It was the first time that I photographed this stunning-looking passenger ship. I had just got my first digital camera, when VICTORIA visited Aarhus August 7, 2002. I was deeply impressed by the ship and could only dream of one day to travel on it.
Five years later I met the ship again in Istanbul, this time as OCEANIC II – and after another couple of years, I finally managed to be a passenger one this once Svenska Amerika Linjen flagship in her autumn as MONA LISA.
I have probably travelled on more than 300 passenger ships/ferries, but this one is by far the most luxurious I have ever experienced. Five years later she ended her days at the beach of Alang after er a final role as hotel ship.
About this entry: A handful of selected photos from my archive. I pick out photos that are older than 10 years and tell the story behind. Something that evokes fond memories of travel and the ship friends I travelled with.
Back in May 2002 a friend and I went on a return trip on BOA VISTA Hirtshals – Brevik – Hirtshals. I recall that the departure from Hirtshals was quite late in the night, and we could spend most of the following day ashore where we walked to the nearby and very charming town Langesund.
This photo is shot during the late afternoon return trip to Hirtshals. We were both excited about sailing on a “Stena Seatrader-class ship”, I recall – and for me it was the first and, unfortunately, also the only encounter with that class of ships.
I never managed to travel on STENA SCANRAIL, though I have had many opportunities during her years on Kattegat. BOA VISTA, original STENA SHIPPER, ended her 40-year long life on the Aliaga Beach in Turkey in 2013.
The brand new MIDNATSOL arrives for the first time in Bergen April 2, 2003. Me and two ship friends had decided to go to Bergen to see the ship and visit it during a open-ship event which was alongside Festningskaien the following day.
Back then there was no such portable technology as an AIS-app, so we were not aware of that MIDNATSOL was very close to the port, while we sat in the car on FJORD NORWAY’s car deck waiting to disembark. We first realised that when we finally drove ashore, so the following minutes of driving were a bit intense. But we managed to park and photograph MIDNATSOL in the last minute before she passed the pier at Skoltegrunnskaien.
The light was good with a dark rainy sky, but with a touch of sunshine just in the right moment. The photo is shot with my first digital camara. The RAW file format was not invented back then and seeing the file today its clearly that I could not do much to handle the very visible issue with highlight the photo suffers from.
My first dedicated photo trip to Southern Europe took place in June 2004. It included Bari, Brindisi, Zadar, Split, Stari Grad and Vela Luka. The highlights of the trip were crossings onboard ANCONA (originally the 1966-built SVEA), KRALJICA MIRA (originally the 1965-built HAMMERSHUS) and a “modern classic” from my own top-ten list MARKO POLO (originally the 1973-built PETER WESSEL.
Photos of those ships will probably be featured in my archive album later. For now, a photo from the first day of the trip, June 26, showing SVETI STEFAN arriving in Bari from Bar in Montenegro. SVETI STEFAN (originally the 1977-built CORNOUAILLES) was scrapped in 2013.
ATHENA and KALYPSO are probably the ferries that have made the biggest impression on me. It was especially the iconic image of ATHENA in Slite from April 1989 that stands out most clearly in my memory – I think I saw it in a publication from Shippax at my local library in Aarhus.
Some years later, I visited, or perhaps rather made a pilgrimage, to Slite – and was surprised at how small the harbour is for such a large ship.
I managed to sail with KALYPSO on my first Scandinavian photo trip in 1993, since then I watched with frustration that both sisters were sold to Star Cruises in Asia. Therefore, I was even more excited when DFDS eight years later bought ATHENA (AQUARIUS) to rebuild and deploy her as the company’s new flagship between Copenhagen and Oslo.
I was present by the Limfjord and in Aalborg when AQUARIUS arrived from Asia, and when the ship later arrived again from Blohm & Voss in Hamburg as PEARL OF SCANDINAVIA. One of the photos I took on the last occasion, I sold to DFDS, who used it for their first advertising campaign of the ship in newspapers and TV. Thus, ATHENA also became my commercial breakthrough as a photographer.
Here is a photo of PEARL OF SCANDINAVIA from the autumn of 2002, where the afternoon sun is low during the 17:00 departure to Oslo.