The storm is huge outside while we stay inside our cosy cabin. We definitely chose our rest day well.
We got a message from Mélanie and Jonathan. Defeated by the weather, it seems they chose to stop at Offersøy for the night as well. From the cabin we have a gorgeous view on the rough sea but the faraway mountains are hidden in the clouds. The weather calms a bit in the evening and we go all together for a walk just before sunset to look for the mooses. We are lucky and spot two of them but unfortunately none with antler. In the evening, we spot northern lights for the first time but they are weak and it’s very cloudy.
The next day, we leave already, cycle along the Seven Sisters mountains and pass by Sandnessjøen. We have lunch with a view on the impressive bridge of Helgeland. It is supposed to be a day without rain but we still get two showers while we eat… In the afternoon, we take the ferry to Nesna. We leave the town with heavy bikes as we have to stock food. Indeed, there won’t be any supermarkets for the next 100 km. We pitch the tent along the fjord a few kilometres later.
The following day is quite hard with a headwind and a steep hill on Sjonfjellet to start the day. We have to hold on to our bikes not to get knocked out by the wind. As usual, we are rewarded by great views at the pass and enjoy a long 6km downhill later. We usually don’t like long tunnels but today, with this wind, it is a pleasure to ride in two 3-kilometres long tunnels. In Norway, the routes are often long because they are going around mountains or fjords but it gives you plenty of time to admire it from all angles. Today, going around the Sjona fjord takes us half a day. The wind gets worse throughout the day and rain comes in the afternoon. We still target to reach Kilboghamn ferry quay to catch an early ferry tomorrow morning, and secretly hope to sleep in the waiting room if there’s one. We could also pitch the tent but it’s windy and rainy. We are really lucky to find one, and the guy managing the café of the waiting room immediately tells us that the room will be open all night and we can stay there if we want. We spend a great night on the heated floor, except for the lights that cannot be switched off. We already found out that a lot of lights in Norway don’t come with a switch. They are used to keep the lights on all the time. Quite disturbing for us! We see more northern lights between the clouds during the night.
In the morning, while we are waiting for the ferry, a passenger boat is coming instead. It seems the ferry is “kaput”, as they told us. We are lucky to be able to fit the bikes on the deck. It is then at high speed that we cross the Arctic Circle! Yhaaaa! The temperature has dropped in the last few days, and while still positive at sea level, the rain turns into snow at higher altitudes and we are now surrounded by freshly snow dusted mountain peaks. We arrive on the other side half an hour earlier than expected due to the boat change, and we take this opportunity to try to catch the 11am ferry 28 km further. Quite a challenge but this first polar ride is absolutely wild and gorgeous, and we still manage to arrive on time. This is a very welcome gain of time given the rain forecasted for the afternoon. From Halsa, we do a return trip to get an impressive view on the Engabreen arm of the Svartisen glacier at Braset rest area. At this latitude, the glacier almost goes down to sea level and has beautiful turquoise colours. We can’t go further on the road 17 because the 6-kilometres Svartitunellen is forbidden to bicycles, and we have to take the secondary road 452 and a ferry instead. Back at Halsa, we fill our water bag at the church and pitch the tent 5km further around 3pm. We could go further but we know it will rain and indeed, slightly later, it starts to rain for hours until the evening. We cook under the tarp and enjoy the cosiness of our tent. Despite the bad weather, we get nice northern lights again around 1am.
We wake up in a rush as the alarm didn’t go off. We are 23km away from the next ferry and there are only a few per day. We challenge ourselves to catch the 8:25am ferry, or else we would have to wait 6 hours for the next one. It is with relief that we finally manage to get a proper breakfast while waiting for the ferry. Thankfully, the ride was easy and stunning, we even saw two deers crossing the road in front of us. We pass by “the most beautiful toilet in the world” at Ureddplassen. Quite worth the photo shoot despite the rain. There, we receive hot tea from a German guy traveling in a campervan.
To shelter from the rain, we take a long lunch break in a Matkroken, a kind of supermarket with a small café. The people are very nice and let us bring our own food inside. We leave thinking we just avoided the rain, but we get wet just a few kilometres down the road, after a long tunnel. Later, while having a snack (under the rain of course), we meet a Norwegian coming from nowhere on his way to check his potatoes. Meetings with people who encourage us on days like this helps us keep motivated. The traffic gets really bad the closer we get to Bodø, probably also because it’s Friday afternoon and people ride to their cabins. The weather forecast for the weekend is actually really good for the first time in more than three weeks. Despite the traffic, the road is still very nice with amazing autumn colours. We find a really cute shelter where we can pitch the tent and cook, along a hiking trail in the woods. We see more northern lights but still quite weak.
In the morning, we enjoy our shelter and take the time to cook some compote for breakfast to warm us. While trying to keep the battery warm in the sleeping bag at night, Armand’s phone screen is completely broken and unusable which adds to an ever-growing list of broken stuff. We are now heading towards Bodø, where we will take the ferry to the Lofoten Islands. On our way, we stop at Salstraumen, well known for its maelstrom. The tidal currents are so strong that it creates water whirlwind. Because of the ferry timetable, we have to leave before the apogee but we are already impressed by the strong current and the small whirlwinds we see above the bridge. After some rain in the morning, this is our first sunny day in a long time! Perfect to spot the moose crossing the road in front of us, a few kilometres before Bodø. We arrive in Bodø just a bit before the 4:30pm ferry and are amazed to find out the ride is free. The crossing of the Vestfjorden is very calm and pleasant. We can admire the “Lofoten Wall” getting closer and a beautiful sunset. After three hours, we eventually arrive in Moskenes, which is our starting point to explore the Lofoten islands!
See more photos in the gallery.