We set our alarms to make sure we were up on deck for the moment we crossed into the Arctic Circle. It was precisely 7:23:25am and still dark outside.
The reason we can be so sure is that there was a competition to guess the time and the winner was awarded with the Hurtigruten flag flying a that time, signed by the Captain. Pretty cool!
Whilst there is no dotted line laid down across the ocean and landscape, there is a marker on a rocky outcrop as we sail over the 66 degree north mark. We did notice a remarkable and almost immediate change in the scenery. The rolling hills and lower farm areas gave way to more dramatic, rocks and mountains jutting out of the water. The mountain peaks are higher in the distance and have more jagged peaks. There seem to be less trees around too. We couldn’t see the birch and spruce trees that were so common in south and middle Norway.
Due to the deep waters we sail quite close to the mountains and shoreline. It is easy to see the homes dotted a long the foot of the mountains as well as areas where the ground has given way and avalanches have tumbled down the side – or if you like, the trolls weather forecast was wrong and they all came out on a sunny day and turned to stones.
We toasted our crossing with champagne and of course a few selfies…It is one of the milestones of our trip to venture across into the Polar Circle. As we sail into clearer skies we hope for a clear night to see the Northern Lights. By all reports the activity has been quite strong, we just need the clouds to blow over!
After the crossing we headed off to breakfast before the ship made a short stop at [Orsno]. This was just a short stop to let a canine passenger off for it’s morning necessity’s! Yes, they have just two cabins that are pet friendly, so you can bring your dog on the cruise with you. The areas where the dogs are allowed are restricted, but still, not a bad option to take beloved pets with you.
An hour or so later we went back upon on deck we gathered to witness a special visitor to the ship. The Captain and a number of senior staff also gathered to greet “Njord”, Norse God of the Seafarers. Njord is responsible with wealth, fertility, the sea, and seafaring in the Vikings’ religion. A visit by Njord to the ship should mean we have plenty of fresh fish to eat, calm waters and see the lights…
Njord was also here to help with the Polar Crossing Ceremony. The ceremony consists of the ship’s Captain, ably assisted by Njord, pouring ice cubes and ice water down the back! Brrr… Accustomed as we are to cold water, we couldn’t resist taking part in the ceremony…it helped that anyone who took part also was given a shot of Cloud Berry Liqueur!
The other Arctic crossing speciality was the post office. We could buy special arctic circle stamps to send home on a postcard. The captain sat and personally stamped and signed each and every postcard that passengers wanted to send. There would have been over 500 post cards.
By this time we were due to have lunch and prepare for our Arctic Coastal Walk after docking in Bodo – that’s for the next post.