Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

Svolvær and Auroras 10/4

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We slept in a bit today and didn’t eat breakfast.until after 9:15.

I took a couple of photos through the window before breakfast.

This morning I took a photo of the way they serve hardboiled eggs.  I don’t know how they taste. They seem to be continuously boiling.

At 10:15 were were called to deck 5 to  view Risøyrenna. The Risøy channel runs 4.8 kilometres long through the Risøysund. Before Risøyrenna was dredged several times, it had been a sound – shallow bay – that people could cross on horseback at low tide between Andøya and Hinnøya. In his capacity as a member of the Norwegian.  When we went through the channel, there were only 2 meters of water between our ship and the bottom.

There were cormorants.


Ellen and I went up to the lounge on deck 8 for a while before lunch.  The meals seem to come so close together. We saw navy ships before we lunch

I really like sitting up on the 8th deck lounge because I can watch the views in front of the ship.

The brds sure like to follow along with the fishing boats.

Sometimes the views are so etherial.

We were just looking at the beautiful rock formations when we noticed that one of the excursions was leaving.  A group of people had just transferred into a small boat and were on their way into the Trollfjord to watch them throw fish into the air so the Sea Eagles would feed on them.

That meant we were about to go back into the Trollfjord (We did this at night on previous day).  Seeing the rock formations(and how close they were as we entered the fjord in the daytimes was a treat since we couldn’t actually see in the dark of the night.


Marty and I helped this couple take a photo of themselves so they took one of us.

John’s lecture today, “Chasing the Moon Shadow – The Magic of Total Solar Eclipses” was absolutely wonderful.  John is not only an Aurora enthusiast; he has gone to many total solar eclipses.  It would be an incredible experience to be able to join John on one of his total solar eclipse trips.

We stopped in Stokmarknes at the Hurtigruten Museum and learned about Hurtigruten.

Richard With was an experienced sea captain who had been involved in trade in Risøyhamn in Vesterålen. He was one of the men behind the establishment of Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab steamship company in Stokmarknes in 1881. He started working with able pilots to experiment with sailing at night, even through the winter. This would enable ships to sail faster and to fixed timetables. Until then, the few steamships tended to be often late and have no clear or reliable schedules. In 1893, Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab received an annual grant of NOK 70,000 from the state that enabled it to service a route between Trondheim and Hammerfest in the summer, and Trondheim and Tromsø in the winter. Hurtigruten was in business.

In 1893 there was not a single steamship quay along the coast, and service at all the harbors was by relays. A despatch boat would come out to the ship with post, cargo and passengers. Quays were built gradually, the last being Berlevåg in 1973.

At half past eight on 2 July 1893, the ‘Vesteraalen’ sailed from Trondheim, under the command of Captain Richard With. He sailed through the night to Bodø, where he arrived in harbour on 3 July. Brass bands played, and the whole town of several thousand people turned out to watch, all wearing their Sunday best. No one wanted to miss this marvel of speed. The commotion was no less in Tromsø on 4 July, and there was just as much of a party atmosphere when the ship arrived in Hammerfest in the middle of the light summer night. The speed was amazingly modern and fast, and from the very beginning, the new connection between south and north was given the name Hurtigruten – the Express Route.

In 1936, Hurtigruten was complete, calling at one port per day, each way. However, war hit the fleet hard, sinking 9 ships with the loss of about 700 lives. For example, the first Hurtigruten boat, ‘Vesteraalen’, was torpedoed outside the Øksfjord in 1941. After a while, the ships only went as far as Tromsø, while Finnmark was serviced by smaller vessels on what was known as the Replacement Route. The fleet was built up again after the war, from the ‘Erling Jarl’ in 1949 to the ‘Nordnorge’ in 1964.

We had an early buffet dinner tonight so we would be ready to take a walk in Svolvær.

Svolvær is tiny even by Norwegian standards with a population of less than 5,000, but it’s a place that feels much bigger.  Svolvær itself was first mentioned in historical records in the late 16th century. The name is likely derived from the Old Norse word ‘svair’, which means chill. We walked up to a church.  Lil tells many stories as we walk.

We ate dinner early so we could take a walk with Liv  in Svolvær. It is is tiny even by Norwegian standards with a population of less than 5,000, but it’s a place that feels much bigger.  Svolvær itself was first mentioned in historical records in the late 16th century. The name is likely derived from the Old Norse word ‘svair’, which means chill.

We walked up to the church as usual.

Liv pointed out the fish drying racks.

We were again so lucky tonight because there was another Aurora.  We went up to Deck 8 at about 8:15.  We didn’t see much because we were still in port in Svolvær and the lights were too bright.  But patience paid off.  Again it is harder to see the colors beyond the green in the arc with our naked eyes but standing next to Barbara (a woman from Utah) as she took photos helped to enhance the colors that I could see. It was pretty cold outside but it didn’t seem as cold as it was on other nights. Eventually the ship departed from Svolvær so the lights that interfered with our seeing the Aurora were not as bright.  That made it much easier to see the arc and rays.  We even saw curtains and a corona.

After a while the ship stopped in Stamsund for a short stop and when we left there we were able to be on the back of Deck 8 and face in the right direction.  We could see the glow of the arc in the sky.  John was with us and it was so much fun to have him there pointing out constellations with his laser light.  A arc appeared and even sent up some rays.  John was busy taking photographs.  People with a great deal more scientific knowledge were asking him many questions.  Then the sky began filling with some puffy black clouds.  That actually made the arc behind the clouds even more beautiful.  John’s photographs were great.  We stayed out until about 1:00 am and then gave up on their being any more activity.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow when John is going to show us all of the photos he took on this trip.

Author: Nancy Panitch

Traveling has been a passion of Nancy Panitch's life and she loves seeing how people in other cultures live. Her travels have taken her to many places within the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Being around people inspires her and she has much gratitude for the kindred Souls that are joining together with her in body, mind, and heart. She moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon in 1982. It was one of the best decisions of her life. While in Portland she stays very, VERY busy. She volunteers (Inter-Religious Action Network, Human Rights Council, & ushering for various theaters); attends a Unitarian Universalist church; goes hiking with groups (Cascade Prime Timers & Trails Club of Oregon) and also with individual friends. Book groups, movie group, and bridge groups occupy her time as well. Her quiet activities include yoga, knitting, Sudoku, and reading. She enjoys all of these activities, but making time to see her wonderful 4 grandchildren takes priority over it all. She is happy to share this blog and hopes to encourage others to travel.

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