As we sail south we take a different route to the journey north. On Day 9 we sailed through the Risoyrenna, a 4.5 km long man-built channel opened in 1922 by the King. then into the region of Vesteralen. The weather continues to be very cold and sleet is normal, which adds to the beauty of this spectacular scener. I hope that one day we will be able to return in the summer and discover more about this exciting country.
At Stokmarnes we have half an hour to explore the Hurtigruten museum. From the early days in 1893 when the first ship the Vesteraalen sailed between Trondheim and Hammerfest, with only a chart and a compass to navigate the treacherous rocky waters, Hurtigruten has grown to a fleet of 12 ships plying the route with passengers and freight and providing a lifeline for many communities.
In the middle of the afternoon we entered Raftsundet a narrow fjord, and while the Kong Harald motored along, a fishing boat pulled alongside and a group of us boarded for an excursion to find the white-tailed eagles. With snug overalls over our already snug cold-weather gear, we bounced along in the bow of the fishing boat, while crew threw raw fish to the seagulls. The gulls were noisy in their appreciation and this activity attracted the attention of the eagles who glided down from the mountain tops, circled the boat and swooped for the whole fish thrown by the crew. About a dozen eagles enjoyed their afternoon meal in this way and we were able to attempt to take photos of the birds. I say attempt because taking wildlife photos is a real skill.
Svolvaer was our next port of call and a stroll to a nearby pub and a glass of a warming liquid warmed us again before we boarded Kong Harald in time for dinner.