Gonna post this one from the hip…
Sitting in the sun on the dock in Nusfjord. Something about Polar Bear and this place…we seem to have great weather when we’re here. The dock swarms every half-hour or so with busloads of German tourists: overweight, chain-smoking, letting their litter blow randomly around in the light breeze, and sporting sweaters and jackets despite the brilliant, warm sunshine. They wander the docks and restored buildings for 20 minutes or so and then they depart, leaving a blessedly tranquil, smoke-free vacuum in their absence.
We arrived around 8am after a 10-hour motor from Sagfjord. And despite the fact that I usually detest motoring, last night’s run was a delight. After we got underway — anchor raised, mainsail hoisted — Mike and I took the first watch: from 11pm to 1am. We made our way away from Brigadoon, past Trollvika and out into Nordfjord, westerly past a series of low-lying, rocky islets (called “skerries” in the Norse/Shetland parlance). The going was so mellow and with little to do that we let Boogie sleep in an extra hour: the kids among the guests are bunking near their area and made it difficult for Boogie and Marlies to get any rest. The majority of the Polish guests stayed on deck for the majority of our watch, but they were mostly up on the foredeck smoking or down below getting more coffee (though I have no doubt the mugs they were using contained a more potent potion); they were especially animated when we got far enough west that the peaks of Lofoten appeared on the horizon, backlit by the orange sky of the midnight sun.
And that’s what made last night’s watch so memorable: the light. We emerged from beneath the low clouds in Sagfjord to find a mid-level overcast layer stretching from northwest to southeast. It obscured the sun as it eased steadily toward the northeast. But as the clear conditions overtook more and more of the sky, the soft, warm-orange light of the sun shining in the north began to reach into more and more nooks and crannies. First the peaks south of Bodø picked up the sun, their high-altitude snowfields bathed in a sweet alpenglow. Then some of the midrange peaks began to glow. A bubbly cumulus cloud over the Lofoten would explode in a bright white as the sun hit it, only to taper off first into a fiery orange before settling into that same soft pink of alpenglow. It wasn’t the directly viewed midnight sun that many visitors crave. In fact, it was far better, with more varieties of color and hue than direct light could offer.
Additionally great was the chat Mike and I had as we motored along. We covered a lot of ground, especially about our various outdoor interests, and he painted a vivid portrait of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides — so much so that I may have added a new destination to the must-see list.
On top of that, the Poles stayed out of our way despite staying up quite late. The bigger payoff, however, came this morning, when a majority of the group slept right through our entrance into Nusfjord and even past the point where we tied up to the dock and settled in. The business of securing Polar Bear took place quickly and efficiently as a result, and now they’ve gone off on a hike, granting still more peace and quiet.
So today’s agenda for me will likely include a little yoga or stretching (these pipe bunks are doing a number on my back), a bit of work on the boat, and a hike or paddle later on. And then for dinner this evening, the dockside restaurant here in Nusfjord is going to prepare the halibut caught last night in a buffet-style meal for us all. We’ll hang out here for the night and figure out what to do later on, after Boogie and Marlies wake up from some long-sought sleep.