Irregular Posts; Oslo and Bergen, NO

Friday September 5 Hej, Norway! What a beautiful country, and yes it is expensive. A pint of beer could cost you $13.!!. It is good beer but it is $! Forget it, just do what you need to do. Last leg in Norway was the Wednesday Oslo to Bergen run. We got into Oslo from Andenes about 9P Tuesday, found our hotel near the train station, dropped bags and had a Turkish dinner at 10P!! What! Why Turkish? Well, it was just ariund the corner along with a Thai, a Chinese, an Indian, a few kabab joints, a “gentlemen’s”’ club AND we’ll be heading to Istanbul in November. Not bad and not too expensive, only about $40 for a “light” evening meal. Up at 6A, lift the packs and walk the 5 minutes to the train station. The first part of the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour was the 06:43 to Myrdal train.. It takes a bit over 4 hours to get there, and then a 1 hour Flam railway ride DOWN from 3000 ft of alpine countryside to sea level on the fjord, then a few hours on the fjord ferry to Gunvegan, and then a 1 hour bus over hairypin-onelane mountain roads to Voss, and then a train ride to Bergen; total time for the run is over 15 hours. It is expensive but it IS worth the cost. The scenery is MAGNIFICANT! Foggy fields and lakes near sea level in the early morning sun, alpine scenery at 3000 ft; tunnels through mountain flanks bring you out to a possibly new microclimate. Shooting from the train can...

Irregular Posts; Andenes, NO

Thursday August 28 Hej, First day on the water and a great day it was; sperm whales at 50 meters! There are six of us Earthwatch volunteers and two staff. We travel on the local whale watch boat. We have spotting sites on the “bridge” beside the Captain. Three of us were assigned to the whale watch boat for sperm whales and three assigned to ride the ferry spotting Harbor Porpoises. At the last minute the ferry run was cancelled! so all went out on the whale watch boat. Very busy! An hour out of the harbor, we were over DEEP water where the sperm whales dive to feed. Captain with the earphones was hearing the sonar clicks for whale feeding. Blows and surfacings. There were many whales in the neighborhood. When one surfaces with a bigger blow the boat approaches slowly from behind the whale so as not to “scare” it. Slowly, the approach is to about 50 meters. It will rest and re-oxygenate for about 8 – 10 minutes. We sit idling until the sperm whale, refreshed, arches his back and begins the deep dive. The dive concludes with the tail vertical and the flukes disappearing beneath the surface. The whale dive vertical. All of the males are young enough to be on their own but not large enough to attract a mate (in the Azores). So, they eat and grow here in the low Arctic off Andenes, Norway; here the feeding is great with abundant fish and large squid. Tomorrow we head back out to the open sea to watch for more whales. Perhaps the ferry...