260614 Week 8 - Bronnoysund to Svartisen - Where sailing amongst snow capped peaks has become the norm.

140619 1 The view across the harbour Bronnoysund

The view across Bronnoysund Harbour

19th June - 25th June

140619 16 Drive tour around the fjord Hammelsto

What a week. 
We hung out in Bronnoysund for four days as the winds came in to 38knots and Katherine was occasionally hard pressed to her berth in the wind and rain. We did have one sunny drive day that took us first north to one of the neighbouring Fjords with its snowcapped peaks before we headed back south to the mountain Torghatten that we had sailed passed the previous day.

140619 40 The Torghatten Walk with Darb and Nell140619 28 The Torghatten Walk140619 35 The Torghatten Walk Graffiti by the King 1973

Legend has it that several of the prominent peaks or mountains in Hegeland all owe their existence to the same legend - that of a troll who chased a fair ogress and her six sisters, the six sisters fell exhausted north of Bronnoysund, the ogress ran on but the horseman deciding that if he could not have her then nor could anyone else, aimed his bow but as he shot the arrow the king of the mountains threw his hat in the air deflecting the arrow and saving the ogress. At the moment that the hat fell to the ground with its hole, the sun rose and so became the mountain Torghatten and the horseman the Hestmann mountain. Well thats the story we were told. 

The climb to the hole in Torghatten provided a great view out to the channel that we had sailed through. We were interested to see that it is not graffiti if you sign a wall when you are king of the country - both Oscar 1873 in and Harold 1963 had left there mark.

From Bronnoysund we sailed to Sandnessjoen where we overnighted before heading out to the island of Lovund. We anchored in the eastern harbour of Lovund as the marina was "just" too shallow and the pontoon in the northern harbour "just" too short where as the anchorage in the eastern harbour proved to be "just" right. 

140623 5 Sailing Sandnessjoen to Lovund140623 21 One hour lots of puffin shots later and we got one

Lovund is famous for its puffin colony of around 200000 birds that arrive on the 14th April each year - not sure how they know thats the day to arrive but each year on that day the island celebrates that date as the day on which the puffins return from the sea in large numbers. We clambered up the rock face to an outcrop that had been fenced off and watched for some time the puffins fly in in squadrons from the sea, then dart into the rocky outcrops where they had their nesting chicks. Three times we were buzzed noisily by a low flying puffin as we were obviously in their flight path. Getting a photograph was very difficult and brought home how lucky we had been in the Scilly Isles last May to see the Puffins hanging around on the cliff faces. 

140623 19 Traena

Though getting a great puffin shot was near on impossible it was easy to get a magnificent panorama shot as the hillside provided a great vista of the neighbouring island Traena and surrounding islands and islets. The Robuhotell also provided a great backdrop at which to enjoy a glass of champagne and a Norwegian tasting plate of shrimp, deer, salmon and cheese.

140624 10 Arctic Circle Crossing Marker

Tuesday 24th was a significant sailing day as we crossed the Arctic circle around 11.30am at 66 Degrees 33.44 minutes north toasting neptune with a glass of Contreau. Our crossing was confirmed shortly after with the sighting of the Arctic Circle Monument on the island of  Vikingen. Hard to believe when we look at the charts we are now above Iceland!!!

140624 35 Svartisen Glacier Katherine

To top off what had already been a momentous 24 hours with Lovund and the Arctic Circle crossing we sailed into the Holandsfjorden to Egen and the Svartisen Glacier. The Svartisen glacier is the second largest glacier in mainland Europe covering 370 square kilometres. On our arrival the glacier was shrouded in cloud but as the evening wore on the  cloud lifted and the glacier was revealed. It is one of the things we have come to appreciate here that often the later in the day the better the weather so it was no surprise to us that at 8:30pm at night we should be getting on bicycles and riding the path to the lake in front of the glacier for a better viewing. 

140626 4 3am morning sun Svartisen Glacier

Wednesday we road the bikes to the end of the trail before beginning the ascent to the glacier proper. Getting up close to the glacier simply amplified the magnficient blue colours it had within and the sheer size. Unfortunately we had a  shower of rain whilst at the glacier and it made for a cautious descent as the rocks had become treacherously slippery. Lee tried to get a photo of the "setting" sun at midnight but got a picture of just the pink in the clouds, then at 3am the sun was rising again over the glacier. 

Today as we left Svartisen the sun was shining giving a full view of the glacier. Having a glacier as your backdrop for two days is going to take a lot to beat particularly as we saw the glacier in so many phases from rain, shrouded in cloud, evening and morning light and finally in full sunlight. 

A very special place and we can now see why we were told to visit Hegeland. 

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© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain