An early start today up at 4.45am still no water, no showers and no breakfast. We walked a short distance to the dock waiting for our ferry, the Vesteralan to take us on a cruise through the fjords to Hammerfest. The boat was characterized by her bright, cheerful public areas and lounges. Throughout our cruise we enjoyed views from the panorama lounge. Betty was really sea sick, the weather was terrible and the boat was crashing through the waves, rocking sideways, back and forth and seemed to be on an angle. The wind was howling and the seas were very choppy with dark cloudy skies above and lots of rain. We continued to cruise south and the coastal scenery was magnificent with rugged mountains, small islands with rocky outcrops and the small villages near the cliffs edges. The wild weather seemed to enhance the area and remind us of the isolation here.
We disembarked at Hammerfest and rejoined our coach and drove to Alta, which situated at the mouth of the world's richest salmon river for an overnight stay at the Scandic Alta. Pete and I took an optional excursion to the Alta Museum and Rock Carvings. It was like a step back in time to the prehistoric ages. The property is on the Unesco World Heritate List. We had a guided walk on the pathways arranged around the rock carving area. There were fantastic views over the Alta Fjord. The first carvings were found here in autumn 1973 and it is estimated that about 6000 have been so far recognised. The rock carvings were made by hunters and fishermen in the late Stone Age/Early Metal Age between 6200 and 2000 years ago and they provide information and resources of this population. The carvings also depict people, boats, hunting, trapping and fishing scenes as well as people taking part in dances and ritual acts. The museum was very interesting with fishing and ski jumping exhibits.
Another interesting exhibit was the Pipisteinen which was the first rock carving discovered in 1950 by Fredrick Falsen whilst potato ploughing.
During World War 11 the German battleship Tirpitz used the Kafjorden, an arm of Altafjorden, as a harbour and was damaged here by attacking Allied warplanes. The town Alta was seriously destroyed by fire destroyed near the end of the World War II.
Back to our hotel for a buffet dinner. Outside our hotel there was a beautiful church known as the Northern Light Cathedral. Built in 2012 this church is a titanium-clad sculpture evoking the spirit of the Northern Lights and capturing the unique light found in Alta throughout the year. The interior was beautiful with an eye catching modern 4.3 metre high bronze Christ by Danish artist Peter Brandes. There was also a monument to Kristian Birkeland who best remembered as the person whose theories of atmospheric electric currents elucidated the nature of the aurora borealis.