Friday, July 11, 2014


To read the adventure in the order of the Day by Day Trip Report click HERE. To see all the photos for King Crab click HERE.

The King of Crabs

After saying good bye to the team of terrific's on the M/S Finnmarken, we entered Kirkenes, the border town with Russia and Finland and in the land of the Midnight Sun.

Checked quickly into our first Thon hotel.......VERY MODERN, LARGE ROOMS, GREAT WIFI, WHITE, CLEAN, LARGE. This is creating a large dose of happiness, relaxing happiness.  We had adjusted to our tiny cabin aboard ship but . . . now we find ourselves in a relative mansion.  Life is good.

We had just a bit of time to get registered, walk about town and have a cuppa. We head off to the adventure of the day.... thanks to Inger, we go
Crabbing for King Crabs!

We put these goofy suits on to keep us warm and we jump into this 20'-25' boat with 11 other folks, plus our crew of three. 

Now, today is cloudy, windy, damp and really northwest-like. As the boat sped through the water, spray would come up and coat the riders. We stopped in the harbor at two of the giant crab pots and with electric wenches the crew pulled up the pot and proceeded to toss back the biggest ones (including all females) we have ever seen and kept the giant mondo ones. They said we could eat about 3/4 king crab each. They cut off the legs and tossed the bodies back into the sea.

A wild boat ride down the fjord leads us to the Crab Camp which is on the border with Russia. We enjoy a fabulous dinner of King Crab sitting outdoors under shelter while being observed from a distance by Russian and Norwegian Border Guards. Our guide had many exciting stories to share.

The border between Russia and Norway (also Russia and Finnland) is very tightly controlled.  There is a formal crossing place where Norwegians go to Russia to buy cheap booze and buy back -- at a much cheaper price -- the gasoline they sold the Russians.  The new Russian middle class cross into Norway and Finnland to spend their newly acquired wealth on "stuff."

The shorn hillside between the posts (yellow for Norway and red/green for Russia) is jointly maintained by crews of border guards from each country.  We were advised not to encroach even a tiny centimeter into the Russian side.  Even extending our arms with camera to take a picture could be misconstrued as a violation.  Story:  one woman committed such a violation and, as a result, paid a very large fine and was detained several hours, missing her cruise ship connection.

Lots of Russian language in Kirkenes due to the residence of the Russian allies at the end of WWII.  Kirkenes was occupied by the Germans, bombed by the Russians, and then re-civilized by Norwegians, Finns, and Russians after the defeated Germans fled.

It was a great day and having King Crab again was loads of fun......


To read the adventure in the order of the Day by Day Trip Report click HERE. To see all the photos for the day click HERE.


Oh my, but this excursion was magnificent.  The North Cape is the furthest distance north you can go and still be in Europe (71 degrees 10 minutes north of the Equator). It has been said, "You are standing at the edge of the world. This is where the world ends."

At the gift shop (even the Top of the World has a gift shop!) we were able to post cards which will bear the postmark of Nordkapp (North Cape.)  We watched a brief film, beautifully done, which showed the promontory area thru all four seasons.  We are here during the Midnight Sun season which begins in May. The film -- almost an IMAX -- had fabulous shots of the Northern Lights, reindeer, flowers, snow, mountains, and snow plows.

We had a great lunch/picnic looking toward Russia/Finnland and out into the Barents Sea.

It has been so very warm...we cannot believe that we have to keep taking off layers of clothing...we are all getting a little tan. Our message from Birger is that Norway experienced 32 heat records today. Aelsund was 93 degrees today which was a record. 

5000 Reindeer dotted the barren landscape on the way to North Cape. We stopped and viewed a SAMI family with a closeup of their reindeer.

This was a most exciting day, the sun shining and clear blue skies, the fact that we are as far as we can go and that we have been here. 


Inger suggested we do two things, and both ideas were excellent.  First we did some tromping around Tromso.  We got off the ship for a few hours to enjoy Tronsø which is the largest town in the High North and third largest in Norway. Lovely little fishing village with a beautiful white very modern church called The Arctic Church. We walked the village, made plans, did a little bit of shopping, more plans, had a coffee, enjoyed the sun, made more plans.

(Shopping inventory:  Becky bot yarn!  Inger got a great shirt!)

We end our trip on the Hurtigruten as we enter the Harbor toward Kirkenes in the High North Country. It was a terrific trip with special moments that we hope you could share with us. 
We stayed up until midnight to share the "Midnight Sun". 
Wait until the "rest of the story"!