After our self-drive trip around Ireland, we embarked Oceania's Nautica for 50 days. Our extended voyage consisted of multiple segments that took us to places around Europe ... both new- and old-to-us.
  • Day16

    Kristiansund: A-Wander in Grip

    July 20, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Grip, which is located on Gripholmen, the largest of the 80+ islands and skerries, was first settled in the 9th century so that fishermen could be close to the best cod fishing grounds. For centuries, it was considered the smallest municipality in Norway. That changed in 1964 when the residents of the island were forced to relocate to the mainland because providing services to the small fishing community became prohibitively expensive.

    The idyllic island, with its colorful buildings, has a stark landscape, with little vegetation except for private gardens. Apparently, the fishermen stripped what vegetation there used to be so as to have plenty of rocks on which to air-dry their catch.

    We had about 1½ hours to wander around delightful Grip. The boat fare included a guided tour, which we took advantage of first, leaving us with about an hour to explore on our own before the boat’s whistle called us back for the return trip to Kristiansund.
    Read more

  • Day16

    Kristiansund: Grip Welcome Committee

    July 20, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 59 °F

    Our delightful day on Gripholmen began with an unexpected welcome committee.

    As the Grip Ruta boat approached the pier we were so entranced by the colorful buildings lining the shore that we almost didn’t see the kittiwakes nesting in the bumper tires. Had we been on the upper deck, we definitely would have missed them.

    In North America, these birds, which belong to the gull family, are known as black-legged kittiwakes to distinguish them from the red-legged species. In Europe, there is only the one species so no “color coding” is required.

    The best part of our kittiwake encounter? The birds — be they adults, fledglings, or chicks — were so used to the twice-daily arrival of the boat that they showed no fear of humans. Thus, they were excellent photography subjects as we slowly made our way from the lower deck to the upper deck to disembark the boat.
    Read more

  • Day16

    Kristiansund: Grip Ruta

    July 20, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 59 °F

    Yes, we were lucky and managed to snag seats on the Hagbart Waage, the boat that takes visitors out to an archipelago of islands about 9 miles from Kristiansund.

    A glorious day of blue skies and sunshine, comfy temps, calm sea conditions, and seats on the lower aft deck. It all made for a very pleasing ride out to the largest island in the archipelago ... home to the deserted fishing village of Grip.Read more

  • Day16

    Welcome to Kristiansund (Norway)

    July 20, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Our tenth port-of-call ... new to us Kristiansund, Norway.

    We were greeted with blue skies and sunshine as Nautica made its way to its berth on Kirkelandet, one of the four main islands on which Kristiansund is situatedRead more

  • Day15

    Day @ Sea

    July 19, 2019, Norwegian Sea ⋅ ☀️ 55 °F

    We’ve left the Barents Sea behind and are now sailing the Norwegian Sea. We have received the “Currents” — the daily program — for tomorrow and once again sunrise and sunset times are being provided. That means that we are again below the Arctic Circle ... where we shall remain.

    It was a quiet day of rest and relaxation. Breakfast at the Terrace Café; brunch service in the Main Dining Room in lieu of lunch; sunny and warm enough to sit outside on the pool deck for much of the day ... with a fleece blanket for a little extra coziness; a lecture or two ... one of which was on the “Golden Years of Apollo 11;” afternoon massages ... used up the “free” perk included with our O Club loyalty level ... which is “gold” until we reach “platinum” after the next leg of our cruise.
    Read more

  • Day14

    Farewell Honningsvåg!

    July 18, 2019, Barentsz Sea ⋅ ☁️ 50 °F

    Our last glimpse of Nordkapp was from the ship as Nautica rounded Magerøya Island to leave the Barents Sea behind and continue our cruise south.

    Next Port: Kristiansund, Norway ... 684 NM away. But first a day at sea.Read more

  • Day14

    Honningsvåg: Here & There on Magerøya

    July 18, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 48 °F

    Our Nordkapp tour with Blue Puffin took us to places around Magerøya Island. In some places we spent quite a bit of time. Other stops were photo-ops that caught our eye.

    We wrapped up our tour with a stroll in Honningsvåg, which translates as “Honey Bay.”Read more

  • Day14

    Honningsvåg: Nordkapp ... Northernmost?

    July 18, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 46 °F

    Even the postcards I picked up at Nordkapp — North Cape in English — describe the massive rocky plateau that rises some 1,000 feet above the surface of the sea as the northernmost point of Europe.

    And yet, the Knivskjellodden Peninsula, which is visible from the overlook at Nordkapp clearly reaches further north ... even to the naked eye.

    Turns out there is a caveat to Nordkapp’s claim. Located at 71°10’21” North, it is the northernmost point in Europe reachable by car!
    Read more

  • Day14

    Honningsvåg: Nordkapp Tour ... Skarsvåg

    July 18, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 46 °F

    Our second stop en route to Nordkapp was Skarsvåg ... which claims to be the northernmost fishing village in the world!

    Monika took us to the king crab tanks here. Apparently, king crabs are not native to Norwegian waters. They were brought here from Murmansk initially ... and from Alaska later.

    They have flourished to the point of being pests. In fact, in some areas, there are no quotas on hunting them. Regardless of the abundance of king crabs in these waters, however, they continue to fetch high prices due to their popularity around the world!
    Read more