Caught in the light
Overnight we entered Nordfjord and by morning I awoke to the faint noise of the bow thrusters as we gently berthed at our next port of call, Olden, nestled at the far end of the fjord. Not a large township, Olden is very picturesque, dominated by huge mountains amongst which the glacier known as Jostedalsbreen has lain for thousands of years, like a huge dollop of icing with numerous smaller glaciers filtering down away from it seeping into various valleys like fingers. Jostedalsbreen is the largest ice sheet in mainland Europe and used to stretch for 60 km - I say "used to" as I have seen earlier pictures of some of the fingers and they have definitely receded over the years.
I went on an excursion today which involved a short coach ride up to the foot of one of the mountains where a finger of the large glacier could clearly be seen. As we travelled we passed a couple of large lakes where the water was the fabulous iridescent green typical of glacial waters, a result of all the minerals buffed off the mountainside as the ice scraped its way down to the rivers and melted. Unfortunately this was what turned out to be our one wet day - undeterred and suitably dressed for the occasion our group set off for the very steep hike up the hairpin pathway to reach the base of the glacier. I confess to taking numerous photos on the way up as i tried to catch my breath! Anyway I had decided to join a small group to paddle a rubber dingy (holding 9 adults) on the green lake in front of the glacier so we could get a closer look at it. Previous photos I had seen showed the two sections of this glacier, known as Briksdalbreen, joined up but today they were very separate with the bottom part just a veneer over the fast flowing water underneath. Although really blue underneath, the glacier has a dirty appearance overall due to the layers of dust from the atmosphere lying on its surface. During our paddle we rescued a tiny iceberg only to discover that it was huge underneath the water and amazingly clear - apparently this ice is so old that all the air has been pressed out of it and it is totally pure, hence its crystal appearance. The small flat part held by the girl's right hand was all that could be seen above water. The return hike was a doddle and gave me time to soak in the wonderful views of other glacial fingers from which melt water cascaded down into the misty valley and joined the freezing, milky river. (This shot was my second choice for the blip today, I loved the view so much).
Back on board, showered and changed, I sipped my cocktail as we cruised back down the Nordfjord. Although it was still wet and cold outside, every now and then I had to dash up on deck to capture a special moment as the mountains unfolded before us, so I was frozen to get this blip for you! A truly magical day.
- Sony DSC-HX60