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Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

This site will chart our ongoing adventures.

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Nesna to Svolvaer

We wake to the glistening lights
of the port
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We draw the curtains back and whilst the sun prepares to wake we watch the remnants of the night stars glitter on the water as we continue northwards.

Arctic Circle

At 0723 (0623 UK) we cross the Arctic Circle at latitude 66 33N. The ship’s master salutes with a long blast of the horn.

Now there’s sufficient light to see the landscape has changed. Cliffs are sharper, mountains are higher and snowcapped again.

The shortest stopover is at Ornes where there’s not even time to deploy the warps. Instead, the skipper uses his bow and stern thrusters to pin the ship to the quay.

After just ten minutes we’re on our way again through the archipelago on glassy calm seas. Next stop is Bodo.

Bodo

Leaving port
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Sliding between islands, we approach Bodo, passing the end of the airport’s runway. It’s on reclaimed land and points directly out to sea. I wonder who has right of way – a plane about to land or a 20,000 tonne cruise ship that just happens to be passing by?

Like a mini-Portsmouth, a narrow entrance opens into a large harbour where there are tankers, coasters and multiple ferries buzzing about.

We walk into town and find the fishing quay where two beautiful wooden trawlers are moored.

After buying some T for our G we return to MS Midnatsol and are soon on our way again. Turing sharply to starboard as we exit the harbour mouth, we head for the Lefoten Islands.

Neptune

Flat calm seas
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We hear that Neptune has visited MS Midnatsol and is waiting to greet those who have crossed the Arctic Circle for the first time. We decide to give it a miss. Later we learn his greeting involved having ice cubes down your back. Ugh.

Midnight

Approaching the Lofoten Islands we have dinner and watch as the ship plies her course though more narrow channels.

We decide to stay up until midnight in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights.

Dressed in full sets of Arctic coats, gloves, hats, trousers, thermals, boots and hats, we take the lift to the ninth floor and walk out into the night. It’s cold. Very cold. Made worse by the wind.

Having braved the elements for five excessively long minutes, we return to the lounge to wait for the tannoy announcement that heralds the arrival of the lights. Now we’re hot. Off come the coats, gloves, pullovers, gloves and hats. We wait.

Trollfjord

Tiny villages of just a few houses
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At 2200 we dress again and venture into the cold just as we are about to enter Trollfjord.

It’s flat calm. There’s a full moon. The air is crisp, clean and clear. The stars appear brighter than ever. The MS Midnatsol is at dead slow. We enter Trollfjord.

Steep snow covered mountains rise to the heavens either side of us. Everything is lit with ethereal light from the moon. You feel you can reach out and touch them. They’re so close. Small fishing boats on the hunt for cod float silently close by.

We stop at the end. No movement. No exit. We wait, soaking the experience. No Northern Lights. It doesn’t matter. Just standing and staring at moonlit mountains that rise for ever, with light twinkling across the water is blessing enough.

Raftsound

The scenery is simply stunning
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Almost silently, the MS Midnatsol begins to turn. Slowly. After an age we start retracing our steps until we turn hard to port to enter the Raftsound, the long, tight passage which forms the border between Vesteralen and Lofoten.

We’ve seen narrow, but at one point we felt the boat breathe in.

Will the feeling of being held suspended in time ever release us?

At midnight, the tannoy announces ‘traditional Norwegian fish cakes’ are being served waiting ‘to delight us’. We come back to reality. Expectations are high. We eat. We taste. We look at each other. Lin says, ‘Eggy bread without the bread and just a bit of fish.’ We laugh as we head for the cabin.

Piers and Lin
tired, yet elated
MS Midnatsol

You can get in touch with us any time by using our Contact Form.

One of the inter-island ferries
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We pass the end of the airport’s runway
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What a gorgeous wooden trawler
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…and another
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MS Midnatsol
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Midnight, and we wait for the Northern Lights
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