21st to 26th March, 2019
We joined the MS Richard With at Kirkenes to explore the fjords for six days. The Hurtigruten Shipping Company has sailed this route continuously since 1893.
This is not a cruise ship: no casinos, no slot machines, no top-deck swimming pool, dance classes or senior-citizen bingo nights. No, this is a cargo ship that stops at thirty-two ports on its journey and we are just a special class of cargo.
Everyone we talked to was here to learn about the environment and to help us do that, there was a fully-trained team of Norwegians that Hurtigruten calls its Expedition Team.
Among the passengers, we met an English parish vicar whose wife works for Pirelli. She explained the chemistry of tires to me in-depth and we discussed how Pirelli has learnt to remove all but one carcinogenic chemical from its raw materials. Later, a production engineer called Matthew would spend long hours with me on Deck 7 discussing factory automation within Industrie 4.0, wanting to know all about software design, telemetry and IEC 61499 function blocks. A recently retired biochemist explained how she started her postgraduate studies at 47, gained a doctorate and went on to teach in her universities laboratory for the next twenty years.
On deck, Jane and I met birdwatchers who, even without their binoculars, could spot a puffin flying among the guillemots and seagulls off the bow. There was only one verbotene subject on-board: Brexit. They were all heartily sick of the whole sorry business.
Each of the excursions we took over the 2,500 kilometers we traveled are worth their own page, but it could take me a while to write them all up. Enjoy !
Into the blizzard at Hammerfest …