Catching Up With LOFOTEN, Part Four


Peter Knego’s southbound journey aboard Hurtigruten’s dowager LOFOTEN continues with a crossing of the Arctic Circle, encounters with two northbound Hurtigruten ships and yet more spectacular scenery.


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All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2014.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

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At 8:00 AM, I staked out a spot on the port bridge wing to capture the northbound, 1983-built VESTERALEN, the second oldest ship in the current Hurtigruten fleet. At 6,261 gt. she is also the second smallest, although more than double the size of our LOFOTEN.

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Sea greetings.

Right on time, at 8:15, VESTERALEN and LOFOTEN passed each other in a near perfect setting. Both ships saluted but I’d have to say there’s little doubt as to which one had the better view.

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Sleeping giant.

It was yet another glorious day along the Norwegian coast. The lighting and scenery toyed with the imagination. It’s no wonder the ancients came up with such interesting legends in the surrounds of natural phenomena that rings eerily human.

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Aft from wing.

As we approached the Arctic Circle, a brilliant sun beamed down upon us..

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Rainbow eye.

…queueing a steady drizzle from the clouds on our starboard side. The result was a full arc rainbow with the beginnings of a second.

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Arctic Circle marker.

And then, almost upstaged, the marker — not unlike that visited at the North Cape a couple mornings prior.

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Spectral seas.

Not to be outdone, the rainbow lingered in part as LOFOTEN continued southward.

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Arctic Circle ceremony where participants get to keep the spoon.

Just like the Blue Water liners once did (and modern cruise ships sometimes still do) when crossing the Equator, the Hurtigruten ships perform an Arctic Circle ceremony. I chose a safe spot to watch from the deck above as “first timers” were christened with a spoonful of fish liver oil. Alternate inductions may involve a bucket of ice water.

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Captain on the wing.

At 11:00 AM, Captain Eivin Lande maneuvered LOFOTEN into the port of Nesna. The Porsgrund (near Oslo)-based captain started his Hurtigruten career as a tour leader on board the KONG OLAV in the 1980s. In 2007, he returned to the fleet as an officer on the RICHARD WITH and has since worked up the ranks to captain. He’s especially proud of the LOFOTEN and spends much of his off-duty time working with preserved ships like the coal-fired BOROYSUND, currently in Oslo.

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MV LOFOTEN at Nesna.

With a mere 15-minute call, there was barely time to get a photo of the sparkling LOFOTEN, let alone a chance to explore Nesna.

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Aft from top of house.

With such optimal lighting and weather, I was granted a visit to the monkey island and the fo’c’sle for my standard arsenal of shots, all the more gratifying with LOFOTEN’s exquisite vintage features as the subject.

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Bone in teeth.

As the sea gurgled gently below, I dangled the cameras over the very same bow that was plunging through a Force 8 only a few days prior.

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Back up bell.

Although the original now hangs at the Hurtigruten museum, the LOFOTEN’s back up bell glinted convincingly from its perch.

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Face of the 1960s.

Curves, curves, and more curves!

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Bronnoysund troll house?

With our hour and fifteen minute call at Bronnoysund, I took advantage of the summer clime, donned my work-out duds and went for jog down the highway, working myself back through the residential area, which is presumably occupied by both humans and trolls.

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Starfish star.

Near the quay, Norwegian pop singer Anita Hegerland (noted for her collaborations with Mike Oldfield) was headlining a local music festival.

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Torghatten zoom.

Shortly after our departure, we encountered Torghatten, a mountain with a 115-foot-wide hole created by the troll Hestmannen’s arrow, or, if you prefer, the erosion of loose rocks underneath a solid mountain top.

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LOFOTEN versus Torghatten.

It was all in a day’s work as the LOFOTEN glided onward.

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Toasting officers and staff.

With a large contingent of guests disembarking in Trondheim tomorrow, officers and staff gathered in the dining room for a farewell toast.

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At 8:30 PM, shortly after we berthed in Rorvik, the northbound, 1993-built, 11,205 gt RICHARD WITH joined us. Once her guests disembarked, several fellow LOFOTEN passengers and I spent some forty minutes exploring the newer generation Hurtigruten ship.

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Working ships at Rorvik.

The RICHARD WITH is impressive and rather handsome by modern standards, especially in her dressy Hurtigruten livery but I was pleasantly surprised to find that LOFOTEN’s guests remained unflinching in their loyalty to the dowager.

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And so, at 9:30, after the WITH cleared the way, LOFOTEN gently edged into the slowly encroaching night.

End Of Catching Up WIth The LOFOTEN, Part Four.

More To Come…

Special thanks: Mindy Bianca, Anja Erdman, Elliot Gillies, Captain Eivin Lande, Snorre A. Pedersen

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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