Day 3 |
Aug 21, 2012

Torghatten, Norway 

By Kara Weller, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 65° 524 ’ N – 12° 107’ E
Weather: mostly cloudy
Air temperature: 13° C
Wind: 20 knots
Humidity: 90%

A grey overcast sky greeted us this morning on our journey south along the beautiful Norwegian coast. The seas were a milky pale shade of grey and calm and the skies were still with hardly a bird flying past us.

The morning was spent cruising south, and our lecture program started at 10 am with a briefing from Robin about our plans for Torghatten in the afternoon as well as our plans for tomorrow. This was followed by our first recap – where the various expedition staff members spoke about things that had been encountered during the previous day and reviewed the various rocks, plants, birds and marine animals seen.

Later in the morning our photographer Richard Sidey gave a talk on photography basics and gave us many tips about how to take better pictures. In the process we admired many of his beautiful photographs.

Just before lunch we came into a small cove that was our afternoon’s destination: Torghatten mountain. Located on the island of Torget this mountain is known for its hole or tunnel going right through the middle of it. According to legend the hole was made by the troll Hestmannen while he was chasing the beautiful girl Lekamoya. When the troll realized he would not get the girl, he released an arrow to try and kill her. But the troll king threw his hat into the arrow’s path to save her. The hat turned into the mountain with a hole in the middle.

No sign of trolls, hats or arrows was seen this afternoon though. Thick fog descended and surrounded the top of the mountain, but nevertheless the staff went to shore in the Zodiacs and we scouted out the various trails and possible hikes. Juan and Hans-Peter got lost on a very steep and treacherous trail that led directly up and into the clouds. I found the moderate path that led to the huge hole in the rock and the decision was made to take everyone interested there.

A light drizzle was falling, so many guests chose to stay nicely warm and dry on board, but those who ventured out experienced a beautiful, though damp day. The trail led through trees and rocky slopes. Suddenly steep cliffs loomed ahead of us and were it not for the tunnel in the rock a certain dead-end would have been met. The fog and mist gave an interesting atmosphere to these cliffs and we could almost imagine giant trolls lumbering about in the mountains here. Through the gap in the mountain we could see only more fog and mist but the scene nevertheless was captivating and eerily beautiful.

Many chose to keep walking and continued right through the tunnel and down and around to make a loop that ended up back at the landing site The way down was quite step and treacherous although a few got distracted by the lovely blueberries growing in the bushes along the side of the trail and some nibbling and grazing was done along the way down.

Tired but satisfied for having had a bit of exercise and a beautiful view as well, we took the Zodiacs back to the ship. The clouds lifted just a bit to show us more glimpses of the surrounding mountains as we lifted anchor and headed off on our way south. For quite some time the scenery was fantastic as the ship zigged and zagged through narrow channels and past fish farms and mountains and beautiful scenery.

In the evening the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party took place in The Theatre where the Captain and all his senior officers were introduced. A marvelous welcome dinner afterwards fueled our stomachs and souls to prepare us for all that lay ahead.