Sunday 8th September 2019
What a difference a day makes as they say: it is sunny, with no sign of rain. We had breakfast in the hotel dining room, and then set off south to Gothenburg. We are booked on a Brunch Cruise in Gothenburg's Archipelago which promises to be fascinating. We arrived in good time for our 12 noon departure from Lilla Bommen waterside, with time to park the car and then look at the other ships moored nearby. Our ship for today is the GOTEBORG; she was built in 1915, with a dining restaurant capacity of 100.
Behind the passenger terminal was the huge 4 masted steel barque VIKING, built in 1906 at 2959 gross tons, but it is the height of her masts that is most noticeable: her foremast is 55.5 metres/182 feet 1 inch high. She is now known as a Boat Hotel, and even going for a cup of coffee on board is a fascinating experience.
As we walked towards Lilla Bommen we could see the VIKING masts against the blue sky over the top of the passenger terminal. Beside us were four eye-catching little vessels: ALVEN SHABBEN 4, CARL MICHAEL BELLMAN, ST. ERIK and GOTEBORG.
We were soon on board after a welcome on the quayside, and shown to our table in the Restaurant. The Brunch Cruise was obviously popular and the Restaurant was soon full of cheerful passengers. It stayed that way as we set off from the quayside and for a lot of the cruise, although we later went on deck to see our surroundings. There was lots of delicious food set out on the central tables and passengers at each guest table were invited in turn to go and help themselves. Drinks were served at the tables, from the bar at the end of the Restaurant, and there was soon a quieter time as we all enjoyed our brunch. Desserts were served and coffee and more drinks were also available.
Climbing the stairs to the next deck offered a passenger lounge with comfortable seating, looking out at the passing water and scenery as we made our way through the Southern Archipelago. There was an occasional commentary but I think many of us simply enjoyed the views in the sunshine, and the gentle sound of our little ship passing through the water.
Our route took us back again towards Gothenburg and I noticed we could see into the little bay of Saltholmen as we sailed along.
I could identify VALO built in 2010 at 231 gross tons, VIPAN built in 1960 at 241 gross tons and VESTA built in 1998 at 347 gross tons. I remember taking a trip out of the port in 2015 on RIVO to one of the nearby islands and back on SILVERTANAN, then catching VESTA out around various other islands before heading back to Saltholmen. By a huge coincidence those trips were on 8th September in 2015.
Nearer the city again there was time to look out at some of the interesting vessels moored on our starboard side. We saw EDUARD MELIN, which looks as if she has done many nautical miles, SVEA the Research Survey vessel, DIANA built in 1931, WILHELM THAM built in 1912, and MARIEHOLM built in 1934. By 3 p.m. we were gliding back to our original departure quay and it was time to disembark. The GOTEBORG Captain was on the quayside to shake hands and thank us for travelling with Stromma Kanalbolaget (stromma.com) and sadly that was the end of our brunch cruise on M/S GOTEBORG.
Ships seen: Viking, Goteborg, Alven Shabben 4, Carl Michael Bellman, St. Erik, Murcia Maersk, Valo, Vipan, Vesta, Eduard Melin, Svea, Diana, Wilhelm Tham, Marieholm
Then it was time to head for the car and return it to the airport, ready for us each to take our flights home. My flight was delayed for over an hour, although I was kept informed, but in the Terminal I sat next to a young lady who wanted to share some good news. She was of Sami heritage, living currently in Gothenburg, and had received confirmation that the conference she was to attend in London this week was going ahead and giving her more details. She was a singer in her native language with a good command of English as well as Swedish, so we enjoyed chatting about a British television programme I had seen recently about Sami traditions. In turn she told me about her singing and yoiking that she was to perform in London this week. She is Elin Teilus, and I imagine she will continue to be successful.
I eventually flew home to the UK after a fascinating few days on land and sea, including travelling on one very old and one very new vessel, with several in between.
After arriving at Sandefjord on the lovely COLOR HYBRID it was time to get on the road again and drive north up to the little Norwegian ferry port of Horten.
The Basto-Fosen Passenger Terminal was quite a contrast with the last port we used
but we were soon on board BASTO V (built in 2017 in Turkey) and climbing the car deck stairs to the passenger accommodation. We could look down at the little VEDEROY (built in 1991 at 147 gross tons) beside us,
and then admire the Sefine Shipyard model of our ship.
We are sailing across the Nordic Skagerrak to the Norwegian ferry port of Moss which will take about half an hour. These Basto-Fosen vessels are diesel powered but the Norwegian Government specifies ever cleaner ferries for the domestic routes each time they are re-tendered. This Horten-Moss route has re-tendered for new more energy-efficient ships, and my friend tells me that the company running it has ordered another sister vessel. The new sister is expected to be fitted with the largest battery so far.
On the way over to Moss we passed the BASTO VI going back to Horten; we also saw a DFDS vessel in the distance, and then BASTO IV. In the port of Moss, Norway, I was surprised to see the cruise ship ARTANIA. She has been on charter since 2011 to Phoenix Reisen GmbH, with a mostly German clientele. She was built in 1984.
We berthed in Moss and were soon off the ship and driving south again towards our hotel for the night at Lervik near Stromstad. We checked into the hotel and our accommodation for the night was to be in land-based cabins, which made a change from cabins at sea. Dinner was very welcome.
Tomorrow after breakfast we have an early drive back south to Gothenburg and then a booking for a lovely Brunch Cruise in Gothenburg's Archipelago on a fascinating old ship. The Hybrid Hop continues.
Ships seen: Oslofjord, Color Hybrid, Basto I, Basto V, Basto VI, Basto IV, Artania, Vederoy, a DFDS vessel,
To be concluded...
We arrived back in Sweden later than scheduled - we were due in at 11.00 and drove off the ship at 11.30 but that was not a problem as it gave us time to join a nearby traffic lane in the port for our next sailing. We could then watch the good ship OSLOFJORD depart on her next sailing, leaving probably just half an hour after we disembarked.
Twenty minutes later the COLOR HYBRID came into view, turned and presented her stern for a photograph. This port is rather strange in that the two shipping lines are not allowed to share the same facilities, and must use separate parking and check in areas. It would seem that local priorities and perhaps finance is involved somewhere here in Stromstad.
We soon drove on board and enjoyed looking around at this new ship. She seems very spacious and well-planned. Color Line's own website (colorline.com) gives these technical facts about COLOR HYBRID:
Type of ship: Plug-in hybrid
Shipyard: Built at Ulstein Shipyard
Number of passengers: 2,000
Total crew: 100
Number of cars: 500
Overall dimensions: Length 160 m, beam 27.1 m, draught 6.0 m
Battery pack: About 5 MWh (megawatt hours) giving up to 60 minutes manoeuvring and sailing at speeds of 0-12 knots. Good WHR (waste heat recovery) using a hot reservoir system. Extremely low noise emissions during both battery operation and when moored at night.
They add that it is "The world's largest plug-in hybrid that sets the global standard for environmentally friendly ships and represents a significant upgrade of the shopping and adventure offerings for travellers between Norway and Sweden.
The new ship will provide a better travel experience and set a new standard for comfort. Shopping and service offerings on board will be expanded and improved, with large stores and three great eateries with a rich variety of food and drink.
On deck there will be a greenhouse powered by residual heat. Here, among other things, herbs and vegetables will be grown and served on board. Guests with a love of the sea will probably seek out the additional “bridge” wing at the stern, built for passengers. A glass floor will allow guests to follow the waves and the ship's rhythm with a direct view to the open sea".
During the voyage we could indeed see many of the features mentioned on the website; we didn't expect to be able to get inside a large model whale up on the sun deck, even though it was still raining slightly up on the windy deck. The shops were interesting although I bought nothing.
I admired the Lego construction in one area and thought of two small people at home who would love to have seen it or even had the box kit given to them. Sorry boys, it's not going to happen at that size and price but I did think of you.
My knowledgeable friend told me that the main purpose of the Hybrid part of COLOR HYBRID is to enable her to sail emissions-free up and down Sandefjord (the stretch of water leading from the sea up to the port of Sandefjord in Norway). She will use her batteries for that and the batteries are powered when the ship plugs in. If for any reason the batteries didn't work, she can still use normal engines.
He also said that the technology is similar to that used in the new Hurtigruten expedition ship ROALD AMUNDSEN, which has a battery pack to enable emissions-free sailing in particularly sensitive Polar areas.
Norway has some all-electric ferries - for short crossings; it has some LNG ferries; it is also developing the technology for Hydrogen ferries.
He added that the Norwegian Government specifies ever-cleaner ferries for the domestic routes each time they are re-tendered."
We really enjoyed looking around this very new Hybrid ship. We saw the Restaurant, the whale up on the top deck, the greenhouse, our position at sea, the Koster Buffet, the glass floor on the 'Bridge' wing at the stern, various pieces of artwork, a playroom model for children, the vast double-height shop on board, a huge piece of what looked like a Lego construction, and then the sight of OSLOFJORD in the sunshine at sea nearby.
I went to talk to the lady at the Reception desk because we had not been able to find out the gross tonnage of this brand-new Hybrid ship. This didn't appear on any publicity or websites that my friend and I had seen, and it wasn't shown on the Marine Traffic website either. My little plan paid off because the kind lady agreed with me that maybe one of the Deck Officers on the Bridge would know and be able to tell us. She telephoned the Bridge and moments later I was told that the gross tonnage of this lovely ship was approximately 27,000.
We soon arrived at Sandefjord and disembarked from COLOR HYBRID; we watched her leave the port again and I noticed a commercial vehicle with a colourful advertisement for the ship we could still see out there on the water.
We had one more sight of her as she set off back to Sweden.
Ships seen: Color Hybrid, Color Viking, Oslofjord, Stena Saga
To be continued...