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Around 10.00, we were invited to go up on to deck 9 as the ship passed through a narrow strait, the Magerøysund, on its way to our next port of call, Honningsvåg, where three excursions were due to set off.

We then learned that all three excursions had had to be cancelled. The authorities in Honningsvåg had closed the main road north out of the town as being too dangerous because of weather. So neither my trip to the North Cape, (the northernmost spot in Norway at 71° N), nor another to a fishing village, nor a hike with the expedition team were able to take place.

The ship was to remain at the port for three-and-a-half hours, from 11.00 to 14.30. So there was plenty of time for a walk within the small town. It was rather enjoyable, in effect a horseshoe walk round the harbour, out by an upper road, and back via a lower, in still air.

As I stood looking at this, a woman came by and said ‘Was ist das?’ I shrugged my shoulders trying to indicate that I didn’t speak German. But what came out of my lips was ‘Ich kennst nicht’, which I now understand was hardly grammatically correct but will have conveyed the necessary. Now I wonder if the sculpture is meant to symbolise the shape of the harbour – not that I would have known how to convey that to the woman!.
Looking back over my right shoulder
Note the snow-retaining fences
Dental surgery

This was the furthest point of the walk, and where one could look straight out to sea. I must quote from an excellent little Hurtigruten book about the voyage and its stopping places. “In the spring, the Norwegian Army’s landing craft transport around 3,800 reindeer over Magerøy Strait to their summer pastures on Magerøy Island. However, during the autumn, when it is time for the reindeer to return to the snow-clad plains of Karasjok, the animals and their calves, born at the end of May/beginning of June, swim across the 1,800 m wide strait.” That must be quite a sight! (It is – I’ve just found this video. Sound on for Sami-inspired music.)

It was much darker than this video suggests. As came to the end of my swivel, I was concerned that I might have captured the couple in full embrace, but it turns out they were taking a selfie – and I can well understand why, with that backdrop.

I turned back.

An information board outside this building, in English, explained that it was one of the first buildings in Honningsvåg after the war, built in 1950, and used to be a Christian meeting house. It is now a cultural venue with concerts and festivals.

Within this view…

… was this. Fishers preparing to go out for the night?

When I got back to the boat, I found that playing on a loop was a series of pictures of what those of us disappointed in our attempt to get to the North Cape might have seen.

I’ve been studying my globe to see what other parts of the world are at 71°N: the north coasts of Alaska and Russia, some of the northernmost islands of Canada, halfway up Greenland. All pretty well uninhabitable. How fortunate the Norwegians are in having the Gulf Stream flow past!

At 15.00 came a talk on…

by Hege, of the expedition team, including some anecdotes about her grandfather’s farmhouse. No top secrets were revealed.

The English speakers’ briefing for the following day was at 17.30. Meanwhile those hoping to leave the boat at Kjøllefjord for a scooter safari, rejoining it at Mehamn two hours later, had been disappointed, as bad weather meant that the first port had been bypassed.

The North Cape is the northernmost point of Norway, and Vardø the most easterly.

Fingers crossed that the several excursions from Kirkenes would take place. More than 100 passengers would be leaving there, and about 80 joining.

There would be a 15-minute stop at Vardø during the night, and a rather longer one, after turnaround at Kirkenes, late afternoon, when those of us who wished to could walk to the Vauban-style fortress. The town had been of strategic importance for centuries, and the domes had been part of NATO’s early warning system (and presumably still are).

We were also given a preview of a trip to come on Day 9, a visit to the Hurtigruten Museum at Stokmarknes, on which I was already booked and to which I was much looking forward.

The Northern Lights appeared again that evening, but afforded me no great photo.