Bekkjarvik 3 March
We walked the Kings Way, finding our way across bog and rocks, some ice and snow patches to stand on the Bronze age cairns. And then on, the path fading and picked out by sheep tracks and the odd post that gave us confidence to keep going despite sodden feet. We came down to a small croft, populated by the Norwegian grey and white coloured sheep, not unlike my Shetlands. Some of these are quite leggy and a large Suffolk ram gave testament to the flock’s new found height. A few miles away from the popular boating destination and the houses tell a different story of island life.
The cold blue skies have gone, replaced by some rain showers and heavier blankets of cloud. The windmill turning hill across the east-west channel gradually disappearing and nothing can be seen on the glaciers on the mountains behind. Intricate channels weave between tiny islands. We chose our way carefully, avoiding the low slung cables. Mostly, power cables run under the sea but occasionally a thin black line is loopily tensioned across a channel. Norway is a country of engineering. The bridges are magnificent, the ship building and yards are tucked away in unlikely nooks and crannies. Turning around a corner in a 6m lead in a maze of idyll to pop up next to deep sea research vessels, rafted 3 deep. Seafarers, but we know that. These are the vikings.
Even vikings need diesel and water. We called into Skudeneshavn and tied alongside the fish processing jetty. Stan led a team of guys pouring concrete into a wide new quay. The pumps sat back on the old shore with hoses that didn’t reach past the new width. I went along to ask a team of women wrapping stacks of shellfish in boxes, what the deal with filling up was. Work came back that the pumps were working… just nobody had realised the nozzles wouldn’t reach anymore. Stan was as bemused as us and went to work on his telephone to track down a sensible place for us to get fuel further north. In winter, many of the services are closed down. All water is turned off to save on frozen pipe breakages. Electricity too. Stavanger opened up a water line specially for us, though we had to move to another marina the port authority runs.
Bekkjarvig does have a regular set of winter visitors and resident fishing fanatics. The fueling station for the island has a roadside and a quayside pump. Amazingly running water too. We are all filled up and tied alongside the guest harbour pontoon with a gale in the offing.
Everyone is taking some time to look into what is coming after Norway. I spent some time on the computer this morning, looking at dates and working on the website and I am very happy to announce that I have opened up three new dates for Hebrides Explorer voyages during this summer. Go to the selkie website Hebrides Explorer – Selkie Explorers (selkie-explorers.com) for more information.