Monday, April 30, 2018

Day 2 - Oksfjord

About 14:40 the ship arrived at Oksfjord.

After lunch I performed my usual afternoon activity, a nap.

Something changed. We could see trees on the lower sides of the mountains. No leaves of course.

We approached Oksfjord.

We were instructed to stay on the ship because only a short stop was scheduled. However the gang plank was installed.

And a bunch of people got off. Apparently the most convenient mode of transportation to the village of 500 people is the ship. There is one café and one pub. 

It might have been small but it was the most interesting village in the area. When you think about it the location is spectacular, but you wouldn't call these towns and villages 'charming'. 'Utilitarian' is a more appropriate word.

And away we went again.

Day 2 - Hammerfest

We woke about 7:30 and soon had our first breakfast on board.

During the night we went past our most northerly point  of the voyage so it  is all down hill from there. Well South if you are picky.

We were heading to Hammerfest.

More windmills. Most of Norway's power is hydroelectric so I wonder why they need the windmills. 

Every time you look out there are more beautiful snow covered islands.

However, they may look good from a distance but they appear to be just rock and quite inhospitable.

Just before we reached Hammerfest, we gathered on the aft deck and were given a healthy hot drink to try. Marianne asked what was in it and it turned out to be Earl Grey tea, star anise, orange pieces and regular coffee. It was different but quite tasty.

We then were given a lengthy talk about Hammerfest and its history.

Norway makes a lot of money from the oil and gas fields off the coast. This is a new liquefied natural gas plant. Norway has also developed an 'Oil Fund' where revenues from the oil and gas are deposited for future use. Most governments spend all such revenues or give tax cuts. Norway looks to the future.

An LPG tanker waiting to be loaded.

The islands come in all shapes and sizes.

We past by the LPG plant and headed for the harbor. The plant is actually on an island by itself where cows used to graze. It is known as Milk Island.

Part of Hammerfest.

Entrance to the harbor.

Hammerfest is the most northerly town in the world. Ushaia in Argentina is the most southerly.

It appears to be an icebreaker ship. Just look at that bow.

Notice the curious pedestal to the right of the tall tower.

The photo is blurry, but this part of a set of triangulation points called the Struve Geodetic Arc that stretched from Hammerfest to the Black Sea and yielded the first accurate measurement of a meridian. It is now on the World Heritage List.

I liked the strange mix in the photo. 

We disembarked and wandered into the town. Every building in Hammerfest bar one was destroyed by the Germans in WWII so every thing is new. The only older building left is a small funeral chapel that was built in 1937.

Bus shelter.

The town of 10,000 people is surrounded by steep hills and fences have been installed to prevent snow avalanches.

More fences.

In this landscape of limited colour, anything bright is welcome.

Building at the top of the hill.

Another that I suspect might be a restaurant.

All the cars have studded tyres and they make quite a din.

Still, it is a pretty port area.

If I lived in these northern parts, I would be tempted to paint my house yellow.

The main street. Apparently the author Bill Bryson visited the town and described it as
'an agreeable enough town in a thankyou-God-for-not-making-me-live-here sort of way'.

Ole Olsen was a Norwegian composer who was born in Hammerfest.

Modern church.

So we returned to the ship and I think Bill Bryson was right,

We past a shop window showing some photos of pre-war Hammerfest.