Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Magic Word - Bergen

“When will we get the new equipment?” “When we get to Bergen.”

“Where will the copy machine get fixed?” “In Bergen.”
“Are we getting more batteries any time soon?” “Sure, as soon as we reach Bergen.”
“I hear there will be a brand new coffee-maker?” “Yep, that’s right. That’ll be in Bergen”

On a morning bathed in grey and silver we round the famous lighthouse of Markestein and then zigzag our way through the narrows that finally lead to the second largest city of Norway.
It feels strange to get to a changeover place after only two days of sailing, feels very short. Fortunately the weather was perfect - otherwise it could have felt just the opposite.

But now we pass under the bridge of Bergen, Askøyebrua, and then go to pier. Immediately hell breaks loose:
All possible doors, hatches, gangways, and gates open up, the engines of several forklifts are being started, and every crew and staff member is ready with the sleeves rolled up.

Right after the custom officers are done with their spiel everyone gets to work feverishly.

Definitely the person with the biggest workload on this typical Bergen day is our hotel manager Else Kristine, who has to verify, count and control all the deliveries for months to come. 71 pallets are being brought by the shipping company, transferred into FRAM’s belly and then attacked right away. A sea of wrapping material, wood fragments, and tools wherever you look.

Truly, it seems that everything, really everything, goes through Bergen.
But there is system to the chaos, things are actually not blocking each other, containers are being emptied in rapid succession - clearly we are getting somewhere. 
Even the Expedition Team finds time to stock up on coffee capsules, a necessary item for the mornings…
Definitely the biggest and most spectacular items that are loaded today are the two new Polar Cirkel Boats - bigger, faster, better. We will mainly use them for our long-range excursions all over the world. Everyone is really excited, especially captain Rune.
In all this action we should not forget that Bergen is a wonderful, colorful, cultural city, lively with restaurants, bars, theaters, and the numerous market stands that gather around the scenic harbour.
However, the only ones being able to benefit from that are the passengers leaving us today after two days of whisky tasting, and those who join us in the afternoon.
By that time, magically, most of the things are done, stored away, cleaned, repaired, replaced. So all that work gets done invisibly, and the new arrivals might wonder a little why crew and staff seem a little exhausted…
A cheerful crowd from many different countries joins us today, gracefully mustering the patience to stand in line to be checked in, to receive the expedition jacket, and to wait for the luggage to be brought to the cabin.
A long travel day lies behind them, so they also are a little tired when Captain Rune gives his introductory speech.
Long day over.