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  • Writer's pictureSElliott

Day 08 - The Northernmost Town in the World!

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

We woke today in Havøysund, in the dark, at 8am.

Picture 1 – Havoysund

We were due to arrive in Hammerfest, the northernmost town in the world, at 11am. On the way we passed the northernmost natural gas terminal in the world on Melkøya Island.

Picture 2 - Melkøya NG Terminal

Hammerfest was founded in 1789, and over time became Norway’s polar capital, serving as a base for hunting expeditions into the High Arctic. The town has been destroyed several times in the past, whether by fire, storms or war. However, the inhabitants are hopeful that the current town will last for more than one generation! One of the draws of Hammerfest is the Polar Bear Society, founded in 1963. You can also become a member of the society, which entitles you to wear a polar bear badge in your buttonhole! Unfortunately the society was closed when we visited so I didn’t get to join!

Mum and I went on the bus tour of the town. We started at the Meridian column which was erected to commemorate the joint project to determine the size and shape of the globe carried out by Russia, Norway and Sweden in the mid-19th century. Then we travelled through the town to a viewpoint on the mountain known as “The Thief”, so named as it is south of the town and “steals” all the sunlight! There were some spectacular views over the town.

Pictures 3, 4, 5 and 6 – Hammerfest

We could also see some snow fences, erected to break up any flurries of snow and so protect the town from being buried under a huge snow drift.

Picture 7 - Snow Fences in Hammerfest

We ended the tour at the Museum of Reconstruction which tells the story of how the town was reconstructed after it was destroyed by the Germans as they retreated at the end of the Second World War. The Germans destroyed the Norwegian towns as they retreated, partly due to Hitler’s scorched earth policy and partly, to ensure that there was nowhere for the exiled Norwegian King and parliament to “set up shop”. As part of the retreat, the Norwegians living in the north were supposed to retreat towards the south but some stayed, living in caves in the north until Norway was liberated. As they were scared of being found by the Germans they weren’t able to light fires and had to survive through the winter months without warmth!

Picture 8 - Reconstructed cave where the Norwegians would hide waiting for liberation

From the museum it was back to the ship before it left to its next destination. On the way Mum and I attended a lecture on the history of Hurtigruten before returning to the café for coffee and waffle.

Later on in the afternoon we got the Northern Lights Alert and I dashed out on deck, camera in hand, ready and waiting to catch them on film! They didn’t look as nice (by the naked eye) as the last time we had seen them but at least they showed up nicely on the photos.

We had multiple Northern Lights Alerts throughout the evening – one at 17:50, at which I hurriedly got ready and charged out calling to mum to remember to get me for dinner!

The last call, that we heard at least, was at 2:30AM! Lovely when we have an early rise tomorrow.

Pictures 9 to 22 - Northern Lights

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