Posted by: tim ellis | July 18, 2016

Svalbard – Monday 18th July 2016 – Tromso


Despite hitting a virtual standstill almost as soon as we get on the M6 (a sulphuric acid spillage) we manage to get to Heathrow not long after our 8:30 target. The self-service check-in is not very co-operative, but fortunately there is a Noble Caledonian rep who is on hand to help. Apparently we have the last two seats (not together).

Security delays cost Spook his toothpaste and shampoo, and mean the flight is already boarding when we get to the gate. Despite this it end s up taking off half an hour late, although it makes up most of the time during the flight.

We have to collect our bags, clear customs and re-check in at Oslo. There is a self-service bag drop, which scans my bag, then does nothing and reverts back from English to Norwegian. Trying to scan it again just leads to an Error message “Bag already scanned – go to manual Check In” – More Queueing! (At least we avoided the apparently common error of thinking “Remove all old tags” referred to the one applied at Heathrow.

This time it is me who is held up in security, as they decide they want to scan the cameras separately from the rest of the hand luggage. Once that is done, we go in search of food – given that this is (a) Norway and (b) an airport the fact that 2 burger & chips and 2 coffees comes to around £45 is probably not as surprising as it might be!

I am sat by a window again (and next to the same couple) for the flight to Tromso – this time I am prepared and keep my camera to hand rather than just my phone. Of course this time my window overlooks the wing!

The weather in Oslo was good – not so much in Tromso where it is damp and drizzly when we get on the bus to cross the island to the ship. (The route is via tunnel so big it even has a roundabout in it – which the bus goes round one and a half times, just to confuse us!) It is dry when we board, but raining again when we do the emergency drill and lifejacket issue.

Tromso Harbour//

Although it is still light (well we are above the Arctic Circle) we decide as it approaches 11:00 pm we should turn in, ready for whatever tomorrow may bring, especially as Colin, one of the guides we were talking to advises us to ignore anything on the itinerary after breakfast, as it is all subject to change depending on conditions and wildlife. The aim is to see as much as possible, even if that means waking people up at 2:00 am if they spot a Polar Bear.


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