Day 2 - June 5, 2013 - Geiranger Fjord, Norway
By Kara Weller, Biologist
Co-ordinates: 62º68.8’ N, 006º58.9’ E
Air Temperature: 14ºC
Pressure: 1020 hPa
Wind: 2 knots
The majestic fjords of Norway awaited us this morning and the Silver Explorer slowly entered the Geiranger Fjord around 0700. This fjord is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After somewhat of a rough night, the green hills and the calm waters around us were a welcoming site. Many chose to spend the morning on deck admiring the beautiful scenery.
As the fjord became more and more narrow and the hills rose steeply next to us, we could see some of the old small farms high on the lonely hillsides. One could only try to imagine the life these farmers had clinging to the steep sides of the fjord, isolated and with a very steep climb either up to the top of the ridge or down to the water as their only way out. Most of these farms are now abandoned.
Just before reaching the end of the fjord, we passed the majestic Bridal Veil waterfall as well as the Seven Sisters and the Suitor falls. These last 2 falls face one another and legend says that the Suitor is trying to woo the sisters on the other side.
The end of the fjord was reached around noon and we could see the very small town of Geiranger at its end and a few other large cruise ships anchored offshore. Only about 250 people live in this tiny town, yet they are visited each summer by several hundred thousand people, most of who come via cruise ship to see this scenic spot. Traffic in the harbour was busy with boats, tenders and the ferry coming and going to various piers.
Two different tours were on offer in the afternoon, one taking people first by zodiac to shore and then into buses and up to the Eagle’s Bend for a magnificent view down onto the Fjord and town of Geiranger, then on to a Mountain farm where goat cheese is produced. The other tour was for those with energy to spare, as it was a kayaking trip down the fjord to see the waterfalls from a different angle. For many in the group this was a first experience in kayaks and we climbed awkwardly into life vests, spray skirts and then into the tandem kayaks to start paddling.
Kayaking can be a very peaceful experience but first we had to pass the massive cruise ship anchored near town, then pass our own small Silver Explorer and then along the shoreline down the fjord. It was wonderful to be on the water, steadily moving along the smooth green silent fjord. We could stop paddling from time to time to enjoy the stillness and sunshine, we could also keep paddling hard and at times it grew tiring as the distance to the Seven Sisters and back was considerable. Looking up at the cascading water was worth the effort though and the green steep mountainsides that rose as high as 1500m on either side of us made us in our puny kayaks feel quite small.
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