A Norwegian Cruise 12

Part 12: 9th Port of Call, Sortland, Nordland county, Norway

We were supposed to sail to Narvik, but our destination was switched to Sortland at short notice for technical reasons.

None of the offered excursions appealed to us on such a darkish and rainy day, so we had a leisurely, late breakfast in our cabin and just stayed aboard – or even returned to bed, oh my 😅. Docking time was limited to the morning hours anyway, so it was indeed a perfect day to take it easy! The dramatic landscape of the traditional region of Vesterålen and a Hurtigruten ferry provided entertainment enough for me, as I roamed the higher decks of our ship.

Looking back at Sortlandsbrua (bridge) and toward the Vikbotn bay beyond

The Hurtigruten Coastal Express “Nordnorge” announced her arrival as she passed beneath the Sortlandsbrua.

The “Nordnorge” docked just ahead of the “Whisper”, but she stayed only for 45 minutes before departing for the next fjord over.

Sortland is called the “Blue Town” owing to its many blue painted houses. Other than a couple of warehouses on the docks, I didn’t see any blue buildings from my location on the ship.

What I did notice, however, was the “Nordnorge” leaving at 13h on the dot which was our scheduled departure time as well. Yet, the Silver Whisper remained firmly moored dockside.

By 13h20 the crew paced irritably back and forth on the starboard bridge bay, talking into their walk-talkies with crew members pacing in turn down on the pier.

It appeared that two of the excursion busses had misinterpreted the ship’s departure time and were awol somewhere in the hinterlands of Langøya Island. Eventually one of the busses returned to the pier, but the other one was still missing by 13h46, while our captain scanned the pier longingly.

Finally, just before the full hour, the last passengers scrambled back on board, the lines were hastily dropped and Captain Ivo Botica revved the engines for our delayed departure from Sortland.

A seabird, possibly a Northern Gannet, Morus bassanus, Sulidae, accompanied the ship on her way out into the Norwegian Sea.

After a tasty dinner,

we returned to our cabin to watch a sunset that never happened. Well, in August, in the Arctic Circle, the sun sets around 22h45 and rises again before 03:00 h, but one barely notices. There’s plenty of light bouncing off the clouds and being reflected from the sea. Between 1h and 2h the darkness intensifies somewhat, but it’s never really night-time-dark. I came to love these extended twilight hours, they suit my soul. Combined with the secrets which the dark, bottomless seas whisper in our ears as we sleep, it’s a magical environment.

Still waiting for it to get dark: @00:01 August 08 😳

Watching the “Midnight Light” from our balcony on our way to the Barents Sea.

* P.S. Carl Spitzweg was a German poet and painter. German pupils have to study his painting “Der arme Poet” in art class.

Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885) “Der Arme Poet”, Neue Pinakothek, München, Germany; Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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