Bergen & Bourbon

The planning for Cast In Steel 2016 is now well under way. No-one is more amazed than me that it actually seems to be happening, but hotels are booked, flights are being booked and hopes are being cautiously raised. Very cautiously. We all remember what happened last time.

I’m no expert on Norway, so it’s a steep learning curve for me. But Bergen, our home for a few nights, looks ridiculously beautiful. Here’s a shot of the harbour area (and our hotel) (along with a lot of other buildings) from their tourist people:


All so very pretty, but all so unfamiliar to me. Well, almost all unfamiliar, anyway. Because, hang on a sec, isn’t that our old friend (we met once on Quay 6 at the V&A Waterfront) Bourbon Clear, about halfway down that right hand side? Of course it is.
The thing with having a big, bulbous green face is that you’re not easily forgotten, nor mistaken for anyone else.

I’d not be lying if I said that the Bourbon Clear is among my top one Norwegian registered Multi-Purpose Offshore Vessels. And I see the fact that it’s moored right next to the concert venue of the Bergenhus Festning as some sort of sign. But because I’m not superstitious, I’m only seeing it as a sign that the Bergenhus Festning is right next to a harbour. That’s all.

Because my most important reader is me, more will follow on our Bergen trip plans, building to a crescendo of excitement and anticipation that can only result in the best experience or the biggest let down ever.

But I’m thinking the former this time, please. Ok?

Bourbon Clear

We met, by chance, in the Spur at the Waterfront. Me and my kids, him and (some of) his. A brief conversation ensued; the usual pleasantries, some congratulations on the latest addition to his family just 8 weeks ago. And then he asked if we had been to see the Rainbow Warrior and were we aware that we could go on board? We hadn’t, and I wasn’t.
He and I agree on many things, but we fall on very different sides of the lentil curtain.

I was aware that she was in town, but Greenpeace really isn’t my scene. He understood, but remarked (sagely, I felt):

Try to ignore the lefty, liberal agenda and just see it as a ship.

Fair enough, we were running a little late already, but the kids love ships.

We left him to his (free range?) ribs and headed down towards the Table Bay Hotel where the Rainbow Warrior is docked.

That’s when we saw it: the Bourbon Clear. (We also saw the Rainbow Warrior, but the queue for indoctrination looked a little long and I thought I might get sent for re-education if I accidentally let slip my views on whaling) (or fracking) (or nuclear power) (or hippies).

But anyway, the Bourbon Clear – what a ship! Norwegian registered and helpfully described as an “Multi-Purpose Offshore Vessel”, it has a long, low, flat stern with a MASSIVE bulbous bow section, a good five or six storeys above the water line. Weird, but ever so cool.

Once home, I popped onto (we’ve talked about them before here), and got all the facts and figures. And then I saw this photo:

When it said “Multi-Purpose”, I (foolishly) imagined it meant transport, towing, fire-fighting (those impressive water jets were evident) and the like. I never thought it meant sunbathing. But what a little (88m long) suntrap they’ve got going on there, hidden away from the rest of the world by those 6m high gunwales. And if the skipper says it’s ok, then why the hell not?

It wasn’t particularly sunny in Cape Town today, but from our position on the quayside, we couldn’t see into the back of the Bourbon Clear and I’m now left wondering what we missed behind the walls of green metal. A football match? A crazy golf course? A field full of wild horses? A clown convention?

I’d like to imagine that anything can happen on-board the Bourbon Clear.