Day 12-1. Florø to Barmen (Gerard and Gabriela).
Distance D 60.47 km Max 54.5 km/h Time 4.28:06 Average 13.5 km/h
Distance S 60.57 km Max 58.0 km/h Time 4.06:16 Average 14.8 km/h
All was quiet when we awoke. There was no sign of the Polish tradesmen nor their vans and we hadn't heard them leave. The sun was shining and the tent covered in dew. It was going to be another lovely day. It was also just a little exciting to be back to the coast of Norway and a part of it we'd not been to yet. We realised too that now we were following the coast our rate of progress would be determined not just by how much energy we had. For instead of following river valleys we were now cutting across the ends of fjords and hopping from island to peninsula and back which meant we would be at the mercy of ferry timetables. This reminded us of our first trip on the NSCR in 2005 and we wondered just how far we were going to be able to go each day.
We'd decided to take it easy today, as we were only going to get as far as Gerard and Gabriela's place on the island of Barmøy. We also hoped to see at least one Tall Ship in Maløy as it was hosting the Tall Ships Race this year. In keeping with this trend our day was to start with, yes you guessed it, taking a ferry to the island of Smørhamn. The timetable showed it was a fast ferry and we decided to take the boat around twelve. This allowed us a relaxed morning and a chance to have a quick mooch round Florø. The other alternative would have been much earlier which didn't seem like fun.
Just before half past ten we headed out of the campsite, past the town theatre stopping briefly to admire the building, and cycled back to the town centre. Florø is not such a big place that you could mooch around in for a day but that suited us fine. I'd already sampled the joys of the big shopping centre across the road from the Tourist Office so we swung through the main shopping streets in town and headed straight for the docks. The old centre of Florø is not very big and laid out on a couple of parallel streets. Finding the dock and what we thought was our ferry was easy and we headed back for a half hour 'sightseeing'. We were in 'would we want to live here' mode and noted that there were enough shops for our modest needs.
Now that we had ascertained this important fact we cycled back to the ferry and boarded one only to discover, a few minutes later, this was not the one we needed. Wheeling our bikes out we were directed to the other side of the quay, another couple of hundred metres along. Here there was not a boat to be seen but outside the waiting room we found a small huddle of waiting passengers. Damae went to the ticket kiosk inside the building and picked up tickets for ourselves and our bikes. Having to buy tickets for your bikes bumps up the cost but only seems necessary on the fast ferry network.
With our tickets bought we waited for our ferry to arrive. Damae sat on the quayside whilst I tried again to use the panorama photo capabilities of my camera. This as before was not too successful and I was reminded that panoramas don't work so well when there is a sharp edge in the foreground such as a quayside, kerb or dyke. Still despite this small disappointment the view was lovely the sea a deep blue and hardly a cloud to be seen in the sky. Everyone seemed to be out enjoying the day.
The ferry arrived a few minutes late and ten minutes later we were racing out of the bay area and along the coast. The catamaran was fast and cut a broad wake in the water. It was quite exhilarating to be on a fast ferry again especially as last time we had taken on the weather was so bad we stayed inside the whole trip. The rugged West coast landscape rushed past us and and within a half hour we were getting off at Smørhamn. This part of the coast was quite different to anything we'd seen so far in Norway. Low lying spits of land and islands connected by long low bridges with low lying vegetation. There were not many trees to be seen here. We watched another pair of cycle tourers head West towards Kalvåg and wondered for a moment if we should just divert and go and explore. The whole area looked just so tempting in the sun.