Mammals by the sea, snow on the peaks

A colleague, a friend of hers and I went on a car trip to the island Ringvissøya today. My colleague knows a place where you can spot otters and we wanted to give it a try. On the way there it was raining. While I drove the car the others watched the coastal line. Our first stop however was not for an otter but a huge flock of common eiders.

Sometimes the whole flock dove down for food and then – Plop! Plop! Plop! – they appeared again. Click! I got some photos, but only with my large telephoto lens, because the ducks where quite far away.

We continued a bit and then the first otter was spotted. It was swimming in the fjord occasionally diving to hunt for fish. All the next photos are 100% crop of shots made with 600 mm so the photo quality is inferior, but that was the best I got today. Did the otter get fish? Yes, at least twice we could see it eating. Then, at a shallow bay it went on land and went up through the grass where we lost it from view.

The otters were not the only mammals around. We spotted some porpoises, though only for seconds and a seal, that occasionally swam quite near the shore.

Meanwhile the weather has become quite nice.

Since the otters were not to be seen any longer we decided to continue the road and go for a hike. At a parking place between Kårvik and Skarsfjord we took our backpacks and started hiking up the hills. There was hardly any snow at the beginning of our tour. That changed when we gained altitude. Although there was more snow the ground was not frozen yet and partially wet. Sometimes it felt like walking on a sponge.

We came to a frozen lake, that looked pretty wintry but probably the ice was quite thin, at least in the middle. In the background of the first of the next photos you can see the mountain peak of the Gråtinden (586 m).

The snow had hardened and sometimes bore our weight but mostly we broke through the thin ice layer. But still it was possible to go up, the snow was less deep than I had expected.

And then – after round about 4 km we reached the summit of the Gråtinden.

Here you have an awesome view of the sea, the lowlands and snowy mountain chains in all directions.

We took a rest by the cairn marking the peak, then we started going back. I was quite glad to move again, because I wasn’t really prepared for the hike and had started freezing. While we made our way back and down the sun started to set and the mountains become more orange.

At 16:30 we were back at the car, same time as sunset. And since it even started drizzling again I think we had an excellent timing today.

Thanks for the tour, colleague and friend!

P.S.: Here’s a panorama that I took with my iPhone on the way up today:

2 comments to “Mammals by the sea, snow on the peaks”

  1. Ulrich 2023-10-26 16:32

    Sind die ganzen Wandertouren im Winter nicht zu anstrengend, wenn man immer durch den Schnee läuft? Vor allem, wenn man den Weg nicht sieht.

    Dafür, dass Ringvassoya eher eine kleine Insel ist, gibt es recht viele Seen dort. Vor allem der größte See Skogsfjordvadnet ist ja ungewöhnlich.

    Am Samstag gibt es abends eine Mondfinsternis. Ob du sie in Tromsö sehen kannst, weiß ich aber nicht. Zumindest in Deutschland kann man sie beobachten. Das Maximum soll um etwa 22:14 Uhr sein.

  2. way-up-north 2023-10-28 10:17

    Hei Ulrich,

    ja, es ist schon etwas anstrengender und irgendwann wird es auch ohne Skier oder Schneeschuhe nicht mehr gehen. An diesem Tag ging es aber ziemlich gut.

    Lustigerweise bin ich heute – am Tag der Mondfinsternis – in Deutschland. Da es aber nur eine partielle ist, muss ich sie nicht unbedingt anschauen.

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