White Sea & Franz Josef Land Voyage 7219 Day 18

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Day 18 - July 13, 2010 - Nordkapp, Norway 

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: N 71º 10.268’, E 025º 46.989’
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: 7ºC
Pressure: 1003 hPa
Wind: 5 knots


The Silver Explorer anchored this morning at about 9 am in front of Hornvika, where we would start our strenuous hike up to the North Cape. Nordkapp (in Norwegian) is the northernmost point in continental Europe and also the point where the Norwegian Sea -which is part of the North Atlantic- meets the Barents Sea, which is part of the Arctic Ocean. The Cape is situated on the island of Magerøy, which means "meager island” and it rises to a majestic 308 meters above sea level.

North Cape has always been an important navigation landmark for sailors in the northern areas and a big attraction for people from all over the world. About 30 of our guests walked all the way there right from the beach - like in the good old days - along a very steep trail that leads from Hornvika to Nordkapp itself. It was a strenuous and rewarding hike and the views were pretty spectacular.

Herds of reindeer were scattered around the plateau and pretty much all of our guests had a chance to take a good look at these gracious animals. Some of the bucks had very large impressive antlers.

Those that decided to take the bus instead of walking, stayed on board after the hikers set off and sailed on the Silver Explorer to nearby Skarsvag, said to be the northernmost fishing town in the world.

At Nordkapp’s Visitor Centre our guests had the opportunity to enjoy a glass of champagne in the Observatory Bar, do some souvenir shopping, visit “The Globe” sculpture and the Interpretive Centre. Most of them also watched a short film presenting beautiful footage of Nordkapp in all four seasons, which concluded with stunning images of the northern lights.

We were lucky with the weather, which allowed us to see the never-ending panoramas. I enjoyed the views of the sea from the Globe monument, situated near the edge of the cliff. There were also the "stone-wheels" set up on the plateau showing copies of drawings made by children from all corners of the world with the motto: "Peace and Friendship".

On the way back to the landing site we had a quick stop at the Sami camp to meet Anna and Nils. Nils is a traditional Sami who, up until the age of 16, lived the traditional Sami lifestyle of reindeer herding. We had a chance to purchase some souvenirs before returning to Skarsvag where our zodiac drivers were already awaiting our return.

Once on board people had lunch and at 5 pm we got together in The Theatre for Richard Sidey’s DVD recap of the voyage and an official farewell from the Expedition Team. Richard, as always, did a great job in documenting this incredible journey to the Russian Arctic on board the Silver Explorer
 
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