Store Molle presented sandy shorelines, sprawling fields, woodland trails, and dirt roads for our wandering delight. On the south side of the island, we meandered into the town of Brettesnes. We stopped for a chat with a man painting his house who seemed relieved for a friendly break. We were equally curious about one another and gathered as best information as we could given a bit of broken English after we divulged how we’d happened upon Brettesnes (long version; sailboat, USA, yadda, yadda…) The man’s wife grew up at Brettesnes, now the couple lives elsewhere in Norway but maintains two summer homes on Store Molle (one being his wife’s childhood home, the other a summer rental). He pointed at two large tanks across the harbor and explained the tanks are filled with fish oil, obtained from by-catch fish. This fish oil business was the man’s employer and while working, month-long shifts, he lives on Store Molle. All of this was fascinating, but the man’s paint brush was not going to stay wet all afternoon and he unwillingly returned to painting.
A blustery afternoon forced us out of Gullvika when the mountains once again played tricks with the forecast wind direction. We thought we were in a cozy nook, seemingly sheltered from the south. “Just kidding,” said Gullvika. It didn’t produce a fallvind, but it did curve the wind just so that Detour was uncomfortable. On the north side of Store Molle we found a truly, landlocked cove without any tall mountains to shift the wind (the mountains viewed in the background are the Lofoten). The entire island of Store Molle protected us from the south once we tucked inside at Molegavpollen. Ahhhh…flat calm! From Molegavpollen, we took the road ’round the eastern side of Store Molle and meandered into the town of Ulvag. All was quiet at Ulvag except for a colony of squawking mamma seagulls protecting their chicks. The seagulls held our attention for several minutes while we attempted to creep nearer the chicks without being dive-bombed. We’d never actually observed seagulls squawking for any reason beyond arguing over food at crowded, touristy boardwalks. Here we were experiencing wild seagulls’ survival skills, and there were no hot dogs or french fries to be found. The chicks were all various ages, we concluded from their various sizes, and a few nests just near the roadside still had eggs! We’ve since learned that seagulls can pack a whollop when protecting chicks, rather than snagging a box of popcorn, is the objective. We’ve observed them fending their chicks from sea eagles by flying above the sea eagle and then pouncing, mid-air, onto the eagle’s back.
Getting back to Ulvag, the town we were exploring before the seagulls captivated us at the edge of a mud flat. Ulvag is charming, a fishing town snug inside a mini-fjord. Here we met a native Store Molle islander (he now also resides elsewhere in Norway and summers at Ulvag), who spotted us conspicuous walkers and had seen Detour anchored with her USA flag flying and put two and two together. He said hello, and shortly thereafter we were getting acquainted with him and his wife at their pristine summer house overlooking a fabulous ocean view. Thanks so much for your hospitality, which made our visit to Ulvag a day to be fondly remembered!