This morning we woke up to quite a noticeable ship’s motion as the Borealis ploughed her way through the waves. Once again the temperature was below zero, and the clouds scudded through the windblown skies. We had a full day at sea to look forward to today.
We breakfasted, as usual, in the Lido restaurant, and wandered out on deck; we didn’t stay out long because there was a brisk, icy wind. Seeking refuge in the cosy interior of the Borealis, we had a look at the Daily Times events programme to see what we fancied doing today. There was a lecture due at 11 o’clock about the Sámi people, so we decided to go to that; until then, we just read, relaxed and tried to watch some television, a futile exercise because the reception was very poor, either because of the weather or the nearby mountains or both.
The Sámi people are an indigenous race who occupy the Sápmi region (formerly known as Lapland) which today encompasses large northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and of the Murmansk Oblast, Russia, most of the Kola Peninsula in particular. The Sámi have historically been known in English as Lapps or Laplanders, but these terms are regarded as offensive by some Sámi people, who prefer the area’s name in their own languages, e.g. Northern Sámi Sápmi.
Traditionally, the Sámi have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding. Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding. Currently about 10% of the Sámi are connected to reindeer herding, which provides them with meat, fur, and transportation. We have previously met Sámi natives with their reindeers when we visited Hammerfest in 1999. As an ethnic minority they were, until the 1990s, met with severe discrimination and abuse by the dominant cultures of the countries in which they lives, where they were not allowed to speak in their own language or persue their own customs and cultures. This was known as “Norwegianisation”, but now the Sámis are recognised and protected as an indigenous people and are an important part of Norway’s history and culture.
We enjoyed the talk very much and learned a lot, and it took us nicely up to lunchtime, where we decided to go and eat at the Poolside, as they do a fantastic hand-made burger there.
When we arrived at the Poolside, we spotted an empty table near the window and sat down, giving the waiter our food and drinks order. We soon realised why the table had been unoccupied; it was freezing! Usually we find on ships that have pools under retractable roofs that the temperature is maintained at a comfortable level and the pool is heated; I believe someone said it was 27ºC. However, it was not the case on the Borealis. I was wearing my lined walking trousers with a hoody, but I wished I’d brought my alpaca wrap, as it really was uncomfortable. So much as I enjoyed my burger and skin-on potato wedges, it was a relief to go inside in the warmth afterwards, and we decided to go up to the Observatory to do the “Name that Tune” quiz at 1.15pm.
We are happy to say that this time we scored full marks, 30/30. Our prize was a couple of prize point tokens; last year when we’d won the music quiz we received a pair of luggage straps, but this time it was two prize points (one point per team member). We had to save up the tokens and trade them in for prizes at the end of the quiz. However, we still had the bragging rights for today. 🙂
We stayed in the Observatory to have another drink before returning to 3326 for an afternoon power nap.
The day passed in its usual pleasant way and then it was time to start getting ready for dinner. I wore a blue and white dress with a blue bolero, and my gorgeous Irregular Choice polar bear shoes, which once again received a lot of attention as we made our way to the Borealis Restaurant.
All six of us were present at table #126 tonight, and we enjoyed the usual scrumptious meal washed down with crisp house rosé wine and finished off with a glass of amaretto. Once again we were nearly the last people out of the restaurant and our waiter had to chivvy us out so they could get the table ready for the next sitting. 🙂
In the Neptune Theatre, the comedian Dave Kristian was performing again and he was very funny, with lots of laugh-out-loud moments. We enjoyed this show better than his first one (even though that was good too). As he was taking his final bow and Taylor, the cruise director came on stage to let us know what else was happening around the ship, we heard the “bing bong” of the public address system and the voice of the Officer of the Watch came on: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are now experiencing some aurora activity outside on the starboard side”. Everyone, including Trevor and I, hurriedly left the theatre and rushed back to their cabin to don our coats and suitable footwear; I changed from my polar bear shoes into my trainers, intending to change back again once we were inside.
We made our way up to the top deck and eagerly look skywards. It took a few seconds for our sight to adjust to the darkness (they’d turned the lights off in this part of the ship) but, sure enough, we soon spotted the faint green glow in the skies and eagerly pointed our cameras towards it. The easiest way to find the aurora was to look for any clouds, and the green glow seemed to come from behind them.
It was bitterly cold and we didn’t stay out very long, returning to cabin 3326 to hang up our coats and for me to put my shoes back on and comb my hair which was a bit wind-swept. We then went up to the Observatory in time for the quiz at 10.00pm (which we didn’t win) followed by karaoke.
Yes! For the first time since before the pandemic, they were holding karaoke on board. I usually like to get up and sing and I put my name down to do Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. I was the third person called up, and everyone, including Brendo, who was hosting the karaoke, and Hubert marvelled at my shoes, with people coming over to take photographs.
The karaoke was really lively and popular, with lots of people getting up to sing. I got up twice more, and sang You’re So Vain by Carly Simon and You Know I’m No Good by Amy Winehouse. Several of the singers got up more than once. As I was singing one of the songs, I noticed that Trevor had company; the singer Bruce Anderson and the magician Dain Cordean, who had come in and sat next to him. I was performing in front of professionals! 🙂
It was well after midnight when the karaoke finished, after a really enjoyable and lively time. We stayed chatting with Bruce and Dain, enjoying more drinks, and everyone saying how great it was that cruising was getting back to ‘normal’ after nearly two years of restrictions.
The time absolutely flew and it was after 1.00am when we returned to our cabin after a great evening. We had our next port of call, Bodø, to look forward to tomorrow. Once again, we slept very well.