at the latitude of 71°10'21'', get acquainted with the life of the Sami, a small ethnic group living in northern Norway for many centuries. We'll also cross the border of Norwegian and Barents seas and head southeast, to Kirkenes and Murmansk.
. When traveling from south to north, the ferry stands here very early (5.15 am - 6.45 am). If it wasn't the enthusiasm of my friends, I would have probably missed this town sleeping. Fortunately, I did go. At 5.15 am three passengers with cameras left MS «Midnatsol» moored at the terminal. Yawning, we went to the city center, from where we then rushed to the high granite rock overlooking the town.
is a town far north of Norway with a population of 9.2 thousand inhabitants, the center of the municipality of the same name. Hammerfest became the town on July 7, 1789, and since then it is the northernmost town in the world. This, of course, is a quite relative regalia. There are settlements in the world located closer to the north (Tiksi, for example), but they do not have the status of a town.
Port Hammerfest is considered one of the best in Northern Norway. The first settlement appeared here between 1250 and 1350. The town's name is derived from two words - «hamarr», which is translated from Norwegian as "the steep rocky surface" and «festr» which means «the rope for mooring of vessels". The town is obliged for its origin to the trade with the Russian Pomors. Exactly this port, which is ice-free thanks to the Gulf Stream, was passed by the caravans from Arkhangelsk with Russian grain. In 1789, Hammerfest was given the status of the town, and at the same time the Hanseatic Bergen, possessing the trade monopoly in Norway, banned commercial trade with the Pomors in the far north of the country. Then the locals, who for centuries had learned from the Russian northerners the skills of whaling business and polar bear hunt, began more actively engaged in these fields. Eventually, Hammerfest turned from the commercial town into a hunting center of the Arctic Norway. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the town became known as "The Polar Capital of Norway." Hammerfest was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, and in the postwar years, it became one of the largest centers of the fishing industry in Norway.
A new era in the development of the town began in the early 80s when the Snohvit gas field near Hammerfest began to be actively developed. It is located at a depth of 1115 feet and has the proven natural gas reserves of 525 cubic feet. At the same time with the beginning of the field development, the construction of a major gas processing plant started on the Melkoya island located in front of Hammerfest. Hammerfest has become one of the largest centers of the gas industry in Norway. Gas field and the complex belong to the Norwegian Statoil company.
After landing ashore, we passed through the central part of Hammerfest adjacent to the harbor and then began climbing steep stairs on the mountain overlooking the town. Already complicated ascent became even harder because of the big amount of snow and ice, covering steps with a thick layer. So we had to demonstrate the wonders of the balancing act while climbing and, especially, going down! However, exercises are good for health, and in our case, they were doubly useful, as we finally woke up.
Here's the monument to a woman and children waiting for the return of the head and breadwinner of the family from the sea:
After departure, the ship goes through an uninteresting area of the open sea for a long time. Is it not a good reason to take a nap? We are approaching the island of Hjelmsoya. There are wind farms on the shore of the "mainland".
The border between the Norwegian and Barents Seas passes near the North Cape. Now we are sailing in the Norwegian Sea, but just a few hours later we'll find ourselves in the Barents Sea...
At 9.00 am on the way to Havoysund we met another Hurtigruten ferry. This time it was "Kong Harald".
MS "Kong Harald" was built in 1993 in Germany. It is the first one of a new generation of Hurtigruten ships. Passenger capacity - 691 people; sleeping accommodations - 674; places for cars - 45. Ferry speeds up to 15 knots (about 18 mph); its length - 121.8 m; width - 19.2 m; draft - 4.9 m; gross tonnage - 11 204 t. Ferry was named after the Norwegian king. You can find the names of other famous Norwegians inside, for example, of polar explorers. So, the bar of the ship is named in honor of Fridtjof Nansen, and the cafe in honor of Raul Amundsen. Interiors of the ferry are notable for their brightness and royal splendor.
After 9 am the ship turns right and enters the strait that separates the island of Hjelmsoya from the mainland. There will be a small 15-minute stop ahead.
At 9.30 am MS "Midnatsol" moored at the pier of Havoysund, quite a large fishing village, the center of the Masoy municipality.
In Havoysund near the pier, there is a fish processing plant. Such small plants can be found in many Norwegian settlements specializing in the fishing industry, but windows of this plant look directly at the main street, so you can peep in the production.
Freshly caught fish comes to the plant. It is cleaned of scales on the line, bones are removed, and you got a fillet. I'm not an expert in the fishing industry, but, in my opinion, it's a very high-tech production!
And it's time to continue our journey. At 9.45 am MS "Midnatsol" leaves Havoysund and through the strait of Masoysundet, it heads towards Honningsvag, a large village in the southern part of the island of Mageroya, the starting point of our voyage to the North Cape...