After having dinner in their staterooms, enthusiasts gathered on the main deck in anticipation of the long-awaited beginning of cruise: after all, our previous adventures were only a prelude. The most interesting part was about to begin!
The weather cleared up. The sun showed from behind the clouds, lighting up ancient
stretched from the banks. All the islands are connected with bridges crossing the sea straits; many of the bridges have very interesting designs. Our ferry went approximately under 15 bridges during the cruise, and we saw even more bridges from the side.
On the left, you can see a channel separating the island Askoy from Bergen. In 1992 a bridge was built across the channel, connecting Askoy (one of the largest islands adjacent to Bergen) to the continent. Askoy Bridge is 0.7 miles (1150 meters) long, the central flight is 0.5 miles (850 meters), the height of poles is 492 feet (150 meters), the bridge clearance is 207 feet (63 meters). Before the construction of Great Belt Bridge which connected Denmark and Sweden in 1998, Askoy Bridge was the largest bridge in Northern Europe.
We are moving towards a different channel, leaving Askoy Bridge on the left. We see a Nordhordland bridge ahead connecting islands of Flatoy and Nordhordland with the continent and Bergen. This cable-stayed bridge was opened in 1994, and now it is the second longest bridge in Norway. The unique fact about this bridge - it is a pontoon one! The total length of the bridge is 5295 feet (1614 meters), the length of floating part is 4088 feet (1246 meters).
A pontoon bridge of Nordhordland across the fjord Salhus (Norway) with a floating part of 4088 feet (1246 meters) is located on a curve with a radius of 5577 feet (1700 meters). A gleam between a bottom of the superstructure and the sea level is 16 feet (5 meters). It allows small vessels to pass under the bridge between pontoons. At the same time, this bridge also has a high-water site with a bridge clearance of 105 feet (32 meters) high for ensuring the passage of heavy-tonnage vessels.
We are passing under this unique bridge! Here you can see the floating part far on the left!
"Midnatsol" comes into the following channel, banks of which are connected with a suspension bridge. This bridge connects already familiar to us island of Flatoy with the city of Knarvik, located on the continent. A bridge clearance here is 164 feet (50 meters).
Having passed under the bridge, the vessel follows the narrow, long and twisted passage squeezed on both sides by rocky coasts:
Having passed narrowness, MS "Midnatsol" comes to open spaces of Heltefyord (Hjeltefjorden) separated from the high Norwegian Sea by a ridge of islands. Periodically, through passages between islands, we sense the "breath" of the ocean and we feel slightly seasick.
Near our route (more to the right, in the gulf fjord) there is a town of Mongstad where the oil refinery, largest in Norway, founded in the 70s and modernized in the 80s and 90s, is located. It is no wonder there are a lot of sea tankers nearby.
The sunset was extraordinarily beautiful today!
Having passed Heltefjord, we sail in an open sea for a short time. After passing an entrance to the well-known Sognefjord on the right, we hide behind islands and passages again.
We sailed like that all night long, going from channels and narrowness to open sea sites. Motion sickness can be bad in open sea.
Late evening on the deck - another vessel is visible ahead:
The ferry had made two stops at Floro and Maloy at night. MS "Vesteralen" passed by. It was constructed in 1983 and is one of the oldest ferries on the transport line Hurtigruten. It is called in honor of the very first vessel Hurtigruten which made its first trip from Trondheim to Hammerfest in 1893.
We continue our journey approaching Alesund. Today according to our schedule we have a stop in Alesund, a unique Geyrangerfyord (one of the two Norwegian fjords on the list of the World heritage of UNESCO), a "Geyranger's Panorama" tour, as well as a view of our ferry from Aksl's mountain from the height of 620 feet (189 meters) and more!