Week 7 - A view around every corner.

Monday 21st July 2014.

Wow, Wow, Wow!! The only words to describe our jolly today. We went up into the hills behind the camp site. Stunning.

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We were looking for Gorsa Canyon, billed as the deepest gorge in Europe, with the most spectacular waterfall and a pedestrian bridge 150m over the river. We took the car up the mountain till we came to the footpath just 1.8 km (1.1 miles) from the most spectacular waterfall we have seen since we visited Niagara Falls in Canada. Almost alongside the waterfall is a bridge over the gorge from which bungy jumping takes place, not unfortunately while we were there as that would have made for some interesting photos.

Tuesday 22nd July 2014.

Saw a GB numberplate today for the first time since 27th June. There are not many Brits this far north, a few Germans and a few Dutch, most other tourists being Fins.

We took the car back up the mountain today and followed the road, (I say “road” but it is unpaved and single track with some, shall we say, interesting hairpin bends) to the end at which point we were less than a kilometre from the Finland/Norway border but some 25km (15 miles) from the “black stuff” and every inch of it surrounded by beautiful scenery.

How weird, this morning we saw the GB numberplate, and this evening a couple of English chaps are camping next to us. Quite strange to hear English being spoken by someone for whom it is their first language.

Wednesday 23rd July 2014.

We are going to have to change our “adventure before dementia” tag line. Its a moving day today, got up, got ready, got in the car and tried to start it. Nothing, looked down and saw the lights were on. Oh dear, I thought, I obviously had not locked the car last night (locking turns off the lights) and flattened the battery. I asked the Norwegian chap on the next pitch if he could give me a jump start, he said he would. Unfortunately he had left his caravan and car hitched overnight to get a quick start this morning. He had to move his family out of his van lift the legs and unhitch before he could come to my aid. He put the red clamp on a red post under his bonnet (I didn’t see his battery, don’t know where that was) and the black on an engine bolt. I turned the key - nothing. He moved the car to get a better access to what he said was a better place for the black clamp, right! I jumped in the car to try again and as I did so noticed that it was in drive DOH!!!! I slipped the gearbox into park and calling out “here’s hoping” turned the key, it obviously burst into life. I thanked the chap profusely said what a marvellous battery he had on his car, I simply couldn't admit the truth and after that start we were hoping that was all the bad luck for the day and off we went.

Norway is certainly a fabulous country to drive in (if you ignore the state of the roads) although like Scotland as you go into the more remote areas the road condition deteriorates even further and they get narrower. That doesn’t of course affect the heavies rushing towards and past you without any slackening of pace or the car drivers overtaking on roads that if you measured them would surely be too narrow for two cars side by side.

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Tonight was spent at Gullesfjordbotn Camping the eleventh site of this trip and our hundredth since starting to travel. It was a pleasant site as you will see if you read my site report but like some other sites in Scandinavia we got the distinct impression they were doing campers a favour allowing them to stay, as the site was by no means full. I thought it should be the other way round.

Thursday 24th July 2014.

We had intended to stay here at Gullesfjordbotn Camping a few days but, you guessed, it’s moving day today. We have decided to go a bit north to the end of the Vesterålen Island group where we have been told the scenery is great and it is one of the worlds best “Whale Watch” areas.

Friday 25th July 2014

Today we arranged to go on a “Whale Safari” the nutrient rich waters off Vesterålen where the various safari companies guarantee - or your money back - that you will see whales. At this time of year it is the sperm whale that frequent these waters while in the winter it is the pilot and orca, or killer whales.

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The adult sperm whale grow to between 10 and 18 metres weighing up to 40 tonnes and are the largest of the toothed whales living for up to 80 years. Only the male is seen here as the females and their young live in the more temperate waters of the north and mid Atlantic.

The trip was scheduled for 3.00 pm but early morning fog had delayed the departure of the morning trip by some hours so it was not till after 4.00 pm that we headed out into the Norwegian Sea. Two RIB’s powering out to sea at full chat, an exhilarating ride but not as exhilarating as when we saw our first sperm whale. It was huge, unfortunately, in the photos you have nothing to define the size of the animal but I can assure you the tail as it slid below the surface was several metres across.

It was at this point that, for Sue, things started to go wrong, although always queasy on a boat, she has never been seasick. Well never before, because she well and truly was this time, and although the remaining passengers saw three more whales Sue only saw the first properly. Still I can only saw I saw the sperm whales, Sue can also say she got to feed them.

Saturday 26th July 2014.

Got up to a cloudy/foggy day today but we had to back to town to get some veggies (as it later turned out we didn’t bother as the cost was too high and the quality too low) and some diesel, the purchase of which has to be planned as the fuel stations can be few and far between. On the return journey we popped into a space museum, built as part of a space research facility where Norway set off its first space rocket to assist in understanding the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. This has led to a Norwegian Space industry worth many billions of Krone, the Norwegians being very proud of the fact that despite being what they describe as a “high cost country” they are able to successfully compete in this field anywhere in the world.

While we were in the space centre the heavens opened and the rain rained down, the first time we had seen real rain in Norway. No BBQ tonight then but we had bought some frozen Halibut while shopping and had that, it was delicious.

Sunday 27th July 2014.

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Another moving day. We are going to stay on this group of islands but move south to where we can get what we have been told is one of the most beautiful ferry trips in the world. Today’s journey was as every journey in Norway - stunning, with an ever changing vista of fjords and mountains. We are now camped at the end of a short jetty with water on three sides of us and mountains all around. FAB.

Last updated Sunday 14th September 2014                                                                                              © S W Ghost 2014