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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Marie

Hunningsvåg, 70 degrees North, Day 8

We arrived first at Hammerfest. It wasn't a long stop, but we woke up and went down to have breakfast. We were going to have an early excursion, so we really needed to get up early and make lunches to bring with us. Breakfast and lunch buffets are basically the same foods available. Only difference you will find is at breakfast there are eggs, oatmeal and yogurt. At lunch, hot entrees replace the breakfast items. There is always bread, cold meats, cold fish, and cheeses.

Because the boat was running late, the excursion was starting an hour later. That gave us time to change and take a quick nap. Our excursion consisted of taking a RIB around the north coast to see the North Cape from the sea. The North Cape is the northernmost point in Europe at 71 degrees north. Our group of 7 left from Havøysund, a small island. We were led by our guide to a small room to suit up. We were given heavy, one-piece jumpsuits that were insulated and waterproof. We were also given hats, gloves, and goggles. Off to the RIB. RIBs are rigid inflatable boats that could carry up to 12 passengers and they go super fast. The captain of this RIB was going to take us to the bottom of the North Cape cliff going through the Barents Sea. It was extremely fast and I was glad that I was dressed so warmly because the wind was cold and I was getting splashed with salty water. Although the North Cape claims to be the northernmost point, it is actually an island called Knivskjellodden, which we rode by. We continued around the island seeing lots of sea birds including sea eagles and cormorants. We even saw a seal pop out of the water near an island. These were all uninhabited islands. After we passed the North Cape, we passed the North Cape Horn which is a strange rock formation. It looked just like a rhino horn made of stone. This rock "horn" is very important to the Sami people. After viewing the Horn, we stopped at an old fishing village. The guide pointed out the rock steps that were used to take visitors up to the North Cape. One of the most famous trips was by the Norwegian an Swedish King Oscar II in 1873. This was called the historical route to the North Cape. We ended our RIB ride at Skavåg, the northernmost fishing village. Everything has to have "northernmost" in their description. We stopped for snacks before meeting up with the bus to the North Cape. We made a quick stop along the way at a traditional Sami shop and house. Samis are the native inhabitants of the north land. Some fish while others herd reindeer. Our bus continued up to the North Cape. We walked around to take pictures at the globe. The globe, a monument erected in 1977, has become the symbol of the North Cape. We stayed about 45 minutes before catching the bus back to the boat. One of the points of interest later that afternoon was Finnkirka. The rock formations looked like a church and house . These rock formations are also important to the Sami people.

Dinner this night was a buffet of local fish and Finnbiff, which is reindeer. There was also a variety of desserts.

The highlight of the evening was the Northern Lights. An announcement was made at around 11 pm, that it was possible to see the Northern Lights. We were docking so there was light pollution and they were difficult to see. Mark suggested waiting until we left port and trying again. We waited about 30 minutes and tried again. Success! Using instructions from the ship's guides, Mark was able to capture some great shots of the Aurora Borealis. Hopefully, the weather will stay good for another sighting.

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