Norwegian Brigadoon

Norwegian Brigadoon

True to plan, Boogie, Marlies and I were up at 5am raising the anchor and heading north. Boogie and I stayed on watch as we made our way to Sagfjord, the next fjord north of the Eidet area we enjoyed last week. The weather was raw — cold and wet — but it never really rained, and with little to no wind. The grumpy weather seemed stuck on the mountains of the mainland coast — offshore, over toward Lofoten, blue sky and puffy cumulus clouds could be seen. But we were bound for the overcast…and it turned out to be a good call.

At the head of Sagfjord, we anchored off a little village whose name I have no way of discerning from the charts we have. And in fitting fashion, in finding this town-off-the-map, we may have found the Norwegian Brigadoon.

Norwegian Brigadoon, found at the head of Sagfjord

The village consists of a couple of dozen houses (some of which are quite nice), a dock and a two-track dirt road linking them all. Cultivated fields cut from low hills of northern forest mark the village’s home in the larger wilderness, and smooth, rounded granite walls with occasional sharp, jagged peaks ring the perimeter.

According to one local, the families here all live in Lofoten during the winter, where they work the cod fishery and make a decent living. In the summer, they settle in out here, away from civilization and in the peace and quiet of their own high-latitude escape pod. There are a handful of cars — old Subaru Brats and other relics with no registration or plates or any official license — brought here by boat since there’s no road out. And residents use a high-speed boat to get to Bodø when they need medical attention or for whatever other reason they might need to hit town.

The falls at Trollvika in Sagfjord

About three kilometers toward the sea from the village, the cove of Trollvika features a waterfall that courses in four steps from the mountains above (fed, according to the charts, by a glacier up high). Rather than plummet over a precipice, the water spreads out over the granite in thin, white fans, looking a lot more like a bridal veil than any of the waterfalls called “bridal veil falls” that I’ve ever seen (c’mon, admit it: you’ve seen at least one waterfall somewhere called by that name).

On top of all that, the youngest and most aloof of the Polish kids, the only one who didn’t catch a fish at Mannbåen, hooked and landed the first halibut — the grail for anglers in these parts — of either Norway trip. Running 18 to 20 pounds, the fish was the topper of a great day for all: kayakers had nice water and all proved capable under Mike’s tutelage, hikers wandered the village…and now the anglers are happy too. The parents in the group are also psyched that this kid in particular managed to nab the great catch.

The plan now is to have supper on the hook here, and then we’ll head out of Sagfjord and head west, across Vestfjord and back to Nusfjord. We’ll make the trip overnight in about ten hours or so, during which time (I hope) our guests will remain below and out of the way. They definitely dip into the sauce early and often, I suspect, and with the thought that we crewmembers don’t notice.

I’m no teetotaler. We all know that I have an affection for quality spirits. But when at sea, alcohol is verboten. It just is. Too much can go wrong, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing and aren’t totally comfortable on a boat. And those operating a boat can’t have their focus diverted by knuckleheads bouncing off the walls after a few shots of vodka or a couple of bottles of wine. So I really hope this group settles in for the evening trip (and that they remember to set their leecloths: it looks like we might have some wind funneling in from the outer waters which would permit a bit of sailing for a change…fingers are crossed).

Our current guests also have an obstinate streak that makes for challenging situations on board. Despite repeated reminders that here, cut off from societal constructs, water and electricity are commodities to be conserved as much as possible, they continue to do things like leave lights on and let the sink run when washing dishes. The generator is on despite the hours of motoring this morning that filled our batteries. And we’re already running low on the first of our four enormous water tanks — and we’re not even 24 hours out of Bodø. So as I mentioned earlier: this could wind up being a long week.

In any case, I should be able to publish these posts sometime tomorrow from Nusfjord. And a beer — since we’ll be tied to a dock and not at sea or on the anchor — will be nice. Cross your fingers for me/us…

PS: Apologies if the photos are a bit shaky. It was pretty dark under the overcast as we motored past the falls, and here in Nusfjord is too sunny (good problem to have) for me to see the screen well enough to judge photo quality properly. I’ll fix all this when I’m indoors again in Bodø.

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