Svartisen Glacier

A light, northwesterly breeze gave us a pleasant downwind sail across the Vestfjorden to return to mainland Norway from the Lofoten islands.  We landed at a beautiful anchorage on the island of Rodoy where of course, we explored our new view from the summit of Rodoylova (Rodoy Lion).  From a distance, Rodoylova looks like a proud, male lion watching over the sea (or from Brian’s perspective, like Magneto’s helmet from X-Men).IMG_9778

Rødøyløva

Rødøyløva

Rodoy was our starting location to enter the fjords and get a closer look at the Svartisen Glacier.  Svartisen is Norway’s second largest glacier.  We motored into the Melfjorden, were greeted by frolicking porpoises, and soon merged into the branching Nordfjorden.  The water, although a bit clouded, was a brilliant, turquoise; the color one might select for dying an Easter egg.  Small fish were jumping at the surface; Brian veered from our course to try to catch the schools for a closer look but we were unable to identify the fish.  Mid-way into the Nordfjorden, we ventured into an “amphitheater anchorage” (as described by Judy Lomax’s pilot guide) and spotted two seals sunning themselves on the rocks.  The Nordfjorden narrowed as we continued and felt as though we had entered an untouched wilderness.  This fjord had no hamlets along the shoreline, and no guest pontoon waiting for us at the head.  The arms of the Svartisen glacier extended over the tops of the mountains, ever so slightly over the ridge for us to have a look at the craggy, blue ice.   IMG_1300

There was no guest pontoon at the head of the Nordfjorden; we’d managed to anchor in 11-meters of water just at the edge of the shoreline, near a river outlet, then tied a line to a rock ashore to prevent Detour from swinging.  Seagulls swooped at the mouth of the gushing river; small, silver fish jumped clearly out of the water!  IMG_1324

A barely legible map at the head of the fjord, with a stone circle campfire and spare wood at its base, informed us that there were no accessible trails at this glacier access.  We would not have felt comfortable leaving Detour for long in her current orientation; and so we exited the Nordfjorden, Melfjorden, and turned north (north yet again!)  As it turned out, our guidebook was not spot-on for this area as for glacier access; it was, however, stunning and we could have anchored for the night at the “amphitheater anchorage” for which the description was very accurate and the depth was consistent at 10-meters.  We wanted to be closer to the action!  We’d also planned to meet friends at the Svartisen and they were expecting a guest pontoon.  En-route, we sent an email to our friends about our diversion and continued late into the evening to anchor at the next starting location for entrance into the Holandsfjorden the next day.IMG_1336At the head of the Holandsfjorden, there is a spectacular, spacious guest pontoon.  Here we met our Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) friends aboard S/Y Beejolly.  After a bit of catching up to learn how each boat’s travels southward had been, Brian and I headed toward the Svartisen to get up close and personal with the glacier.  IMG_1369IMG_1478

IMG_1395The power of a glacier is so tremendous that the rock below the glacier’s arm, visible now where the glacier has receded, was smooth.  Farther up in the mountain, along the trail, a pile of rocks deposited by the glacier called a morraine was easy to identify.

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Detour was the last boat to leave the dock that evening, with tired and happy crew!IMG_1487

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