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Pegpilot

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About Pegpilot

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    BFE Member
  • Birthday 25/12/1960
  1. Pegpilot

    Ferry collision

    Silly question, I know, but is there no automated traffic warning system installed on these things ? Commercial aviation has TCAS, and even humble glider pilots like me have £500 Flarm boxes on board which similarly give an audible warning of increasing risk of conflict just in case you don't pick up traffic. And yes, I know, it's drummed into us as well as mariners - these systems do not excuse you from the need to look out of the window - the Mk 1 Eyeball is still a fantastically versatile piece of kit !
  2. Pegpilot

    Daytime sailings in the Med?

    Interesting topic. I'm also considering a trip away from my normal Baltic stomping ground in favour of warmer climes and I'm thinking about Grimaldi's Barcelona/Rome service as something a little different. Anyone tried it lately ?
  3. Pegpilot

    DFDS SEAWAYS: News & Updates

    But the Rodby route has no long term future, does it ? The tunnel is scheduled to open in 2028, at which the link and its 4 vessels will be redundant. Unless the construction programme is delayed ? Bit I suppose it will give DFDS another route to close.....
  4. Pegpilot

    Tallink: Tallinn - Stockholm

    Oh, thanks Ryan - didn't realise that the Riga route had stepped up to daily again. The Isabelle is, as you say, quite an old boat, but was until recently Viking Line's Isabella, and having travelled on Viking's similar-vintage Mariella a few years ago I'm sure is well kept. I still remember the great cabin with the huge sprawly double bed I had on Mariella
  5. Pegpilot

    Tallink: Tallinn - Stockholm

    A couple of pointers from my perspective. Think about doing Stockholm - Tallinn rather than the other way round - that way, you get a lovely early evening cruise through the Stockholm archipelago. As for Riga, certainly worth a visit for a day or two - a wonderful old town, huge sense of history, food market housed in old Zeppelin hangars. But you might want to be careful about your schedule if you do the Riga/Stockholm ferry, as when I did it there were two vessels on the route providing a daily service, but that's now down to one vessel and a service every other day. Rather typical of my luck, I got not one of the wonderful super-ferries but the long-in-the-tooth Silja Festival, which is now in the Med. Gdansk is another fascinating option, but the Sweden boat runs to Nynshamn rather than Stockholm (an hour away by train), and if you want the full-on Superferry experience you'll be disappointed as it's operated by Polferries, and is the old Stena Fantasia, now nearly 40 years old !
  6. Pegpilot

    Smryil Line

    I'd recommend the Color Line trip from Bergen, having done it the other way round a couple of years ago. Stylish ferries on board, although you'd be hanging around a while in Hirtshals as Color gets in 8ish (I think) and Norrona doesn't board until 2pm. But if you can dump your luggage, take a trip to the lighthouse in Hirtshals and visit the old German WW2 fortifications. Or do the aquarium which is quite close to the terminal. As for life on board Norrona, we did the de-lux Viking package which included all meals (except lunches on shore days) as well as the shore bus trips. If you do the basic trip, you won't find the café too expensive if you don't want to pay for the buffet in the restaurant - I seem to recall you can get a main course for under 10 quid. Hope that helps, Ryan. Whiteheadplh considered train from Billund but it took hours so he took a hire car and left it at the hotel in Hirtshals, so hire cars must have been dirt cheap at that time of year. Cheers Pegpilot
  7. Pegpilot

    Smryil Line

    Oh, and the penny drops. Hello, Whiteheadplh - we know each other, don't we ? I trust your car journey back to Billund went ok ! And if I've misrepresented anything about the trip, please feel free to correct me !
  8. Pegpilot

    Smryil Line

    Just back from doing the trip myself, and it was certainly worthwhile. Since the demise of Harwich/Esbjerg our outbound routing was air to Oslo, overnight on board Stena Saga to Frederikshavn (wonderful meal on board) and then train to Hirtshals. The original report covered most bases, but of note was the fact that our outbound leg to the Faroes dived through Yell Sound between Shetland Mainland and Yell rather than doglegging north or south of the islands. I'm not sure it does that too often, so a real bonus. On the Faroes I took the opportunity to take the local ferry on the 20 minute trip to Nolsoy, a lovely but exposed little island that provide the shelter for Torshavn's bay. As previously stated, the arrival in to Seydisfjordur is stunning, and I took the opportunity to do both coach trips offered by Smyril into Iceland's interior, including the hairy trip over the mountain pass. Departure from Iceland was brought forward by 8 hours so we could outrun a gale, but we had correspondingly more time in Torshavn on the way back to compensate. Our trip home was via Color Line's Superspeed 1 from Hirtshals to Larvik (paid extra for the Business Lounge, but it was dark and claustrophobic, and not a patch on the comparable lounges on Stena's Harwich/Hook boats). Some fun ensued on Superspeed approaching Larvik as Norwegian special forces rehearsed boarding from RIB's on an anti-terror exercise, and that was after we'd watched Danish F16 fighter jets practice strafing a frigate on its way round Skagen, so it was all happening. Thence by rail to Oslo and home on BA, who now can't even be bothered to give you a cup of coffee on the flight. You need a credit card for that ! Oh, and if you're on the Viking round trip cruise you can pay a few bob more and have a trip to the bridge, which was interesting. I was struck by the modernity and comfort of the bridge and its systems compared with the Russian 1980's research vessel Akademik Ioffe which I travelled on to Antarctica last year. But that's another story. I'm not going to post loads of pictures, but my handle on Flickr is also Pegpilot, and you can dig them out there if you're interested. Yup, a good trip
  9. Pegpilot

    DFDS SEAWAYS: News & Updates

    The insistence that UKBF is to blame appears plain wrong. It's still possible to book freight ship trips from Immingham. Or Bristol. Or London Gateway.
  10. Pegpilot

    P&O 'Express'

    So logically the XPRS should now be re-named the VIKING SLWR ?
  11. Pegpilot

    Tallink ordered new 49,000 ton ferry

    So the displaced boat is Superstar, which is going round Skagen as we speak heading for a new life with Corsica Ferries after just 8 years in the Baltic. I'm guessing that the replacement is capacity driven, as 8 years doesn't seem long at all to my untrained eye. And I look forward to Tallink christening the next boat in the series "Gigastar" - it could all get rather silly !
  12. Pegpilot

    Trip with buddies

    Hi Tim. I've just been to the Antarctic peninsula on a small ship (Akademik Ioffe - 100 passengers and 65 crew). Seasickness was a real concern, given the 48 hour open water crossings of the Drake Passage in each direction. We had it moderately bad, but not the infamous "Drake Shake", but the boat was nevertheless rolling around quite a bit for a couple of days. Patches behind the ear seemed to work for most, whilst I survived on wristbands, ginger essence tablets and the basic seasickness tablets offered in Boots Pharmacy. I was bad(ish) for a few hours on the way out (didn't take my medication in time), but staying in my bunk and lying down helped loads. On the way back the seas were worse but hardly anyone on board was affected by then, so perhaps you really do get your sea legs. Mind you, serving soup in the restaurant in 40 kt crosswinds wasn't too clever - it was carnage. I would have had two hands on my soup bowl if I hadn't been more concerned with saving my wine glass !
  13. Pegpilot

    Baltic advice

    hi Ryan. I've done a few of these now, including Stockholm-Tallin, Riga-Stockholm, Stockholm-Helsinki, Gdansk-Nynshamn, Hirtsals - Bergen and Trelleborg-Sassnitz. Leaving Stockholm in the early evening as the sun goes down is just wonderful if you get the right weather, and both Tallin and Riga have great old towns to explore (although Tallin is probably more picturesque). The good thing about Tallin is you can then link through to Helsinki very easily, as Tallink run several services a day and it takes just 3 hours or so.Gdansk is absolutely fascinating with a wonderful maritime museum, but the overnight Polferries service to Sweden can't compare on quality with Viking or Silja Tallink. And make sure you visit to Vasa museum if you go to Stockholm - a bit like the Mary Rose but much better preserved. Also, if in Stockholm you fancy seeing the evening rush hour when the big boats come through then head for the shoreline at Gashaga at the eastern end of Lidingo island where the ferries seem just feet away as they rumble through - the Gashaga hotel is a very pleasant overnight base to do just that. Anyway, I'm off on a day trip up the Kiel Canal and am trying Color Line's very expensive Kiel-Oslo overnight cruise ferry next week, so will report back if interested in the latter. Hope this helps !
  14. Pegpilot

    Your Oldest Ferry

    Interesting point you make about a 20 year Channel life expectancy, Gareth. It got me thinking back to 1970 when we moved to Kent and my mum got a job on the ferries interviewing passengers for the Government census and statistics department. The old timers then were Shepperton Ferry (37 years old), Invicta (30), Prince Philippe (22) and Koning Albert (23). Of course the latter three passenger ferries were doomed as car ownership and Ro-Ro grew and Western Docks got its linkspans. The other relatively new passenger ferry that plodded on into the late 80's, albeit in garish Townsend orange, was RMT's Prinses Paola - surely the most beautifully proportioned vessel ever to operate from Dover ? Oh, and by the way, nelicvx, yes the polar bear skin on Lofoten is rather grotesque - I'm off to the Falklands and Antarctica on an old Russian research vessel this winter, and I really hope they haven't nailed dead penguins to all the walls by way of decoration....
  15. Pegpilot

    Your Oldest Ferry

    Hi Nelicvx. My trip on Lofoten was the last stage of a 3-ship trip from Harwich to Trondheim in September 2014, combining Harwich-Esbjerg just weeks before it closed down, then Hirtsals - Bergen with Fjord Line (very stylish on board) and finally on to Trondheim with Hurtigruten. The photo record of the whole trip is linked below. There's also a few of Marco Polo and Artania, which we stumbled on in Bergen and Alesund. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pegpilot/albums/72157647382936349
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