Sunday, 10 February 2013


The most northerly fishing village in the world!

The most northerly railway in the world (through the minibus window)

Two of the delights of yesterday and today. We didn't travel on the railway – crossed over it on our way to do some snowmobiling.

It was -22 in the sun, while the wind-chill factor (we were told) dropped it down to lower than -40. I don't remember my beard growing icicles before – and that was inside the helmet. Afterwards they took us into the tepee for coffee and strips of dried reindeer meat, while the expedition leader dressed in a Sami shaman's hat and sang us a Sami song. Hm…

We've now docked briefly in Vardø. In about 20 minutes, some brave souls are going swimming in the Barents Sea. I shan't be one of them – had enough cold fun for one day!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The adventure resumes

Last night we saw the Northern Lights. At dinner on M/S Richard With, 4 hours north of Tromsø, the call came that the lights were visible on the starboard bow. To the dismay of the chef, the restaurant promptly emptied and the decks were filled with light-hunters looking, given the temperature outside, like a herd of Michelin men. You could tell the really serious ones by their tripod-toting and the size of their lenses.

Over the next few hours the lights came and went and re-arranged themselves around the crystal night sky. The crew (apart from the chef) were generally ecstatic as this was the first suitable weather they’d had for a long time. I’d devoured my camera instructions to find out how to set it up in the way suggested by the ship’s guide. The results certainly didn’t match those of the tripod-toters, but were enough to show that we’d been there. Perhaps the display will show up again tonight.

To ensure Erin Mae didn’t get too jealous at this sudden transfer of affections to another vessel, we’d paid a fleeting visit on Wednesday. It was an opportunity to check that all was well mid-winter, which it was. The main reason, however, was that we’d inadvertently left on board my walking boots and my best beloved’s walking poles, both rather necessary for a February trip to the Arctic. Doh!!