Friday, August 15, 2014

Shore Leave - Arendal & Kristiansand

The last week of this voyage was spent in Arendal, Norway also known as the setting for the movie "Frozen". While we were there we got a copy of the dvd and watched it in the banjer (second movie night in a week - crazy!). It's a beautiful place and easy to see why Disney chose it as the set for a movie although the film version looks quite different from the real Aredal. One of the nicest things about our docking location was the ice cream stand just off the bow. There were several visits there during our stay!

During the week we hosted a number of events from press conferences to receptions to open ship every day. We had the mayor of Kristiansand stay on board as well!  The week was some sort of politcal event but I never really understood what it was all about. In town different organizations had tents set up and if I understood Norwegian I think it would have made a lot more sense. 

One evening there was a "daysail" and it was the perfect night for it. The weather was clear and we did a slow motor out to some lighthouses and back passing an old fishing village on the way. The group who had booked the ship brought a jazz band with them and that was a pleasant addition. 

It was a good mix of busy days and quiet ones, I had time on a couple of occasions to iron tablecloths, not a bad job considering it's staionary, clean, warm and dry! You can't say that about many jobs on board! One morning I was able to get out to try wakeboarding for the second time. Happily I got up on the first try and did a few short runs before passing the board off to someone else. 

At the end of the week we returned to Kristiansand and I spent my last two nights out with crew mates exploring the play structures by the water (how many people fit on this giant swing?) and playing more beach/sand volleyball then I have ever done (which isn't saying a whole lot). My last day on board we had a shorter work day with a 10:00 brunch and 17:00 dinner. In between I packed and cleaned my cabin. Taking down the pictures from the walls always makes it feel like the end, more so then packing somehow. Anyways another journey done and a 19 hour transit back to Canada in progress as I write. 

Shore Leave - Kristiansand

After the last voyage we had a couple days in Kristiansand before heading off to Arendal. It was a chance for us to catch our breaths, catch up on some sleep and say good-bye to a number of crew. Sadly this is where the galley girls parted ways, with Nadia heading off to England for a bit of fun before heading home. 

On arrival day the whole crew went out for dinner on the ship's "welfare fund". Because Kristiansand is her home port we were able to lock the doors, hoist the gangway (drawbridge style) and enjoy a meal in a restaurant. We came back to continue the fun with dancing on deck (this was not the catch up on your sleep day!). 

The following day we were supposed to be having a daysail but a storm caused by the tail end of a hurricane cancelled those plans! We had a late breakfast/brunch and spent a pretty relaxed day doing some clean up and keeping the ship properly attached to the dock (even in the sheltered harbour you could feel the waves from the storm!). That night we rigged up a projector in the banjer and watched SS Martha, a 1960's Danish comedy about a crew on a cargo ship. I think it's the second most "required viewing" on board, topped only by Around Cape Horn. 

And that was Kristiansand for this go around. The next morning there was a break in the weather and we were gone by 6:30 in the morning. 

Sailing Along - Denmark to Norway

Quite the opposite of the last sail - this one was a gentleman's sail. Less then 10 voyage crew, nice weather and calm seas. 

Due to some crew changes Nadia moved into my cabin and we shared it the rest of her time on board. Still not sick of each other after a summer of working and playing together! 

The last night before coming in we spent at anchor, in the same location to our anhorage before grad in May. A pleasant place to spend a day.  Galley girls went for a swim on our break and though it was cold at first it soon felt refreshing rather than freezing and we had a nice time in the water. 

That night we had a BBQ on deck followed by breakfast on deck the next morning. We were motoring through a very narrow and picturesque channel and it was great to eat breakfast outside with amazing scenery!

Shore leave - Esbjerg, Denmark

Last festival port! Getting in a day early was great as it was a bonus day without any arrangements on board. During our stay we had a few including lunch for a 50 person shanty choir and a reception that a prince of Denmark attended!

There was fun to be had as well as work. Danish ice cream is just as good as I remembered and getting a cone was an almost daily occurrence. At every festival there is a crew party and in Esbjerg we decided to host the crews from the other Nordic ships for a small after party. Another of the ships, Raddich, hosted a pre-party so it was a pretty social night!

The festival kindly provided wifi which was great especially as the signal reached my cabin! It's so much easier to stay in touch when you don't have to go out and seek wifi. They also collected mail for us and I was happy to have a new batch of notes and letters to read. 

One afternoon on my break I rented a bike and cycled out to the Four White Men, a sculpture near the water. After taking the requisite pictures I waded out into the water, it was low tide, and enjoyed the sea from a different perspective. A quick stop at the maritime museum and for an ice cream and then time to return the bike and get back to work. This was one of the few excursions the galley girls didn't do together. How strange to come back and have to ask "how was your afternoon?"

I finally got the chance to see a bit of the other Norwegian ships, Raddich and Lehmkuhl. Raddich I was able to see a bit of during the party and I had a 10 minute tour of Lehmkuhl before their evening deck party started. Both are bigger, but not necessarily nicer, than Sorlandet. Of course I was particularly interested in the galleys and enjoyed seeing different set ups. 

Sailing Along - Norway to Denmark

On this voyage my goal was to survive. We had 50+ voyage crew and providing food for an extra 20 people definitely stretched the galley department. I think Nadia and I worked overtime every day and we counted down the days til port. In addition to the increase in crew we were also participating in a race which meant going as fast as we could, often close hauled into the wind. One day the wind picked up in the half hours before breakfast and lunch causing us to heel over quite a bit. The galley girls were not impressed but since we got up over 10 knots we let it pass. 

Thankfully all the going fast meant we got in early. In addition to coming alongside a day early we also had a night at anchor. The other Norwegian sailing ships, Christian Raddich and Straastad Lehmkuhl were anchored along with us and it was pretty amazing to have the three Norwegian ships 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Shore Leave - Bergen, Norway

This festival offered a prize for Best Arrival and the Sorlandet crew took the challenge seriously. We had a wakeboarder with a Sorlandet pennant attached to her ankle and shoulder, a tender shooting water with a fire pump, shanties being sung, cannons being fired and a captain with a parrot on his shoulder!  We were hard to miss for sure. As our contribution to an awesome arrival the Galley Girls made ice cream sandwiches for snack to be enjoyed once the ship was safely alongside. As we discovered in Harlingen, ice cream sandwiches are just about the perfect arrival day snack. And this time we sneakily made them while most others ate lunch so they were a surprise!

Bergen was a mail port and I was super excited when the captain handed over a bunch of mail from my "fan club". Thanks for writing!

We hosted 3 deck parties during this port. Only one we had to cater for and only for 15 people which was nice. Lots of little finger foods arranged on trays to be rather fancy. 

That deck party was the same day as the crew parade (much better attended then the one in Fredrikstad, perhaps because it wasn't raining?) and party. The party was good, we ate off real plates and there was a good band who did lots of popular dance songs as well as some of their originals. 

The weather in Bergen was strangely sunny and warm! A bunch of us went for a swim between the parade and party and cooling off in the water was exactly what we needed.  

Bergen is a gorgeous place, on the water (obviously), there are lots of old wooden buildings and mountains surrounding the city. On our time off Nadia and I took the funicular up one of the mountains to enjoy the view, eat an ice cream, sit by a mountain pond and then hiked back down to make dinner. 

Sailing Along - Norway to Norway via Scotland

This leg of the Tall Ships festival was the "Cruise in Company", no racing, just sailing for fun. There were 9 days between festivals and most ships made a stop or two. We were supposed to stop in Aberdeen and Fair Isle but ended up canceling the Fair Isle stop as it meant more sailing and less motoring. 

Leaving Fredrikstad we were down an officer but luckily Johannes, who has been on the ship on and off for a few years was able to join us in Aberdeen. 

I had the cabin to myself this sail and had both bunks made up so I could sleep in whichever one made sense with the way the ship was moving (one bunk is crosswise to the ship, the other goes fore and aft). It was a fun luxury no one else on board had! Oh the little things that can make your day!

Nadia celebrated her birthday during this sail. There was cake (carrot cake), presents and singing. The best surprise was the large pod of dolphins swimming alongside the ship all evening. Everyone was out on deck taking pictures and enjoying the awesomeness of it all. 

The Galley Girls enjoyed breaking into this 11 pound bar of chocolate to bake brownies! They weren't our best so we'll just have to try again. Sigh. 

We were in Aberdeen for less then 5 hours but I had some time off and made it to the Maritime Museum (where Nadia spotted these great mugs) and Marks and Spencer to stock up on some favourite foods. I also had a nice talk with my family as they were able to call me on my phone/UK SIM card I have from earlier this year.

Our last night before arrival in Bergen we spent at a beautiful anchorage in a fjord. The water was calm, the scenery was spectacular and I wasn't the only one who wished we could've stayed longer but the festival started the next day and to that madness we had to go.