Sunday, 23 July 2017

HARDANGER FJORD ON TO BERGEN. 23rd July

Good bye Lysefjord.
Departing Lysefjord we headed north towards Bergen.
We had been keeping in touch with our  Dutch friends, circumnavigators, Dick and Anita aboard “Kind of Blue”. and an oportunity to catch up presented at Sondaal in a small Fjord off the huge Hardanger Fjord. We first met Dick and Anita in the Azores and then again in Vlissingen their home town and the town in southern Netherlands where we wintered Taipan in 16 / 17. From Sondaal we hiked the 3 hours to the lake at the base of Folge Glacier. The Glacier is one of several in southern Norway and is over 200sq kilometres in area. About 90M of snow falls on it in winter and it is over 800M deep at the deepest point. It provides year round skiing opportunities to intrepid skiers. 
Sondaal with Kind of Blue. The dark hull.
The glacier overflows down into a lake above Sondaal and then on into the fjord. It was to the base of the overflow that we walked. After the hike, accompanied by hot Gluvine  the team attempted, without success, to catch a salmon.

 Pressing on towards Bergen next day we overnighted in Heroy, and then made Bergen on a wet and windy Sunday. Dock space is at a premium there however after a couple of temporary stops we managed to get alongside and find a power  connection.

Bergen and the Hanseatic Buildings on the waterfront


Woodwork at the Hanseatic Museum.
Bergen is an old Viking trading centre and has served as Norways capital since the 13th Century. It had exclusive trade rights as a bureau city of the Hanseatic League. It was the largest city in Norway until the 1830s when Oslo superseded it. Much of the ancient architectural history of Burgen has been destroyed, predominantly by fires throughout the centuries.  Hanseatic warehouses on the waterfront are a UNESCO World Heritage site comprising the very well preserved  timber trading houses on the quay side, now filled with tempting trinkets and some lovely art. Rain in Bergen is allegedly recorded 367 days a year but the temperatures are moderated by the Gulf Stream and thus the area enjoys a relatively moderate winter given that it sits at 60° North. We just donned our coats during the rainy periods and got on with the sight seeing.

Whilst in Bergen we met Valerie Viel and Francois Dupois aboard Cybele. We had been cyber acquaintances through Women Who Sail Northern Europe for some time and it was exciting to finally meet. We enjoyed a couple of evenings together swapping stories and sharing information. We look forward to following their journey to the northern most ports of Norway where they plan to winter Cybele while they return for France.
The clock is ticking and we are moving on again. Leaving Bergen via the fuel dock to fill the tanks we made our way south in brilliant sunshine to Mokster. It was the most beautiful trip down through the islands and we were greeted by a spectacular view of the Folga Glacier laid out like white blanket across mountains on the horizon.
Folga Glacier in the distance

Mokster was a delight in every way. The scenery was breathtaking in the stunning weather we were treated to. Norway has a purity of light not unlike the Australian light and not encountered in many other places. There are wonderful walking trails around the island which highlight the ancient geology of this area. Amazing rock formations and splendid views from the hilltops. Not to be outdone by the natural splendour of the island the local inhabitants outdid themselves treating us to the most amazing hospitality we have encountered anywhere in a very long time. They will know who they are and we thank them all for their warm and generous welcome to their lovely island.
Thanks to Magne Myrvoll for the great drone shot over Mokster the day Taipan was there!!

Mokster has a resident population of around 50 people. The numbers swell in the summer when city dwellers flee the metropolis for the tranquility of their summer cottages on Mokster and thousands of similar islands. We were privileged to be invited to the oldest home on the island, dating back to the 1700’s, for a spectacular fish feast on the most lovely day of summer. On the previous evening we were  also invited to the family dinner of another old historical Mokster family with amazing tales of  survival and WWll Resistance history.



The days passed all to quickly and we were once again on a schedule. The next passage will be out of Scandanavia and on the the Shetland islands. Check back soon for the next instalment.