MC Hammerfest

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Exploring Hammerfest
It wasn't on the itinerary, but on the way up to Hammerfest, we stopped at a place with some ancient rock carvings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a good call on Chad's part, because even if it turned out to be nothing too spectacular (and it wasn't) it wasn't really dull either... certainly better than a Shell station. We had a large Russian looking woman to tell us what it could be and also that it could be anything else. Meaning we walked around and she would say, "This may be a boat where they hunted the reindeer. But it may not be. Maybe it's just a reindeer with no legs." It was actually rather amusing and she endeared herself to us.

Carissa in the booth of truth
We arrived mid-afternoon into Hammerfest, and I explored the surrounding hillside for an hour or two with Rob and then also with Juaquin and Gord later, before dinner. After dinner, it was on with the dress clothes and we packed on to the coach for the night trek to Nordkapp, leaving at 7:30 PM. The drive up was the first and only time we were allowed to drink on the bus, and it was quite a party as far as I remember. The coach trip has never gone so fast. There was something called the Booth of Truth, where basically anyone who used the washroom (impossible not to, incidentally) had to come to the front and answer three questions on the microphone. Questions of which nature I won't repeat on this family-oriented blog, but I'm sure you can guess. Needless to say I ducked out of my questions rather shamelessly.

Foggy days and nights
Today was the first day where it appeared the weather was not going to cooperate, which was too bad because I think it's one of the most important days to have decent weather, but given our luck so far, I wasn't too upset about it. We arrived in a thick fog and made our way inside the visitors' centre. We discovered a line in which we waited up to 20 mins for a movie which I consider to be one of the greatest travesties of our time. It was supposed to be on Nordkapp but instead was helicopter footage set to music over other parts of Norway, coupled with dramatic plunges into the sea to view... nothing... and then random closeups of flowers where the music would get all tense for some reason and then one of the screens would slowly zoom in. Being that everyone else was in agony and it was sooo poorly done, I actually found it to be hilarious and even took some video of the movie. We had some French people behind us badmouthing us 'English' and being a battleaxe, so when she'd finished the worst of it, I turned around and said, "Pardon". You should've seen the look of horror on her face. Priceless. Anyway, the movie was actually quite amusing, albeit unintentionally so.

The cloud lifts
We got out and went to the window. The fog had lifted slightly! So we went outside and got a few shots and noticed the fog continuing to clear. The clock neared midnight and with about 10 minutes to go, as though God himself had parted the cloud for us, we had the midnight sun shining through the clouds. We really were blessed with exceptionally terrific weather this whole trip. Seeing the sun at midnight was rather an undefinable but definitely amazing experience, even though we'd perhaps become accustomed to late night light already since we'd been winding our way north for over a week by now. We hung around for a little while longer and headed back on the bus at about 12:30 for the trek home, getting in just before 4 AM.

Working for dinner
After a nice sleep-in, I headed into town with Naomi and we hung around for awhile. She had some sad news on the internet front but I was happy to be able to help her a little. Then we split ways and I went to find my fishing crew. I was a little nervous about deep sea fishing and even the small waves on the way out did make me a little queasy. Thankfully, Carissa had some anti-nausea stuff that I took before which may have saved me. Once we got out, we hand reeled everything. It was really too easy. Drop in a line. Untangle it from someone else's. Pull it up. A fish. Maybe two (I caught two). Possibly three. I'll be honest, I wasn't actually a big fan of it, even catching the fish. It was neat to have caught it, but, I don't know. I wouldn't do it again, I guess.

A dip in the Arctic Ocean
We rode back in, ate our catch, and then it was time for the Polar Plunge. As in, swimming in the Arctic Ocean. Wellsir, let me just say that it is COLD. Like, much colder than I've ever swam at the lake or anywhere else. I tried three times to get in and get my head wet, which I had done no problem in Mo I Rana, and only succeeded because Juaquin and Chris decided I must and helped me along, if you will. Still, I did it and it did live up to its name for sure. Then we climbed back up all the rocks we'd had to climb down to get there, took a sauna, and headed into town. The pub was alright, not too shabby, and it was nice because a lot of people came out. I wound up sitting with a bunch of girls and Chris and getting the latest on the gossip scene for a spell, though I did sit with everyone sooner or later. There were some strange locals, some of which were hitting on Chris, other wouldn't leave us alone, and so on. We ditched the place eventually and headed back for the night around 1:30, under full light of day. Ah, the great light north.

<Hammerfest Photos>
<Nordkapp Photos>

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