RIB's, Fjords and a Beer by a Camp Fire.
As I said in the previous update, Northern Norway, and Bodo in particular, maybe just be heaven. Located at 67 degrees very North, its a wind swept beauty of a spot. With a population of about 40,000 people its a rather quiet laid back spot, until the times of 6am, 10am, 12pm and 4pm when the Norwegian Air Force decide to take their F-16's out for a jolly and keep an eye on the Russians. Bodo is nestled in the fjords and hills on the Atlantic coast, the scenery is nothing less than stunning. With crystal clear water meeting shear granite cliffs and mountains with year round snow caps that rise steep and majestic above the azure sea flowing through the fjords. Little known but interesting fact, Bodo was Gary Powers destination before he carelessly ran into a missile over Russia in the 60's.
So the airport where we spent our time has form, so to speak. Wideroe is an amazing airline. Flying Dash-8's around the Fjords, and up to the most northern cities and towns on earth, their flights can last from 2 hours to 8 minutes. 8 minutes being the flying time across a fjord, rather than the 5 hour drive around it. They are an amazing outfit, with the most switched on Ops staff I've come across, some of them might even be better than me! It was a pleasure training them. I had the new boy, Deano, along with me and he played a blinder, picking up the training and taking over what proved to be the most hard core group we had in for training. So all in all, a successful trip, but the work, as usual was not the highlight.
Tuesday 9th September was the evening we were told that the host company wanted to take us out for the evening. Out meant on board 40 knot capable Rigid Inflatable Boats. So the Rocade team, minus Deano but plus an American from FCS, boarded the boats and headed out in to the beautiful northern evening. After making a switch of boats at sea, due to a late arrival, a third boat that is and not me, we headed out onto a sea of glass. Now the plan was to go bouncing across the waves and then out to the Maelstrom, which is a tidal flow so powerful that it will suck a 30m tanker to the bottom of the channel in seconds. That is of course during a full moon and rough seas. On a perfect night, like our night out, its good for fishing. But before we got there we had to stop to check the crab traps for dinner. Now this was an interesting diversion from the odd sensation of my body feeling like boil in the bag rice, due to the survival suit that would give me a whole 5-8 minutes in the water should I go over the side, and having my head and hands freeze dried due to the wind across the water. So the boss and I hauled up the crap pot and hauled in the best catch a man could, a two-four of local brew. So once the important cargo was on board, we headed to our first stop, a beautiful bay with a beach and views you'd kill for. Our evening continued with very high speed runs up and down the fjords, with stops for the loo once the beer and constant sound of rushing water beat our bladders into submission.
The Maelstrom, even on a calm evening, is rather spectacular. The water seems to boil in parts and turn perfectly smooth in others. The fishing is spectacular, or so the guys on the other boats hauling in huge fish, told us as we floated past. It was truly surreal. From our encounter with nature, we applied the 300 horse held within Kurt's RIB and off we headed to dinner. By the time we had arrived at the Norwegian equivalent of a picnic spot, a cabin on the shore, with a roaring camp fire. At this point I was rather pleased Dean had taken a rain check on the evening's fun, he's a veggie and this night was all meat! Various dried animals and hot dogs and fish were served up with a very odd, very brown liqueur that brought back bad hangover flash backs to a very heavy lock-in in Copenhagen. All in all a very fun night, followed by a race back to the docks in Bodo under one of the first appearances of the North Lights of the year, which was nice.
Anyways, I'm heading back to Bodo on Saturday and I'm assured the weather will be far less accommodating, but it should be fun. Till next time.