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Home → November, 2015

Monthly Archives: November 2015 − Travelblog


Polar night – mid Novem­ber

By now, the polar night has come to the high arc­tic, the sun remains below the hori­zon 24 hours a day. Even mid day the­re is just a bit of twi­light, far from sun­ny bright­ness.

As so often at this time, Lon­gye­ar­by­en is a bit uncomfy: it has been qui­te warm recent­ly and the snow had been thawing. As a result, it is slip­pe­ry, and not just a litt­le bit. You could ice-skate to the super­mar­ket, and a walk to the café without spikes is a bit of an expe­di­ti­on.

This is obvious­ly not the time for long trips out in the field, but that is not necessa­ry. It is about the light, about darkness, which is so much more than just darkness.

And about the quiet­ness and the peace of the arc­tic at this time of year. Spring and sum­mer are always hec­ti­cal, the­re is always so much to do, all the days seem to have 30 hours. During the polar night, peop­le are not so much under stress, ever­y­bo­dy is more rela­xed, they have time, they meet.

Gal­le­ry – Polar night – mid Novem­ber

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Many peop­le in Lon­gye­ar­by­en say that the polar night is their favo­ri­te sea­son. The­re is some­thing about it.

Skro­va, the Polar Light Cent­re in Lauk­vik and Svol­vær – 05th Novem­ber 2015

Today was the day! We star­ted by hiking over the island of Skro­va in the most beau­ti­ful wea­ther, many went up on top of Skro­va­f­jel­let, 285 m abo­ve Ves­t­fjord, with a view that is just gre­at.

The same app­lied to the pas­sa­ge into the port of Svol­vær in the ear­ly after­noon. Sun­set at 3 p.m. Liquid gold over boats, houses and moun­tains.

The Nort­hern Light Cent­re in Lauk­vik on the nort­hern side of the island Aus­t­vå­gøy (which has Svol­vær on the sou­thern side) was next on our plan. Rob and The­re­se from the Nether­lands have cho­sen this lovely, silent spot for their own pri­va­te nort­hern light insti­tu­te, with litt­le light pol­lu­ti­on and a free view to all direc­tions, espe­cial­ly to the north. Their pas­si­on for the auro­ra pola­ris (a collec­ti­ve term for the polar light in north and south, does that term actual­ly exist or have I just made it up? I don’t know) is impres­si­ve, and so is Rob’s collec­tion of tech­ni­cal instru­ments, which he is using con­stant­ly to make „direct con­ta­ct with the sun“, as he puts it. And inde­ed, his short mes­sa­ge info ser­vice has been very use­ful over the last cou­p­le of days, kee­ping us updated about solar and magne­tic acti­vi­ty and our chan­ces to see nort­hern lights.

Inde­ed, Rob’s con­nec­tion to the sun is good and direct enough to prompt a nort­hern light the­re and then. But may­be he has for­got­ten to pass the mes­sa­ge on also to the wea­ther God, who is prompt­ly pushing some clouds bet­ween us and the beloved auro­ra. But a bit later, during the bus back to Svol­vær, we get a sple­ndid nort­hern light show abo­ve nice moun­tain rid­ges; I guess more than one was thin­king about hijacking the bus, stop­ping instant­ly and jum­ping out onto the road with came­ra and tri­pod.

Gal­le­ry Skro­va

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

But that was inde­ed not necessa­ry. Later that night, we got an impres­si­ve and beau­ti­ful dis­play of the nort­hern light which could be per­fect­ly seen from Svol­vær.

By the way, for tho­se inte­res­ted in the mat­ter, have a look at the­se links to sites wit­hin my web­site:

And of cour­se you should visit the Polar Light Cent­re in Lauk­vik on the inter­net or – much bet­ter – in real life, in Lauk­vik.

All in all: the day today was our day, it was important and gre­at! ☺

Troll­fjord and Skro­va – 04th Novem­ber 2015

The wea­ther nee­ded still some time to get a bit more friend­ly, Raft­sund was still a rather wet affair. But the famous Troll­fjord is always impres­si­ve, and so was the Sea eagle show. Three of the­se majes­tic birds were cir­cling in the sky! Well, next time I have to bring a lon­ger len­se also for the trip to the nort­hern lights 😉

Gal­le­ry – Troll­fjord and Skro­va – 04th Novem­ber 2015

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

But then it clea­red up. After a lovely sun­set at the best ear­ly to mid after­noon time, we ent­e­red the har­bour of Skro­va, which was qui­te exci­ting in twi­light, with rocks sti­cking out of the water to all sides of the ship. And it was to beco­me even more exci­ting in the evening. Our first nort­hern lights! What a delight, what a reli­ef 🙂

Har­stad and Tron­de­nes – 03rd Novem­ber 2015

It tur­ned out that we mana­ged to escape qui­te well from the storm. Fur­ther south, har­bours had been clo­sed and fer­ries were can­cel­led. In com­pa­ri­son, it was qui­te all­right fur­ther north.

Gal­le­ry – Har­stad and Tron­de­nes – 03rd Novem­ber 2015

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

At least it is dry enough today for a walk through Har­stad. The his­to­ri­cal-tou­ris­tic high­lights are, howe­ver, not in Har­stad, but a few kilo­me­tres fur­ther east in Tron­de­nes. Next to a his­to­ri­cal muse­um and north Norway’s oldest stone church, the­re is a WWII gun bat­te­ry which is inde­ed known by the bizar­re name Adolf Gun. It was part of Hitler’s for­ti­fi­ca­ti­on of the Atlan­tic coast. The Adolf Gun was a migh­ty thing, with a calibre of 40.6 cm and the capa­ci­ty to shoot shells that were more than 1000 kg hea­vy over more than 40 km. And they would even have been able to hit a ship, as the Nor­we­gi­an mili­ta­ry found out later. Luck­i­ly, the bat­te­ry never fired in anger, that is the only posi­ti­ve aspect of this histo­ry. But we must not for­get the ter­ri­ble fate of tho­se Rus­si­an pri­so­ners-of-war who had to build the fort­ress. Hund­reds of them died during this slavery work.

Lyn­gen­fjord – 02nd Novem­ber 2015

Nice light on the sur­roun­ding island, at least for some time, while we are wai­t­ing for the wind to calm down a bit. As soon as we are sai­ling again, we are con­fron­ted with an unex­pec­ted nau­ti­cal high­light: The cros­sing of the 70th degree of lati­tu­de is not the cros­sing of 70°N, but of 69°60’N. Real­ly! At least accord­ing to the GPS screen on the bridge, at least for a moment. A dime for the GPS’s thoughts that moment!

Ano­t­her nau­ti­cal-astro­no­mi­c­al chal­len­ge are the celesti­al mecha­nics behind polar night and day. No pro­blem with the aid of a tro­pi­cal fruit and a torch. And just in case anyo­ne wants to read again why polar night respec­tively polar day are not equal­ly long in the nort­hern and sou­thern hemi­s­phe­re, the arc­ti­cle polar night – polar day on this web­site is recom­men­ded.

Gal­le­ry – Lyn­gen­fjord – 02. Novem­ber 2015

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Not much else to say about this day, other­wi­se. Rain, rain, rain.

Mann­da­len – 01st Novem­ber 2015

Ins­tead of sai­ling sou­thwest, towards Lofo­ten, we hea­ded nor­the­ast, try­ing to escape from the wea­ther. Who needs for­ce 9 winds? So off into the fjords, behind the moun­tains, away from the coast. Deep in Kåfjord, the­re is Mann­da­len in the area that was tra­di­tio­nal­ly inha­bi­ted by the Sea Sami peop­le. As we learnt in the cul­tu­re and han­di­c­raft cent­re, the­re is not much left from the tra­di­tio­nal Sami cul­tu­re due to for­ced Nor­we­gia­ni­sa­ti­on in the ear­lier 20th cen­tu­ry. Few peop­le speak the Sami lan­guage still today, but even young peop­le are inte­res­ted in lear­ning the lan­guage of their grand­par­ents in cour­ses that are offe­red by the cent­re. Han­di­c­rafts are also enjoy­ing incre­a­sing popu­la­ri­ty.

A litt­le trail leads along pla­ces of Sami oppo­si­ti­on against sup­pres­si­on from out­side. Incredi­ble what the peop­le here had to endu­re. Not just that they could not speak their own lan­guage in public. Tho­se who could not pay their debts were depri­ved from their last belon­gings which were to be auc­tion­ed away then. No sur­pri­se that at some sta­ge the locals gave the Nor­we­gi­an lens­mann a good bea­ting with fence poles and cha­sed him away. At the end of the war, the Ger­man army burnt the place down as the last one in north Nor­way – as men­tio­ned befo­re, the­se peop­le had to endu­re all hardships of a mino­ri­ty in the 20th cen­tu­ry.

The­re is still a small hut. Its owner was sup­po­sed to pay dues on the buil­ding mate­ri­als after rebuil­ding it after the war, as was com­mon. He refu­sed this with a let­ter which can be sum­ma­ri­zed brief­ly, but cor­rect­ly, with the words „go to hell“. He was left in peace after that.

We were also not saved from some hardships when tho­se who were still with us on the 8 km trail in rain and darkness found that the last part of the small road had given way to a steep, slip­pe­ry, mud­dy slo­pe at a road con­struc­tion site. But the moti­va­ti­on to find a way after more than 6 km is con­si­derable, in con­trast to the wil­ling­ness to turn around and go the same way back.

Gal­le­ry – Mann­da­len – 01st Novem­ber 2015

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

The­re was not much to see for the rest of the day, just rain and darkness. No chan­ce for the nort­hern lights that ever­y­bo­dy came for, which is espe­cial­ly tough as the sun acti­vi­ty is cur­r­ent­ly said to be con­si­derable. Without coulds, we would pro­bab­ly see nort­hern lights all over the sky!

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