Last night, we left the blinds open whilst we watched the TV. It never went dark and so we just kept on watching TV with no concept of time. Around 2am we finally realised the time and the fact we were tired. Just four hours after we snoozed off and the dogs woke for their morning tinkle. I clambered out of bed, took them outside and then chucked them on our bed, so we could get some more shut eye. Mac n Tosh were only too happy to snuggle under the duvet and we were only too pleased for a furry foot warmer.
We finally surfaced around 10 am. A stretch and a scratch before stepping outside to smell the morning sea air. Not much had a changed since last night, it was still overcast with little splashes of rain. A walk across the car park and it seems we are not alone, the majority of campers are just starting to rise. The sound of morning shuffles, the swish of the loo flush, the opening of cab blinds and scary hair do’s.
The windy road to Kabelvag was full of twists and turns with hidden bays protected by steep, vertical mountains. This place would give many a paradise a run for their money. Just a shame it is so cold and so remote but then again, I suppose that adds to its charm and attraction.
We arrived at the port of Kabelvag closely followed by half a dozen of motorhomes we recognised from last night. Nods, winks and little raise of hands as one by one they park up on the village car park. A spot of lunch whilst the rain clouds ditch a bit of their excess water and then we tootle over to the village for a look at the wooden buildings that encircles the shore of this narrow inlet. For hundreds of years this area has been fished by the locals and some of the fishermen’s cottages date back to 1120. It was also a popular spot with the Vikings, so lots of little museums here and there.
On the drive to Svolvaer we passed the Vagan Church, which we had hoped to visit. The church dates from 1898 and is the second-largest wooden church in Norway, supporting the huge fishing community…but not today, it was closed due to restoring its copper roof. So onwards to Svolaer with a quick stop at KPS auto’s for some LPG. The set up is opposite the Esso station and tucked round the back of an industrial unit. Its a bit of a narrow track with not much parking space but nothing a shuffle back and forth cant sort out. The young assistant was ever so helpful and polite. He even gave the gas cylinder connection a WD40 squirt before connecting. A pleasant conversation whilst filing before handing over our cash for topping up our LPG.
Off in to the centre! Svolvaer is quite a big town with plenty hotels, shops and restaurants, so a great base for stocking the cupboards up, having a stroll down a high street, filling up with diesel and nipping to the bank. Its a practical town with shopping for locals rather than tourists, so don’t get any ideas about this place being quaint unless you get a kick out of concrete blocks. On a grey day and with all the mountain peaks covered in cloud it didn’t look its best but on a bright day, Svolvaer could have some lovely walks. A nice coast line, green countryside and mountain trails. Behind us is the most daring climb in the Lofotens – the Svolbaerur goat but it is covered in cloud, so cant see it!
Rather than park overnight in town we opted to drive a little further north and find a spot with a view. It might be overcast but this weather adds character and atmosphere to the cold and rugged mountains. We stop on route for a quick espresso and an opportunity to admire a few waterfalls. The fjord is quiet and still and in the middle, a heron perches elegantly on a thin branch, ignoring us as we sip our coffee and dunk our marie biscuits.
Feet on dash, singing away when we entered a long (6km), dark tunnel. This long tunnel took us right under the sea bed and it was a not a pleasant tunnel with old dim lights and plenty lingering clouds of smoke and smog. Cough, cough. After 3 km we hit the bottom and started a slow, long decent.
“Whats the matter?”
“We have a flashing amber light”
And with that the second turbo switched off (auto mode) and Vin’s performance reduced. I hope it isn’t that blinking pressure sensor. We’ve already 2 fail in the space of 12 months surely not a third! We slowly climbed out the tunnel with a poorly sick motorhome and glum faces. We pulled over. We tried all the usual things like turn off, turn on. Check for messages. Read the manual front to back. Check under the bonnet etc. You name it, we did it but still the little EMS flashed like crazy. Unfortunately, in the middle of nowhere, so no wifi. We couldn’t search for nearest dealer, so instead we tried the POI on GPS. We searched for garages but not many appeared on the list, as you would expect on an island in the middle of the arctic circle. Do we carry on or do we head back to Svolvaer? We debated and opted to turn around and slowly plod back to Svolvaer. We know it is a reasonable town and at least it should have someone who can help direct us. The tentative drive was slow and its been a while since the sight of an industrial zone brought a sense of relief. We drove around to a few garages but either not suitable or closed until tomorrow. Sigh.
We parked up on Kiwi car park next to the Esso station and straight facing the KPS garage. It opens at 8am and we fully intend to be their first customer!
On a positive note, I got a quick glimpse of Svolværur goat. Some 40 metres above me, two rock pinnacles, nick named the horns of a goat and strangely enough they do look like goat horns. There’s a 1.5 metre gap between the two “horns” a do or die jump for many a young dare devil. Happy with my view of the horns, we closed up Vin with the exception of the front windscreen. The evening the sky was heavy and dark, the cloud descended further down the mountain and after a brief and eerie period of silence the heavens opened and there is nothing to do but sit tight and watch the rain sweep across Kiwi supermarket car park. Poor Vin was very sick and now wet through. I felt for the old chap and could just imagine his dipped lights, sorrowful grill and soggy body. Hold on old chap, we will get you sorted tomorrow.
Our wild camping spot tonight, Svolvaer Kiwi car park, well located for tomorrow mornings garage hunt.
GPS position N068.233063 and E014.531244
Route: Henningsvaer to Svolvaer
Weather: Low 14 and high 19, overcast and grey with intermittent showers.