Start: 08:00 Finish:
Total km., for day: Zero all on foot
Slept long and deep, sound of the surf perhaps. It was a wee bit parky once I crept out from under the covers but the van soon warms up. Bright, sunny blue skies, and for here, relatively no wind.
After sorting myself out took myself on a fair long walk into the village Maryland where this road ends. All very pleasant with wonderful views, just got a bit icy on the walk back to the van, way was had come under the shadow of the mountain.
Back at the van just in time for lunch, which I unfortunately had to make myself. My first cooked meal this trip (own cooking that is), spinach accompanied by a delumptious chunk of Reindeer Salami, can recommend it absolutely. Just hope it doesn't cause Santa problems later this year.
On the walk caught sight of an Eagle soaring way, way up. Only second so far this trip, guess I’ll see a lot more once I get to Andøya. Which reminds me of an little story I forgot to mention on the way. Add it at the end of this PPR.
Been trying desperately to get a decent signal so that I can call No.,2 Daughter-in-Law who has her birthday today, lovely lady she is. Walked a way back out of this dead end in the hope of getting one, also no luck anymore than climbing half way up the mountain out back of me. Finally work but terrible signal and reception.
Rest of day to be easy catching up on notes, reading etc.
But before closing for the day my little story:
My Little Story.
On the way up, I think it was on the 3rd. April I was trundling along and had to grin, it was fairly early still, and I drove past a house at the wayside, where else would it be, and there was a reindeer campy enjoying its breakfast grazing contentedly on the owners lawn. Nice sight I thought as I drove on.
Two or three kilometres further along I burst out laughing, I think the Reindeer I had just seen was the herds scout out front sussing out the lie of the land when he found the blokes lawn and decided to take a break and have breakfast. Anyway I meander, now at the side of the road I passed the herd heading his way, could have been anything up to hundred reindeer in the herd and they were closing on the scout at a fast walk.Oh methinks if they get to the scout and decide that his patch of lawn really does look tasty then the owner of the place was looking at having to lay a new one. Cannot think that plus/minus a hundred reindeer having breakfast on your lawn cannot be good for its health.
Thats it. Thought anyway amused me, but then they tell me I’m a bit twisted.
Which reminds me, have seen reindeer, deer but no Elk yet, apart from the roadsigns warning of the danger of them crossing the road.
Start: 07:45 Finish: approx 14:30
Total km., for day: 65,7
Very windy as usual but bright and sunny, almost too bright with all the snow that is still around.
Start moving up North again today, first day of Norwegen holidays, Maundy Thursday I believe. Didn't get out of van until after my breakfast and morning ablutions. Got straight back in, bloody hell it was freezing.
Went into Unnstad, where I had thought of staying, but changed my mind immediately on arriving and left again. Reason it was chocker block, wait for it, Surfers!!!! Doesn't bear thinking about. From there into Leknes to top up with diesel and grab a cocoa and on to Eggum. Very removed and essentially uninhabited apart from a small village.
In 1942 to 1944 Adolf and his mates built and operated a Radar Station to keep track of convoy movements in and out of Murmansk. Which reminded me just how far North I have reached. Must have been a bit refreshing for the guys stationed here through the winter. It is now and its mid April.
Camping here is free I found out on calling a number to say there were no envelopes to put ones “Honour payment” into. Out of season he told me, stay as long as you wish.
N68°18’24: E13°39’02” for those as is interested.
After lunch and reviewing my living area had a couple of brainwaves and I think I now have the ideal solution for all of the necessary stowage. Like the first trip in the T5, we battled with space and the rubbish we had tried to pack in to discover didn't need it in the first place. Like that trip it all gets thrown out of the van we are starting to look professional again.
Great walking area, which I took advantage of before calling it a day.
Must be some ginormous rabbits around here judging by the size of their droppings. Maybe get to see some later.
No rabbits appeared.
Start: 08:00 Finish: 15:00
Total km., for day: Zero all on foot.
The last time I had such a still, quiet and peaceful night was camping out in the Whahibi Sands in Oman. About the loudest thing was my breaking.
Still bright and sunny, but until the son appeared from behind the mountains it was very Brass Monkeyish.
Went for a great hike between the foot of the mountains and the sea in the direction of Unnstad. I stopped just four kilometres short, so all in all it must just be over ten. The way by road was just over forty.
Looking NNW from here across the intervening sea the mountain range that runs along the North coast of the Vesterålen can be seen. This is my next direction and it looks even chillier than here, not just snow capped but snow down to the shore. Find out when I’m there, which should be in the next few days will I not?
Start: 06:00 Finish: 16:45
Total km., for day: 362,6
Wow that was one heck of a cold night, at 04:30 I had to capitulate and join the trucks. Switched on the heater.
On the go early and into Leknes to stock up on a bit more grub and water. More than necessary, only a cup full left in the main canister, water bottles were empty and had a 5 litre reserve canister left, so I couldn't have stayed out there any longer as no water to be had.
In Svolvær I stopped to see if I could get onto a descent connection to no avail, but I did get a fright, a sudden “Low Battery” warning flashed up. On thinking about it though it has been really cold since I landed on the Lofoten. Combine this with the pretty exposed campsites I have been all in windy and cold locations, which combined with the comparatively little driving I’ve been doing I suppose it’s not surprising that the battery has been taking a bashing. I had a battery check run during the van service a week before I left and it passed A OK.
Anyway I figured the route I had chosen for the day should be just about enough, but as things turned out the drive was more than long enough to top it up. The route was north up the E10 from Svolvær, about fifteen Kilometres, to a little place named Vestpoolen where I planned to turn west. The route then follows a small B road until it hits the coast then follows it around to Fiskebøl which is on the route 82 which joins back up with the E10.
The idea had been to find a nice quiet and secluded wild site and stay there, didn't work out because not only is the entire route the best part of the Lofoten that I have ever visited, and this was the last are of such after the number of previous visits I’ve made, it turns out to be a local (as in Norwegen) insider tip. There are no official camping site on the whole route and the few, very, spots that offer up any sort of possibility were literally parked up, door to door, Norwegen campers. Put an end to that well laid plan, didn't it not? By the time this became evident I had arrived in Fiskebøl and I thought to hell with it, nothing special or feasible, camping wise, between there and Sortland so onward ever onwards. Doodle of a drive, it’s all along the E10 so in no time at all the bridge across the Fjord to the town of Sortland appeared around the corner and I decided what the hell, and drove through to Andenes on Andøya. I had originally planned the other way around but it’s as long as it’s short, pick up Sortland and the Vesterålen on the way back down, makes more sense as well with the Easter holidays going on.
That little saga explains a long day. 360 km., at home will normally take approximately three and a half hours, but up here you can double it and that is more or less what it took, seven hours. But loved every minute of it. Trouble up here is to remember to look at the road every so often.
Anyway I’m currently at N69°18’13” E16°03’55” and give or take a few, very few, minutes, will be until Tuesday morning.
Start: 07:00 Finish: 16:45
Total km., for day: 123,5
Another bitterly cold night but resisted the urge to put the heating on, was however well packed up in various layers of thermal long johns and even more thermal undershirt, followed by various layers of fleece goodies. Still bloody cold though. Not complaining though, my choice and it is all more than worth it.
Got my act together relatively slow and had the pleasure of being able to watch an Eagle while eating may cornflakes, he was obviously digesting his breakfast, sat on a boulder about ten meters off the beach, which I am almost camped on if you check the coordinates I gave yesterday. (Knowing my SatNav they will probably put me further out to sea than the Eagle, but its all relative, innit).
After all this excitement into town on the Marina for an Image that I spotted yesterday, (downloaded and checked later and will have to do it again, was snowing lightly which makes it all spotty).
From there, down the inland east coast route going south, north doesn't work. On this run saw something I’ve never been lucky enough to witness before. Again on a boulder just off the beach, four Eagles all sitting virtually shoulder to shoulder, so to speak. Naturally I stopped and had about two whole minutes to observe them. Of course then one got pissed off with me a did a flyer and his/her fellows all followed one after another. Best bit was still to come though, about two clicks further on there were three of them again. Only three because the fourth didn't have room, the three were literally scrunched up next to one another. The fourth I spotted a bit further down on his own rock. Have to take the big lens tomorrow and see if I can manage some images. They will surely be in the same area again. Pretty much creatures of habit in that respect.
last time I was up here the locals told me they have, or had, five resident pairs and early in the year they get some coming in from down south. One has been tracked as having come from Mecklenburg Vorpommen in Germany. They are gathering for the Puffin Feast which is due to start pretty soon. There is a very small island just of the west coast at Bleik, named would you believe, Bleiksøya, where they nest every year. They reckon that each Eagle takes at least one in the morning and one in the evening and the breeding season is from early May until first week in August if I’n not mistaken. So work it out, on average there are at least fifteen pairs of Eagles gathered here for the period. Lotta Puffins dontcha’know.
Anyway I went about halfway down the island to Å and then cut across to Nordmela on the west coast again and treated myself to homemade lunch followed back to a slow poodle to my starting point.
Decided to stay until Tuesday lunchtime, there’s a nice little Coffee shop cum Backers there and they serve luverly cocoa, and BIG ones. Also have a good internet connection, or at least they used to, and I’m hoping to make a post.
Tomorrow repeat image and hope to catch some Eagle pics.
Start: 06:30 Finish: ?
Total km., for day: ?
Once again hell of a freeze night, but I've cracked the problem, made a small modification this morning and we shall see tonight what success I've had.
Ah well I'm sure I've said this before, "best laid...", as I got out of the van the first time to rearrange the van to drive and see if I could get the Eagles on the other side where I was yesterday, noticed some movement out of the corner of the eye and there the buggers were. No point in even trying to get the kit out, just enjoy the moment. They soared directly overhead for a short while, one landed on a rock in the sea out of sight. Not long after the other three set off around the point to Bleiksøya, where the Puffins must be already after all.
After that I took off for a drive but soon gave up because of the snow. Pretty heavy. So I parked up here in front of the hotel, so little going on its closed! Over Easter? Thought I'd see if the connection that I knew was there, was good enough to allow a post. So here we are. Post this now and update tonight.
Heading for Sortland tomorrow.
After posting I went back down to the Marina as while I was playing about with the blog, it had stopped snowing and the sun had come out. The result is the image below. I think from it one can see that it definitely that time of year. Do a quick check and you will find they are paired off exactly. Either both on the nest or the one close by. The two on the right in the centre of the image are either still thinking about it, sulking or waiting for the weather to change?
They are definitely gathering for the feast, I think in total I spotted at least ten today, apart from this guy sitting on the mountainside by heself de uders wus all in groups.
So I’ll be holding my breath tonight as I had not even considered the possibility that I might catch them this trip.
Wished I hadn’t, stayed awake until 02:00 and then gave up.