Senja Island and Vanstralen Islands

Today we tour Senja Island. We awoke to sunshine which soon turned to cloud and rain. The weather here is more changeable than Victoria, rain one minute, clear blue skies the next here it is 24 hours a day. If it is raining through the day it can be clear blue skies and be sunny at night!

On the road again, we drove through the Berge Kummune, where the mountain pass was very narrow and windy. Here the wild Arctic Flora is a picture to see with such a variety of different flowers and colours, Trish likes the beauty of the flowers as they are spread over hills and valleys.
The Island of Senja has its own unique beauty, with aqua clear waters in the fjords, shallow with small rocky skerries in some, deep water in others, arctic flora along the roadsides and the trees and grass look and hue of lime. The mountains were sharp peaked and dropped right into the ocean and fjords.
Turned onto the R862 and drove through more tunnels, some quite long 1-3k and others only short 200 – 500mts. The tunnels are well lit, some one lane and others two way lanes, some rough with rocky interior walls which look the same as when they were blasted. The mountain passes were very steep in places. We reached the end of the road at Gryllefjord where Steven caught his first Atlantic cod. From Gryllefjord there is a summer ferry to our next destination Andenes on the island of Andoya.
 It is here we made an interesting decision. Rather than take the 30k ferry crossing in the morning we decided to spend the night at the top of the Ballesvikaret mountain pass above the fjord and drive the 300+k and two days around the ferry crossing to Andenes to see more of the country and just because we could.
Our Overnight Stop Ballesvikaret 1:30 am
Our camp at Ballesvikaret Pass

Leaving Gryllefjord the next morning we took the national tourist route road along the Devils Jaw on the far side of Senga between Gryllefjord and Botnhamn. this road meanders through breathtaking scenery, uphil and downhill, in and out of fjords, between mountains. The little villages consist primarily of fishermans huts, a few houses and a small harbor. In Bergsbotn we tested our fear of heights on the viewing platform.

The R861 took us through to the Northern side of Senja Island where we noticed the mountains where not as high and the fjords had calmer waters. Along the way we went out on the nerve test platform

We arrived back in Finnesnes and serviced the Hymermobile ready for the next part of the journey.

= Wet Paint

For the the trip around the ferry we took the R855 for a while and then turned back on the E6 south.  For a break we stopped at a road stop next to a lovely fast flowing river. Taking his cup of fresh brewed coffee, Steven sat on the brown picnic chairs which had a sign taped to the table. Not knowing what the sign actually said turned out to be a bit of a problem, for Steven soon found out the sign meant ‘Wet Paint’. The next half hour was spent by Steven cleaning paint from the backside of his jeans using what solvent products we had in the Hymermobile. Some WD40, Suncare washing up liquid and hard scrubbing proved a good combination to remove the offending brown paint. Then boiling water was filtered slowly through the material and the jeans came out like new!

In the evening looking for a place to park we turned down a road following signs to the ‘Polar Zoo’.  Trish cooked dinner and Steven caught up with emails and photos.

River Near Polar Zoo
Narrow bridge crossing near Polar Zoo

Midnight stroll to the fast flowing river, Trish heard the wolves in the zoo howling, well Trish hoped they were fenced in the zoo!

At midnight we packed up and moved on. Drove over a narrow old metal bridge, which was a bit of a squeeze for the Hymermobile and up the narrow road back to the E6 and South.

Stream side Camp
Stream side camp

The midnight sun orange glow behind snow peaked mountains was a majestic sight. Felt like it was dawn breaking and we had been up all night. About 1:30am near the town of Bjerkvik we found cleared area next to a narrow river flowing over flat rocks with a riverbank covered in wildflowers. 

9th July 2011 our journey around the ferry crossing to Andoya  and Andenes continues – click read more below……………….

We awoke to a clear sunny morning, Trish spent time catching up with the laundry and cleaning inside the motor home. Steven did mechanical work on the Hymermobile, fixing the foglights (which did not work at all) so they could be used instead of headlights through the day.

We left our stream side stay at 1pm and stopped to refuel the motor home in Bjekvik. Was a nice surprise to find the diesel price lower in Bjekvik less than 13NOK per litre cheaper than the 14NOK+ we have been paying up till now.

We spent some time at the ‘The Narvick 1940 Monument’ information bay to read about the history of the battle fought in this area in the Fjord and surrounding area during the Second World War.

On return to the motor home we found the fresh water tank was leaking again after refilling. Steven located the problem and repaired the seals at the tank breather and drain pipes. Today is turning into a fix it day! Seeing it was a warm sunny day Trish made good use of the water drained from the tank to wash the towels.

Fjord Beach Andoya Norway

With another successful repair made, we were back on the road. Being a weekend, the warm sunny weather saw many keen people out walking, cycling, skating on roller blades and using ski sticks and fishing.

Lots of tunnels
Roads can be narrow
Andoya Island Eastern side

As we continued our around the ferry drive, the distant horizon had a familiar ‘tropical build up’ look which was very much out of place around  the snow-capped mountains!! The day here was becoming very warm 27 deg (this is the arctic remember) The weather that was forming, to us looked like build-up clouds and looming thunderstorms that we had lived with for years in Darwin. The rain came in heavy showers in the late afternoon however there were no thunderstorms.

One of the many bridges

Heading North West we drove over the bridge that takes you onto Hinnoya Island, one of the Vesteralen Islands and onto the E10. The mountains on this stretch of road have steep cliffs which drop straight into the fjord. 

We arrived in Andenes near the ferry terminal around midnight just 30k across the fjord from where we set off. We both agreed that the 300 odd kilometres of stunning scenery and 3 days were worth it!! 

We continued around the coast a little as there are a lot areas to park just off the road to stop with great views. We found a great spot to park for the night not far from Andenes and the rocket range   between steep cliffs shrouded in mist, a magnificent ocean view an assortment of Arctic flowers just outside our door.

Wild flowers from around the parking area

Our Home for 2 nights near Andenes
Our Home in Andenes 1:15am

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