Monday brought a last minute invitation to help a friend of one of our staff to get his boat in the water. So off we went to Grunnfarnes which is about as far as you can go on the other side of Senja. To get there you travel over a high mountain pass where even now it’s still possible to ski. The scenery is very dramatic and stark, made a little foreboding by fog and low cloud (apparently untypical). The descent involves a road which zig-zags many times down to Sifjord, followed by a tunnel through the mountain to get to Grunnfarnes. It must be quite hazardous in winter, especially as there are apparently large lorries on the road, transporting fish from the various small fishing communities.
Once at Grunnfarnes, the skipper fitted an outboard motor, we lifted the boat just into the water, then went and sat for an hour, drinking coffee and eating cake, waiting for the tide to come in a bit and float the boat clear of the stones. As well as refreshments I was treated to some local history. The island of Holmenvær (see the pictures below) was the largest fishing colony in Troms in the 1800’s and one of the largest in Norway with up to 1200 fishermen living there. Now it is deserted. In the pictures you will also see a large wooden frame, used to dry fish heads, ready for export to Nigeria.
Coffee and history over, we returned to the boat, to find the tide had gone out, not in, so the boat was dragged back into the water, rowed out a bit, and the outboard motor started in a cloud of smoke. Then it was driven (?) round to the harbour, moored and we returned home. Apparently they sometimes take it an hour out to sea: it seems awfully small to me.
Once home, I was invited for a quick trip up the hill above Finnsnes. “It’s an hour up and half an hour down”. Hmm, I think I’ve heard that before somewhere, but it turned out to be true. On the way up, I was also treated to some botany, introduced to people we met and then signed my name in the book in the hut at the top. Only another 19 visit before September, and I will get a ‘something’, but no one seemed to know quite what.
There is a 360 degree panorama of Grunnfarnes which I made here.