Cruising in Norway: Mainland to Tysfjord (Gullvika to Korsnes to Ornnes)

Gullvika to Korsnes

Friday, July 3

So much for better weather. Friday’s midnight sun didn’t appear, only a gray lump in the sky, a fog bank that moved when we did, and a bit of wind right on the nose. We prepared to hoist anchor and head across to the mainland realizing it would be a day of motoring and watching the AIS for traffic as we traversed the 35 miles to Korsnes.

Of course there’s always something to add that pinch of excitement to one’s day and ours happened to be the motor failing as we were about three miles from our previous night’s anchorage.

The alternator belt had started slipping again resulting in a smell of something not right with the engine. So, our engine wizard (and thank god he knows this stuff) prepared to perform an emergency fix. As he was finishing up we noticed a Coast Guard cruiser on the AIS.

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This led to our worrying about their  thinking we HAD spotted them and were stashing our contraband wine stash. (You’re only allowed a few bottles of alcoholic beverages and Norway is very strict about the amount. No surprise considering the amount of profit they must make off of their liquor tax.) Our friends Rick and Julie of s/v BELIEVE were boarded in the Lofotens in 2013. They had told us the Coast Guard were pretty thorough, opening up lockers, looking under bunks, in short, not doing just a cursory look-see.

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Fortunately, in spite of them slowing waaaaay down and our keeping a sharp look-out for any lowering of their speed boat to head our way, they continued slowly navigating around us heading west as we quickly headed east.

Just before reaching the fjord, we slowed down to circle a prime fishing spot Max had picked out based on advice from other cruisers (it’s either where the seabed slopes steeply upward/downward or over an underwater pinnacle). The trick is to get the lures lowered rapidly enough that you bypass the little guys to reach the big ones below.

Excellent advice as Chris caught one fish, two fish…

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three fish…

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four! No, make that five! One being a whopper of a cod.

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We immediately began tossing out ideas for how to fix our fish fiesta as we headed towards Korsnes.

Pulling into the small fishing harbor, we quickly anchored. Max went below to check on the engine and other maintenance needs while I held an umbrella over Chris as he fillteted all of them. I get squeamish around blood and guts but find it’s much less so when there’s no hair on the outside. Scales and unhuman-like facade makes it much easier to watch; and, watch I did for I have a feeling I’ll be doing this after our expert fisherman leaves us.

Great dinner again… fish in three different recipes: tried and true lemon pepper; a bit of a fish fry-saute; and, the best, thanks to our friends Gwen Mac and Hugh Meredith, the remnants of the Ferides cajun peanuts’ coatings.

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Independence Day, Saturday, July 4

The midnight sun actually became sunny and we awoke to a gorgeous 4th of July. Having read s/v WINGS and s/v ALCHEMY’s trips to 9,000-year-old rock drawings we dinghied to shore and began our one kilometer walk. No matter how many homes there are scattered around the harbor, these small towns feel eerily empty… almost, but not quite, as if we’re in a Stephen King novel. At the fork in the road we did see one guy working on a home renovation and asked the way to Leiknes. He pointed us in the correct direction and we continued our stroll down the main road out of town.

Although we saw hardly anyone (except in one car, which passed us), we noted some interesting signage, such as a clever mailbox, which made me think of the Wizard of Oz

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and, a classic of a gardening one, a sign I knew my mom wouldn’t have been too happy if I planted that in her garden.

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Further down the road we came to a road sign indicating where we turn onto a path. A small billboard display stood close to the path’s entrance so we knew we had reached our destination.

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It also stated the best time for viewing these animal outlines occurred when the sun was setting. Oh well, that could mean coming back in a month of so, which wasn’t going to happen; so, up a gradual, rocky hillside we climbed we reaching another sign

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and a box with a guest book, which Chris signed and we all perused discovering it went back to 2013.

The size of the artwork was amazing, as was the graceful lines depicting the environs’ animals:  swans, orca, reindeer, and moose.

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We tired to find all of them based on another sign with a photograph of the site

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as we crossed on either side squinting to capture the best angle of light against rock.

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Impressive it was, and we left thinking once again how fortunate the three of us were in seeing this display created by one or more prehistoric artists in the quiet of a Norwegian hillside.

Several cars passed us as we walked back to town, but that seemed to be the only life we saw until we espied several little girls playing on the harbor’s sandy beach patch.

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Looking more closely as we rounded the corner we saw a lone adult, presumably the dad. Sure enough after I said hello and started speaking with him (Tobias or ‘Toby’) we discovered it was the father of one of the two kids. Toby invited us for coffee and to view the little museum staged at his folks’ home just up from the beach.

He told us it was the first time in 25 years he’d been back, having summered here when he was a child at his grandparent’s house. He now lived with is wife and two daughters in Oslo after having worked in Silicon Valley, London, and Glasgow for IT concerns. His job meant extremely long hours away from his family, so he altered his career choices, cashed out of one business, and took a different IT job in Oslo allowing him a slower lifestyle. Smart guy, and our conversation with him (his wife had left to get ice cream for the littlest one) left us hungry for more.

Before we left we asked if we could take a photo of him and his daughter who at that point had returned from the beach. Unfortunately, the sun caused them to squint but one can easily see the family resemblance even from that!

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Also, his tee-shirt was wonderful, and I wish I had gotten it into the photo better:  You can’t frighten me. I have daughters.   I’m sure at times our mom and dad felt the same way.

But, we were anxious to reach our day’s destination (of course, ‘day’ here is used loosely for it’s 24-hours of ‘day’) at Kjopsvik. This town would only be a place to take a ferry to Hellmobotn at the bottom of the fjord. From there we were hoping to hike 8.5 kilometers to the Swedish border and back. Reading several accounts from fellow cruisers we’d heard it was a spectacular hike and, more importantly to moi, not too challenging. I would have preferred to have the ‘too’ absent from the description but I figured it would be worth the minor difficulty to achieve the view at the top and to have walked to Sweden and back.

Heading back we noticed some intense green growth on the rocky cove. It reminded us of what Friends of Casco Bay are fighting in Maine–too much nitrate causing a choking growth in Maine’s waters, so we snapped a photo hoping we were in error.

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With a gorgeous day still ahead of us, we hopped aboard, pulled up anchor and began our next leg to Kjopsvik.

but, to Ornnes instead

We started our sail down the fjord to Kjopsvik. About three miles out I was below and thought I heard someone hailing a ‘sailing vessel’ on our VHF radio. Unsure if I had heard correctly I asked Max and Chris if they saw any large boat. No large ones but there were some on either side of the shore up ahead. I tried calling back, but no one answered; so, we continued. About five minutes later we saw a power boat speeding right for us.

The boat maneuvered a bit too closely to our port-side solar panel, which was sticking out to capture the direct sun rays. Max and I were able to fend it off as the driver tried to tell us something. Finally we understood:  we couldn’t go to Kjopsvik the way we were heading–from the north; we had to divert and approach it from the south side. Apparently they were laying cables across the fjord or something along those lines. That would have have been fine except there was a large island we’d have to circumnavigate adding an extra 12 miles to our sail.

It was a beautiful day and there were alternative anchorages other cruisers had raved about, such as Ornnes, so we said let’s go there. And, it was one of our best decisions and not only because it would have been a misuse of the perfect wind to sail down a fjord, enjoying the sun, the breeze, alfresco lunch, and, the first time I’ve done this in 2015, one of my favorite pastimes, sitting on deck reading under sail.

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The only event that gave us pause was seeing huge power lines dotted with orange stretching from one side of the fjord to the other.  If you look closely you can see some of the orange balls below. And, of course there were no heights mentioned on the chart.

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We all watched closely as we approached and then glided under. Depth perception goes out the window when you see the fragile wind instruments at the top of your mast approaching a wire that seems a bit too close for comfort.

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But, we had plenty of room to spare in spite of the appearance, and we were able to sail all the way down to Ornnes, a place where the Sami (Lapps) use to summer with their reindeer.

We anchored where Dick and Ginger on s/v ALCHEMY had the year before, one of the landmarks being a waterfall they could hear as they settled in for the night.

It was so amazing to be in such a beautiful anchorage and be the only boat. There were some small boats moored across the way, which must have belonged to the summer cabins dotting the cove at the opposite end, but, again, nothing stirred but a slight ripping on the water.

Not only was there one waterfall but many with one in the distance pouring off the side from the melting snow.

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We had found the perfect spot for celebrating not only the fourth of July

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but of father and son’s last few days together in Norway,

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which caused a double toast using umbrellas Judy had given me 15 years ago for just such occasions.

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At midnight we took photos of the ‘night’ then retired to our bunks all extremely aware of how lucky we are to be together in one of Mother Nature’s majestic creations.

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12 thoughts on “Cruising in Norway: Mainland to Tysfjord (Gullvika to Korsnes to Ornnes)

  1. Kathryn

    Lynnie, I love getting these and this one is my favorite. Thanks for keeping us posted, The weekend of the fourth was a spectacular one here in Maine too. Miss you. Kathryn

  2. Andrea

    I still can’t believe how easy it is to catch fish!! Amazing!! Also…..thinking of the views and vistas that most landlubbers never get to see. I don’t think I could ever live inland!! Love the view and smell of the ocean!!!

    1. margaretlynnie

      well… I think we need to change our hopes to how easy it was when chris was with us to catch fish! although, neither Max nor I is a great fisher-person (or gutter of them either!). And, love your new bathroom by the way! xox

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