keep everybody happy, éh Captain? So the guests were cheating on their polar bear dip? Might I suggest the complaining guest to use ear plugs and eye shields … I also had to try this new format that had to conform to the “wizzards” ideas ???? What a waste of time and effort!

  2. The blog remains as great as always, but the new layout is not as nice or friendly as the original. What was the reason for the change?

  3. Charles Helsby

    July 24, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I went on MS Oosterdam straight after she recently left dry dock and, just before we embarked, I enjoyed tracking her each day on http://marinetraffic.com/ais/ or http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/cruiseships.phtml
    I have attempted to track Prinsendam’s progress but I can’t find her on either of these websites. It would make your daily blog even more interesting if your progress could be tracked online.

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