2013/08/11: 26 km around Tromsø; rest, museums, & burgers.
2013/08/12: 52 km and long ferry wait to Senya
2013/08/13: 84 km and evening ferry to Andenes
2013/08/14: M sick in Andenes
2013/08/15: 102 km and ferry to Maurnes N of Sortland
2013/08/16: 94 km and another ferry to Grunnfør
2013/08/17: 70 km to Henningsvær
2013/08/18: 58 km to Stamsund, hostel on wharf with row boats
We’ve reached Lofoten, a group of islands at the seaward end of an archipelago that juts westward off the north coast. We’ve wound our way south through scenery that’s delights the senses, hopping from island to island over bridges and by ferry. We’ve been following the coastline, and the riding is fairly easy. Jagged ridges form the skyline, and curving white sand beaches line the bays. The water is clear and the shallows are aquamarine; you would think you were on a tropical island — until you put your toe in the water.
We separated from Kristian and Ingrid for our day in Tromsø so as to do different museums. Chris and I visited the Tromsø University Museum, and also the M/S Polsterna, a sealing ship. Here, there was also an exhibit about various polar explorations by Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen, and I was pleased to collect a postcard with the recipe for ship’s biscuits as used on Amundsen’s expeditions!
We inadvertently timed our arrival for the ferry to Senya so as to have a five hour wait, but the time was well spent fishing and chatting to a Swedish yachting foursome who’d made their way north by river and canal from St. Petersburg to Murmansk, and were making a jaunt on folding bikes on their southward journey down the coast.
Chris tried his hand at spin casting here for the first time, and promptly lost our only lure. We bought a few more, and I caught and released a pollock. In the park where we cooked our last supper in Tromsø, we had fallen into conversation with a geologist who gave us tips on where our chances would be best for mackerel, and how best to time our efforts with the tides. Our chances should improve as we move south.
Arriving in Andenes on Andøya, Chris and I dove for the hostel to rest our ageing bones, while Kristian and Ingrid camped just outside town. This temporary parting was planned, but me being too ill to ride the next morning was not. I think I had a migraine, and we booked another hostel night while the others rode ahead at a leisurely pace. We set out a day later in glorious sunshine, Chris paused as we crossed a bridge; the sun glinted off the water below us, and steep-walled fells rose dramatically to the fiord. He took a deep breath and said, “And to think I could have stayed at work to make a bit more money!” I think he’s happy he retired when he did.
We met with Kristian and Ingrid again as planned at Fiskevøl. I’ve learned some road-trip survival skills from them, and took advantage of the hot water in the waiting room loo to give myself something like a Central Asian bucket-shower. As I fished again, I received pointers on my technique from a local who was watching me. Apparently I should let the lure sink more before starting to reel it in. We’ll have that mackerel dinner yet!
Two more days brought us to Henningsvær, where we had hot chocolate in a climbers’ pub run by Uruguayans, and camped just outside the town next to climbing groups who had come to scale the cone of Presten — the priest– one of many good granite climbs in the area.
Our last day brought us to Stamsund, where the hostel is a former fishermen’s dormitory right on the wharf, and where there are row boats for guests to use. Kristian and Ingrid and I set out for an evening outing, and returned with three mackerel for dinner. Mine was the first caught, and the largest!
Ingrid and Kristian have ridden on after only a night here, but Chris and I will stay a second as we catch up on emails, as well as plan our arrival in Oslo and our travel beyond. We’ll meet again in Bodø before departing south, possibly also taking the same ferry there from Moskenes.