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  • Writer's pictureRichard Mark Dobson

Ice Age (Part 2)


With routes and tunnel access seemingly well-planned—or so we thought—we embarked on our journey at the stroke of 10:00 AM, as rain and cold embraced yet another morning. Our destination: the Nesna ferry, set to sail for Lavang at 11:30 AM. But the tale of the day's ups and downs began almost immediately. An announcement reached us, declaring a four-hour delay in the Lavang ferry's departure, attributed to staff shortages. Crew shortages. Eager to cover the 75 kilometers from Lavang to Mosjoen, Ajmal sprang into action. He made a call—a call for the support car to await the later ferry—while the principal riders, Ajmal, the filmmaker Rimantas Navickas, and myself, the official photographer, hatched a plan to hire a boat to reach Lavang.


The calm before the storm. A new day dawns on the Ranfjord, as seen from camp Nesna.


Circular rings of raindrops forming on the pristine surface of Nesna Bay serve as an augury, hinting at the impending shape of things to come.

A dramatic backdrop. Nesna Port. Our embarkation point.


As our carefully crafted time management plans teetered on the brink of disarray, Ajmal's spirits were lifted when a local boat captain, by the name of Kay, agreed to ferry us across the dark, icy waters that separated Låvong Peninsula, Hulga Island, and the Lavang headland. The scenes that awaited us were nothing short of dramatic. Jagged ridges stood sentinel against inky black waters, evoking an authentic sense of the wild Arctic. Peering into this North sea abyss, we were informed of 200-kilogram halibut lurking beneath, and tales of moose and elk swimming from island to island, like intrepid forest explorers crossing borders in search of greener pastures.





Ajmal all aboard the skiff to Levang.


Storm Petrels, those acrobatic birds of the air, expert navigators of these frigid waters, flitted alongside our skiff. The boat ride became a delightful interlude, a prelude to the challenges yet to come.




LEVANG GALLERY


The Ferry Harbour, nestled amidst the dramatic scenery, in the height of the tourist season serves as a vital gateway for ferry journeys, offering travelers a breathtaking introduction to Norway's coastal wonders.


The Levang Ferry at the dock of the bay.

Levang Bay I

Levang Bay II

Looking back on the Levang Ferry and the surrounding Fjord with the Låvong peninsular in the far distance.



Twenty kilometers from Levang, a tunnel unexepectedly barred our way, declaring, 'No entry for cyclists.' We had naively assumed this tunnel would be cyclist-friendly. Our sole recourse was to retrace our path and head for a place called Leirelv, where we hoped to catch another ferry to Mosjoen. Back over daunting heights and through rolling hills we pedaled. By now, all team members were drenched. Sopping wet and bitterly cold, we were eager to reach Mosjoen, where the warmth of a hotel beckoned like a comforting embrace.


A single light greeted us in the dark corner that was Leirfjaera.


At last, we spotted a woman walking a dog in the distance. One of our group ventured forth to glean more information. What we received was far from heartening: the ferry was indefinitely idled, a casualty of economic decline and reduced traffic. We were advised to return to Levang, our sole refuge for sustenance and shelter. The news, relayed to the rest of the team, was met with collective weariness. It seemed our only recourse was to summon the support vehicle and load all our bikes aboard for a passage through the tunnel, onward to Mosjoen. Circumstance had brought the Ajmal Samuel cycle ride to an unexpected halt. Everyone was bone-chillingly cold and overwhelmingly fatigued. Never before had the sight of a Toyota Proace been such a welcome sight.




The deserted ferry, affectionately dubbed the "Ghost Ship," sat silently at the deserted dock, while the trusty Toyota Proace support vehicle stood diligently while loaded up the cycles that had to take an early retirement on this particular day.


The moral of the story in the just another day in the life of Ajmal Samuel might be this;


In the midst of our meticulously planned journey, the unforeseen unfolded as an unwelcome guest. A delayed ferry, inaccessible tunnels, and uncooperative weather conspired to challenge our resolve. It was a poignant reminder that life, much like this expedition, seldom follows a linear trajectory. The Norse Gods' whispered caution was a gentle prologue to this philosophical truth: unpredictability is the essence of existence.


In those moments of uncertainty, when rain soaked our spirits and cold gnawed at our determination, we faced a choice. We could have surrendered to frustration, yielded to the elements, and allowed despair to be our compass. Instead, we chose to adapt, to improvise, to become the architects of our fate.


The decision to hire a boat, to defy the capricious currents of circumstance, was emblematic of our collective spirit. It echoed the wisdom that life's beauty often lies not in its predictability, but in its surprises. The silent, ghostly ferry reminded us that even well-laid plans can go adrift. Yet, it also whispered a paradoxical truth—that sometimes, the detours, the deviations, become the most cherished chapters of our stories.


This odyssey reaffirmed the adage, "the journey is the destination." For in its twists and turns, its challenges and triumphs, we unearthed the profound joy of discovery and the exhilaration of resilience. It was a testament to the unyielding human spirit, the beauty of adaptation, and the exquisite unpredictability of life. It urged us not to take even the smallest facets of existence for granted, to embrace the unexpected as an integral part of the tapestry of our journey.



In the weary countenance of Ajmal Samuel and the iconic rendering that resonates with the profound care and unwavering dedication bestowed upon him by his wife, Carol Cheung, one can discern a testament to their enduring resilience. Together, they will rise to face the challenges of a new day, steadfast in their determination.


TOTAL DISTANCE COVERED: 1,730.40 km KM (22 September 2023)



Day 32 - Mosjoen to Namsskogen (Car)

Day 31 -Nensa to Mosjoen 70km

Day 30 -Mo I Rana to Nensa 66.45Km

Day 29 -Meravan to Mo I Rana 98.01km

Day 28 -Slussfors to Meravan 85.17km

Day 27 -Storuman to Slussfors. 62.00km

Day 26 -Lycksele to Storuman 102.9km

Day 25 -Vindeln to Lycksele 75.75 km

Day 24 -Holmsund to Vindeln 75.7km

Day 23 -Vaasa to Holmsund (Ferry Ride)

Day 22 -Rest Day Vaasa

Day 21- Rest Day Vaasa

Day 20 -Narpes to Vaasa 79.8km

Day 19- Merikarvia to Närpes 93.76 km

Day 18 -Pori to Merikarvia 52.8km

Day 17- Rauma to Pori 57.9km

Day 16 -Uusikaupunki to Rauma 47.4km

Day 15 -Turku to Uusikaupunki 73.5km

Day 14 -Helsinki to Turku (Car)

Day 13 -Tallin to Helsinki (Ferry ride)

Day 12- Tallin Rest & Recharge

Day 11- Märjamaa to Tallin 72.17

Day 10 - Pärnu linn to Märjamaa 64.1km

Day 9- Pärnu Rest & Recharge

Day 8 - Salacgriva to Pärnu 75km

Day 7 - Riga to Salacgriva 104.4km

Day 6 - Riga Rest and Recharge

Day 5 - Plieņciema kāpa to Riga 60.14Km

Day 4 - Kuldiga to Plieņciema kāpa 108.59Km

Day 3 - Liepāja to Kuldīga 97.34Km

Day 2 - Sventājato Liepāja 62.11Km

Day 1 - Klaipeda to Sventāja 42.89Km



Join the expedition, follow updates, and tag along on this inspiring adventure."



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col_irshad
27 sept 2023

Beautiful writeup makes the miseries look like interesting cherishment and solid hurdles as part of a war game. Fantastic coverage both in words and clicks make the event an epic tale for all times to come

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