Early, as the day brightened, National Geographic Endurance was found under dark skies and choppy waters. A few juvenile gulls and shags were spotted as the ship made her way into the beautiful Norwegian fjords.
By breakfast, we had reached our destination, the charming little village of Torsken. Soon enough, there was an announcement telling us about the outside conditions and sharing orders for disembarkation. As always, excitement for the first activity of the expedition was palpable.
After everyone made it ashore, which involved a short ride in the ever trusty Zodiacs, we gathered around our guides for a hike up the valley behind the village or a walk around the village. Before the walk, we were invited to a charming wooden house from the mid 1930s for a sampling of local foods and beer. There was a local waffle with a typical cheese and jam, a piece of flatbread with a delicious spread of salmon, roe, and herbs, and, last of all, a piece of dried cod that paired beautifully with the local beer.
Once finished with the sampling, we headed for the charming little church and small gravesite. Inside, we were met by two very helpful people who shared the history of the church.
From there, we proceeded to investigate this spot; along the way, we observed the salmon farm. Every day, the farm sends off an amazing one hundred tons of fish to be consumed elsewhere. We saw rowan trees heavy with red berries, roadside plants in flower, and an occasional clump of mushrooms.
Lunch was spent on board as the ship changed its location for afternoon adventures. Immediately after our meal, we had the opportunity to meet the field staff and scientists in the Ice Lounge.
The afternoon was so different than what we had experienced during the morning. Winds had picked up and blew at 25 knots with gusts considerably over that, which made Zodiac rides to and from the beach landing quite an affair. But, of course, that was no deterrent for us expeditioners. We headed into the elements, spotting some harbor seals and many terns along the way. The flat area around the landing, just beyond a small, sandy beach, was a verdant green with the surrounding mountains rising steeply in the background. The tops of the mountains were covered by dark, swirling gray clouds, giving the whole place a very atmospheric feel. It was stunningly beautiful.
The weather led us all to return to the ship a little earlier than scheduled, which allowed us to fit in the first of the recaps, an opportunity to highlight aspects from the day and answer any queries that may have arisen whilst enjoying delicious cocktails prepared by our wonderful bar staff.
This day has been most enjoyable, and it was a great introduction to our expedition.