Holy Mackerel!

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 02, 2011

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Flag of Norway  , North Norway,
Thursday, August 5, 2010

We have stopped in a cafe in Svolvaer with electricity and internet so there time for a little blogging while the laptop charges and in between emails. We left our little camp in Tind a few days back now. It felt like it was never going to stop drizzling and raining so we decided to try our luck somewhere else. Also we had been there almost a week and wanted to see a bit more of Lofoten and surrounds. We visited the bakery one more time for some more cinnamon  scrolls and then on Tuesday in patches of sunshine mixed with strange episodes of thick mists which surrounded us, we packed up and left. We went into the Moskenes tourist information centre to ask if they knew anywhere where we could see some whale bones and the only place the man there knew of was across the other side of the island on a beach only accessible by ferry and a long walk. The ferry would cost us as much as the ferry from Bodo and the information man couldn’t even be sure if there would be some bones there so we decided to give it a miss. In a few hours we made it to Leknes, which is quite a big town, here we did some shopping and spent some time in the public library checking emails. We also went into another tourist information and asked again about whale bones, the girl their suggested a few places we could look but said they are generally cleaned up pretty quickly.

 So when we were finished in the library we took the road that would lead us along the beaches that sometimes have whale bones but unfortunately found nothing. We did find a beautiful camping spot though. Hidden from the road by some birch trees we set up our tent on the edge of the rocks leading down to the water. Above us on the almost vertical mountain sides, some sheep are always grazing, some others often came wandering right down the middle of the main highway through Lofoten to check us out before carrying on their way. In the bushes around us we found some berries which we think are blueberries. They looked like blueberries, smelt right and after tasting a few and not getting sick, the next day we decided they must have been so we foraged around for many more.

 We decided to throw the a tarp over the tent in case of rain and I’m very glad we did, in the early hour of the morning we got a splattering of rain. The thick mist and heavy clouds soon cleared though and the rest of the day was warm and wonderfully sunny. After a late breakfast we left our camp set up and took a short trip into Henningsvaer, a beautiful little fishing town. Because it is situated on a cluster of little islands they call it the Venice of Norway. Even though it is totally overrun by tourists, it is still a very beautiful place, cute little houses and shops crowded together with harbours creeping up everywhere between the winding streets. We didn’t stay long though, we had just come to get some more lures for fishing. 

 I think this area of Lofoten is probably my favourite, it doesn't seem to be as wet, boggy and misty as Tind and here there are stunning white coral sand beaches. All around here there are little bays with white, white  beaches and crystal clear blue water. Below such steep, rugged mountains and between the normal rocky shores these little fractures of (very cold) paradise are sort of strange but very beautiful.

 Here we also had very good luck fishing - in the end - after many hours with not even a bite, when we finally did catch some fish it was well worth the wait. We pulled in two beautiful Mackerel. The first was just big enough but we had hooked it in the internal organs and it probably would not have survived so we kept it. The second was definitely big enough, so strong and sleek, its colour like a drop of oil spreading over water. I have never seen such a beautiful fish before, the last few days I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how beautiful it was. 

 Catching and eating fish has been a very important experience for me. At home I am vegetarian because I don’t believe I have the right to eat another living creature without understanding the sacrifice that has been made for me to eat (and because commercial meat farming is so environmentally unethical). I feel that without being capable of taking a life myself I don’t deserve to eat meat. I have not been able to kill the fish myself so far. Realising I can’t kill a fish, even though I have become very capable and comfortable with gutting and cleaning it has really clearly sorted my feeling on my vegetarianism. Before we left Australia, after six years of strict vegetarianism, I started to eat a little kangaroo and now in Europe I have been eating meat because I feel it is a bit rude to reject a meal someone has offered from the kindness of their heart. (I enjoy the taste but feel so terrible and guilty.) But now after my fishing experience, something I feel very strongly about has become so much stronger and clearer, I know with such certainty now I will be a strict vegetarian back home.

 We smoked the fish again for dinner and afterwards had a fire on the rocks. Before bed we made everything rain proof, clouds were gathering and flowing down the sides of the mountains like thick white blankets drawn across the landscape by invisible threads. Lucky we did because again it rained in the early hours of this morning. It stopped around midday and with the wind, an hour or so later  the tent was completely dry. Observing the the sky over quite a few hours, strangely the thick clouds and mist didn’t move from above us towards the other side of the fjord, Henningsvaer was always in full sun. So we decide to pack up and move on. After only twenty minutes or so of riding we went into a tunnel and when we came out the other side it was like magic. The mist was gone and the sun was shinning. The weather here is so localised. 

 And so now we are in the biggest town of Lofoten, Svolvaer. We have treated our hungry tummies to the cheapest items on the menu while we sit and use the free wireless internet. So, soon we will hop back on the bike and head roughly in the direction of Tromso, maybe not quite so far. The reason we wanted to go there was because we thought we had to to see the midnight sun but we have made it well into midnight sun viewing territory already - only we have arrived too late to see it and couldn’t travel fast enough to still catch it further north, so Tromso now seems like just another city to try and make us spend  more money (We have heard it is very beautiful, but our way of travelling is centred on nature, not cities). So maybe we will cut across to Finnland through Sweden sooner then we thought. 
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