Today we got off to the best of starts. We had news from some good friends that their daughter, who we’ve known from birth, had had her baby son overnight. You can’t start a day with better news than that!
Having finished off the Lofoten Islands yesterday we decided we would head for the mainland today. The normal route south, off the Lofotens, is to take the ferry from near Å to Bodo on the mainland. It is three and a half hour crossing and the cost is nearly €300 for a fellow as bulky as Basil. There is however a shorter (two hours fifteen minutes) and cheaper (about €130) ferry from Svolvaer to Skutvik, but it adds three hours driving time on the mainland.
You will recall that today we had an appointment to have Basil’s fridge looked at in Svovaer, so we decided the Svolvaer ferry made more sense for us and saved money.
Now we come to Basil’s fridge. Most mysteriously the fridge, that last night appeared to be working on gas ……… is still working!! So no need visit the motorhome doctor for Basil. Fingers crossed that the fridge keeps going. I don’t think I can face eating a kilogram of defrosted peas again!
The ferry leaves twice a day. First at 8.30 am (don’t even think about we’re retired you know) and the second at 16.15 (much more sensible). The skies had cleared again and so we had a pleasant and relaxed start to the day and then headed off to the ferry at midday. We stocked up with LPG in Svolvaer and refilled Basil’s freezer from Rema 1000 (not too full, just in case). Then onwards to the ferry.
There were two lanes for people who had made a reservation at a cost of 330 NOK (€35) (not us because we’ve got a perfectly good motorhome to sit and wait in) and we got into the second of the non-reserved lanes at about 13.30. Lane 4. So most of our day was spent sitting in Lane 4. Other people got their chairs out and sat in the lovely sunshine. I got my laptop and maps out and started to plan what we are going to do in Norway after we have finished the 450km Arctic Road, which we start tomorrow.
Once we boarded Sarah grabbed us a couple of rare outdoor chairs and we moved them into an area which we guessed would be free of wind, and so it proved. With the sun bright in the arctic sky we soaked it up on the smooth crossing.
The ship had to call at a small picturesque harbour on the island of Skrova half an hour out of port. The way the crew navigated the narrow channels between the skerries*, at high speed, was very impressive. For the whole journey we were surrounded by mountains whichever way we looked.
The mainland, at which we have just arrived, is just as mountainous and beautiful as the Lofotens we have left behind.
I had already spied a parking place for the night on one of my databases just by the harbour (68.014070, 15.332101). When we arrived, about 30 seconds after disembarking, we found that there was a 150 NOK charge for something. We presume it is for staying overnight, but it’s in Norwegian so we are not 100% sure. It’s too late to find anywhere else and the community have made an effort, putting in portable toilets, a water supply and even some hard standing and new turf, so we don’t begrudge paying. We will see if anyone comes to collect.
Basil is looking forward to starting to explore the Arctic Road Tourist Road south tomorrow. We have a three hour drive to the official start so it may be Wednesday before we start properly.
*I have to admit I had to check I was using this word correctly, which it turns out I was. Skerry is a small rocky island too small for habitation. What I definitely didn’t know was that it entered the English language from the Old Norse word “sker” meaning rock in the sea – how appropriate!