Thursday, 30 April 2009

Rønne, Bornholm

After a cloudy, cold and wet day in the channel yesterday, we were surprised to open our eyes today on a completly sunny, warm and calm baltic sea. So we had the most beautyful weather to explore Rønne and other parts of Bornholm. Great start to our voyage!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Kiel-channel

We left Hamburg in the early morning and reached the lock for the channel at 8:00. On our way towards the baltic we had to cross Schleswig-Holstein on this world-most-frequented waterway. Slowly we travelled through the fields and enjoyed the views on settlement, bridges and passing ships.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Hamburg

In the morning we sailed up the Elbe-river, passing little villages, lighthouses and flowering orchards of apple-trees. In Hamburg this cruise came to an endand we took up new passengers for the baltic cruise.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Amsterdam

One more time in a big city far away from the coast ...
our guests walked through this lovely town with plenty of channels and bridges or went on long excursions to get a real glimpse of this land of windmills, cheese and tulips!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Antwerp

During the early morning hours we sailed up the river Schelde. We had to chase away a river-cruiser from our mooring, but than we were once more in the very heart of town, just a 5 min walk to the great cathedral and the famous old town-houses.
They have a marathon in the city today, so it is not so easy to cross every street as planned, but we had the honour to start the two major runs with our ships horn - so our purser Line let it yell loud through the city!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

London one more day

We had our breakfast next to the Towerbridge and could enjoy real english weather in the morning: slightly pouring rain ...
But it cleared up again soon and we had sunshine when the bridge once again was opened for us: the pilot called the bridge and they immediatly stopped all traffic and a few moments later we passed by whilst hundreds of tourists enjoyed this spectacle and waved us farewell.
So we went down the river Thames passing noble, old fashioned Greenwich and the skyscraping glasstowers of new financial district before the Millenium Dome and the Thames barriers.
Now we are out on a very calm channel heading for Zeebrugge, where we will pick up our pilot after midnight.


Our mooring at the old warship HMS Belfast
Old and new side by side

Friday, 24 April 2009

London

We crossed the channel during the night and found ourselfes in the wide mouth of the river Thames at breakfasttime. Outside the windows we could see offshore-windparks and some strange, smaller tripod-structures wich were explained as old anti-aircraft or anti-missile fortifications from the second worldwar.
Slowly we went up the river and the shorelines came closer as we approached London. We passed the great post-modern-shaped and incredible expensive flood-barriers just outside the city and crossed the zero-latitude-line at the Greenwich observatory.
Finally we reached the famous Tower-bridge and it opened just for us, for we took our parking position on the other side of it, now lying side-by-side to the old warship HMS Belfast.
It is great to be so in the very heart of town with our Fram!


Everybody is out on deck to celebrate this unique moment!
Something you don`t see for often ...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Rouen

We had an early breakfast at 7:00 today, for the city-tours started at 8:00. First the busses took us to a hilltop aside the city to offer us a splendid view over the town and towards our tiny little ship. Than we walked through the very heart of the town with lots of very old framework-houses and a some unique gothik churches and the cathedral, of course. Finally we visited the old market-sqare, where Joan of Arc was burnt in 1431.


View of Rouen
The heart of the gothic cathedral

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Back in France

In the dark of the night we reached Le Havre at the mouth of the river Seine and started our next rivercruise. The seine was winding a lot and it took us some hours and 120 km to reach Rouen, the capital city of the Normandy. The Fram followed the steps of their norwegian ancestors which raided in this area around 1000 years ago. We had lovely riverbanks on both sides of our vessel with steep chalkcliffs, beautyful manors, little villages and green forrests.

Finally the Fram sails through green land again!


In the afternoon some excursions started to see more of the Normandy. Some went to Honfleur at the Seine, a nice mediavel town, whilst others drove to the tiny village Giverney and visitet the famous garden of impressionist painter Claude Monet.
"Spring in Europe" - thousands of flowers in Giverney!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Sark and Guernsey

For sure, this was one of the Highlight-days of the entire voyage: For the first time since Antarctica we could use our polar-circle-boats again - and all expedition-team was quite happy about that. So, with some special expedition-feeling we visited the tiny island of Sark in the morning. And that was a surprisingly beautyful place: In a way you stepped back in time, for they have no cars on the whole little island, just using bicycles and horse-carriages. There were some nice paths along the coast-cliffs, wich offered really breathtaking views over the rough rocks and towards the other islands of this archipelago.
Normal taxi on Sark
The view from the cliffs
In the afternoon we did a landing in Guernsey, wich was a big and crowded place - compared to Sark. A lot of our guests participated in guided busexcursions, and could so get a good overview over the different types of lovely landscapes and enjoy the very british way, in wich the charming villages were built.
One of the smallest chappels in the world - and
completely covered with broken plates and small
stones - unique!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Towards the North

We left Bordeaux yesterday evening and are now heading for the britisch Channel Islands.
The sea is absolutley calm, and after some cloudy fog in the morning - wich offered great opportunitys for the lecturers - the sun came out and so you could find a lot of guests sunbathing on the open decks. We let the day pass by with some winetasting and waffles, and in the evening our norwegian tourguide performed a really great Frank-Sinatra-Show!


Bourdeaux

In the late night we went up the river Gironde and around 5 o`clock we took our place at the pier in the very heart of the city of Bourdeaux. So we could enjoy our breakfast with a unique view over the promenade towards the lately restored beautyful houses along the riverside.
A lot of effort was taken in the last years to clean the buildings and so we could explore a really nice city during our guided citywalks in bright sunshine. During lunchtime some clouds appeared and shortly afterwards a heavy shower with hale let all spectators dissapear wich took a close look on the first passengervessel this year during their sundaywalk ...


The Fram lies in the centre of the city and
our guests explore the town 
In the Biscaya

We are now on a very straight course towards Bordeaux in France, so there was no land to see during all the day. The guests had the opportunity to visit the bridge and our Captain Steinar Hansen answered questions all morning. While on the bridge, enjoying the great view, the passengers suddenly noticed astonishing numbers of dolphins, jumping through the water on all sides of the vessel.
Villa Garcia, La Coruna

This was a very special day: in the early morning, when it was still completly dark outside, we came to Spain again and went to the small harbour of Villa Garcia - but just to set out roughly half of our passengers, wich went on an overland-excursion with busses. The Fram left again and rounded the western cape of Spain, Cape Finisterre. While we had some lectures about the great norwegian heroes wich built the old Fram over a century ago and conquered both polar regions with that splendid ship, the shoreparty was on a pilrimage to Santiago de Compostella, one of Europes most famous Pilgrim-citys, where they stayed for some hours to visit the cathedral and explore the old town. In the evening they were picked up again by the Fram in the harbour of La Coruna.


View of Santiagos cathedral


The Fram on its way to La Coruna

Porto


After we had some lectures in the morning we came to the harbour of Leixoes, close to the ancient city of Porto, wich gave name to all the country. The city itself was very interesting to explore, some guests even looked at it from the riverside during a boatcruise. Others went on a longer excursion into the north, passing a green forrest-landscape with a lot of small hills and settlements.

View of Porto

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Lisbon

So we docked this morning in the capital city of Portugal. About half the guests were leaving, while the rest still stays until Rouen or even Hamburg. The weather got a little bit wet today, heavy showers came in turn with splendid sunshine, so there were some nice opportunities for good pictures with dramatic skies. Everybody went out to see the highlights of the city, as the famous tower of Belem or the jeronimo-abbey. And some went even further by bus to explore some small citys nearby.

The baroque palace of Queluz

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Portimao

We visited the Algarve with a call at the big tourist-city Portimao. But as soon as the busses had taken us out of all this skyskrapers and shopping-malls, we explored a green country with some refreshing springrain ...
The coastline is typical with steep cliffs and low vegetation. We reached the southwesternmost point of europe shortly after our visit of Sagres, the famous little town, from where Prince Henry the Navigator sent out his fleets to find the waterway round Africa to the wealthy coasts of India in the 15th century.





The lighthouse at the end of europe ...

Monday, 13 April 2009

Guadalquivir - on sea

In the early morning the FRAM left her position in the midt of Sevilla and went down the river again. First we went through the suburbs and outskirts of town, before we reached the plain agricultural landscape with fields of corn and orchards of oranges. It's a distance of approximatly 100 km to the open sea. There are no villages or citys at this part of the river, just a very empty landscape with a lot of storks. The last miles we went through europes biggest nature reserve, the "Coto de Donana". The rest of the day we were far out on the sea again enjoying fresh baked waffles or listening to some lectures ...




The FRAM on the winding river




A little bit smaller ships than ours!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Sevilla

During the night we went up the Guadalquivir and reached Sevilla at sunrise. In an astonishing maneuver the captain went backwards through the last little bridge ...
Then we docked really in the middle of this historic town, just aside the towns biggest park and only a short footwalk from the towncentre with its wellknown attractions as the big cathedral and of course the arabic-styled castle - the Real Alcazar.
We had sunshine all day and T-Shirt-weather with 23 degrees (Celsius).



Hurtigruten-guests visiting the palace




The small gates in the old town ...




Great show of a royal bird!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Still on the ocean

Another warm, sunny day with no big waves - ideal for the guests to enjoy a sunbath on deck 7. There were also several dolphins to bee seen around the ship. And of course we had all this highly scientific lectures about spain ...
Around midnight we expect to reach the mouth of the Guadalquivir, and during the night we will travel 125 nautical miles until we reach Sevilla for breakfast!

What is the crew doing?



Our very busy purser filling out all this boring
schedules - but still showing her beautyful smile!



As everyday, Jayson takes care of fingerprints
in elevators and on the staircases - thank you!



Back on the bridge again - our safety-officer
John Sigurd, looking out for the coast to come ...
On the wide open sea ...

We left the nice island of Madeira again, and are now heading for the coast of spain. But that is a really long distance to sail, so we will have to spend two days far of the coastlines. That means, a lot of lectures for the guests, a lot of things to learn about our destination - or just relaxing in the sun ...



Everywhere just water! No coast, no ships and no ICEBERGS!
So we don`t need anyone on the bridge ...
Funchal/Madeira



Was a little bit rough this first night, but finally we reached this far-out atlantic island. There were a lot of excursions into the green and blossoming nature. Outside of Funchal there were all this little terraced fields with bananas, vine and sugarcane - they destill rum from it ...



Our FRAM next to another famous old explorer-ship!



Hard to reach fields at the foot of europe`s highest seacliff

Las Palmas/Gran Canaria

8. April

So, after the ship left the dock - clean, painted and fresh again - the first passengers arrived for the "Spring-in-europe"-cruises. Spring is really on it`s way down here, and so we all experienced a green and warm island ...

Monday, 6 April 2009

Docking out

Our time is up. We started to dock out of the yard at 1600, and the first "train ride" went very quick as you see from the first video clip, but the part filling the dock with water did take about 2 1/2 hours, see second video clip. Bunkering next at León y Castillo pier, and then after bunkering, we reposition to Santa Catalina Pier.

video video

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Cleaning time!


We have started to clean for real, plastic covers removed from furniture. Water, brooms and soap can be smelled around the vessel instead of paint, steal welding etc. As you see our anchor has got a new coat of paint too. Our Expeditionleader Anja Erdmann has also arrived, she is preparing the cruises ahead.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Septic Tank


Sound incredible discusting really, but nevertheless it is an impotant thing to have. After removing the content, the septic tank was ready for a face lift. It was cleaned, treated with a remedy to prevent corrotion, and last but not least painted.
As you can see we still have some work to do before the ship is ready to receive passengers.
The crew will all go to dinner together in town tonight, we are all looking forward to that

Friday, 3 April 2009

Ships on Rails

The big happening today was that our neighbour on starboard side, the fishing vessel "Victoria" was ready to leave drydock. There is a very efficiant system for docking in/out of the yard, and we figured you have to see this in the video cut added in todays blog. A couple of hours later we had a new neighbour a small tanker called "Sea Runner".

We are closing up to the end of our time here at the shipyard, and we see clearly tasks getting finished and polished every day. The plan is to be out of drydock on Monday, take bunker and move to our berth at Santa Catalina for the last provitions on Tuesday. By Wednesday we should be ready to receive our passengers for the Easter Cruise.

video

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Crew Arrival


The Atlantic Crossing was made with minimum crew. Today they all came back after a short vacation. We received 24 crew members mostly from the Phillipines. All ready to take part in the big job, cleaning the interior as the work finishes here at the yard in a few days. Our next cruise starts next Wednesday 8th of April "Easter in Europe".
Paintjobs never ends on a ship, here our deckboys in action.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

X-Ray


Our ship has been to the doctor today. At 1200 we were notified that at 1315 all persons onboard had to be out of the ship. Reason? The yard was conducting an x-ray on the ship. You may ask why, and so did we. It is simply because to check if the welding work is strong enough on the parts of the shipside we replaced on deck 3 and 5. Last week we blogged the work as it commenced and now it almost concluded. Well, we all got 1 hour unintended break, but as you can see we were eager to get back onboard as soon as the test was over.

Anchor Chain

A rare sight for most of us. The entire anchor chain on both port/starboard side neatly in folds on the ground. We have 280 meter chain on each side. It was difficult to capture it all on a photo, so we added a small video for illustrations instead. As you can see maintenance welding work is being done on the anchor chain now. The shipside is getting a new coat of paint as well, and the priming has started, by the grey patches (have to see the video for that).
video