In my last blogpost I talked about the islands outside of Ålesund in Giske kommune and also showed you one of the islands from Giske Kommune, and another called Lepsøya. In this post I had the intention of sharing both Haramsøya and Flemsøya but spent so much time on the island I love so much that Flemsøya will be in the next post along with the islands of Sandøya Kommune with the Gem Ona.
Haramsøya is a true and great gem, with lots of various formations, dramatic landscapes, and also great for wildlife as well. But Ill mention a few things about Flemsøya, and some options for the other islands.
Here are two shots from a little island Bjørnøya, but not part of the tour, I thought I would share just a little bit of my view that is similar to the view from my house of the islands north of me. Lepsøya is the taller one on the left which is the first one you visit on the Speedboat which we visited last time. the next island in the archipelago is Haramsøya and is connected by bridge to Flemsøya. Neither as tall, Haramsøya is the lower one in the middle of the two that tower a bit.
After the three great islands you see some flatter islands which are Fjortofte, harøya, and Finnøya, an farther than we can see, we will explore the little islands of Ona.
Lets start the Journey.
to visit these islands you can either take the Hurtigbåt(speedboat) which goes
and then takes the same path back.
(be careful not to confuse Harøya with Hareid, or Herøya, also in the area.)
Another Option to travel to the islands if you wish to go by ferry you can take the ferry route
to the first three islands of the nordøyene, two of them are connected by a bridge so once you take the ferry to Haramsøya you can travel freely between Haramsøya and Flemsøya, (also known as Longva and Skuløya)
The ferry comes every hour to each stop which is more often than the Hurtigbåt.
to visit the farthest islands there is another ferry which travels from Brattvåg-dryna-fjørtofe-Harøya
which also goes more often than the hurtigbåt but not every hour.
Here in Norway the skies are extremely clear and make great views of the night skies as well as very little pollution. the Milky Way or Auroras are relatively easy to see from within the town or city you are in.
the following Image is not from the islands but illustrates my point, that even in a city the light pollution doesn't completely take over, where Dark Skies are best being near light isn't a hindrance and is even more spectacular when out in the dark.
Olsvika in Glory
Oslo, bergen, stavanger, Trondheim, might give some problems but otherwise you are in the clear as they are the biggest cities.
Back to the topic of the islands.
when you arrive on Haramsøya there will be a series of boathouses, a nice quaint symmetrical church, with a great view of the mountains of the mainland. Haramsøya hosts 4 docks for housing boats two of them near the ferry dock. They in themselves I find quite nice to walk around. to the left you could get quite nice turquoise waters by the boats and to the right you have some uniquely built Boathouses with a larger speedboat that works as the Ambulance and the Taxi in the area.
(I dont find a photo of the church on my computer at the moment but will try to include it later.)
here is an example of the boathouses you can see right by the ferry docks, and how clear the night skies can be from the center of a town, where you can see the faint side of the auroras as they are calming down and the great views of the stars at night.
If you talk about Northern Lights with those that live out on these islands you will get a very different attitude than the city folk of Ålesund, where many live on the southside of hills and mountains and often in their comfy abodes and bright lights rarely venture out to go and see the auroras. where as those that live on these islands not far at all away almost get bored of them as they see the auroras very often. though 62° north isn’t the best for auroras, they visit quite often.
If you are here during a dark time of the year go to Facebook, “Like” “Aurora Alerts by Soft Serve News” and under the Liked button click “see first” or “get notifications” so that you will get notified about an hour before any type of auroral activity and then you can grab your gear and find a spot to photograph the solar storms as they interact with our atmosphere.
I have traveled out here Multiple times to photograph.
Immediately you have to decide where you want to go. If you have a good car your options suddenly get a lot better as you can go back and forth faster but i prefer being on a bike to really take in the place and be able to notice smaller details that you miss when you wizz by in a car. And better mobility.
If you go to right you get to the other island a lot quicker and to the lighthouse out by ulla. If you go to the left you can go to two different nature reserves on on the hill nearby or one on the far side by the beaches and by the oceanside. the south side is mainly farmland and countryfolk. there is also a road mainly for hiking, tractors going up on the mountain though you can take the car, it makes for a great bike ride. Ill show you some of the shots along the way.
cabins by the shoreside with the typical traditional grass roofs can be often spotted on the south side and the point closest to the mainland also hosts a nice quaint white church with a steeple in the middle making a very unique and symmetrical country church. Go past all the farms out to the sea.
You can come to this
Though here you can see the part of the island that sticks out with the lighthouse it is easier to back track to the bike or car and drive over or around the island, if you want to continue traveling around, and bring more stuff with you. though this place is full of hidden gems with rocks carved we will go around to visit the lighthouse and also this rough terrain during the summer is a bird cliff reserve so you are not allowed to go on this part of the island.
The the beauty of this part of the reserve is the bird cliffs, the open ocean and the rocks by the rising tide. where some of the rocks make great shapes from the tireless erosion from the coast.
Near these grounds there are some old Viking burial grounds, a monument to an old Stave Church, a sight where they found one of the largest Viking gold treasures in the sea. However these are hard to find unless you know where to look.
If you backtrack a bit you come to an cabin on the mountainside with a road that leads up the mountain side swinging back and forth much like the road Trollstigen. Which makes for a great bike ride and an exciting drive if you take the car.
And from another angle you get to see the wonderful foliage shown on the hill opposite from the road
and if you take a small path of the road to the beaten path you can go to top of another hill to one of the nature reserves on the island where you can see a great variety of flowers and Foliage.
Love For Texture
Im the type of person that takes lots of rest stops along the way to take in the views, admire nature and light, and also catch my breath which makes for a great time to take photos of the view, or if you are not into photography just take in the views.
After going up the windy Road you can come to sheer cliffs, great views of the nice turquoise waters and a little sun at the top by the road. And much cooler cliffs than this.
the Top of the mountain is unique in that is covered in farmland
Lush Mountain Pasture
This is also a location That a huge eagle at least two meters in wingspan like to hang out and Ive seen it here 3 times. But if you are into birdwatching the best time is during the summer, especially may and jun as there are many out on the bird cliff as well as some of the little islands, though it is forbidden to go certain places at certain times based on the breeding season and their need for privacy.
When you continue the road over the mountain you will get to another top or “peak” with the best view of the best color water in the region. There is a pathway along the field that will bring you directly to the cliff edge so you can have a great panorama view.
The best time to see the nice color of the water is with a little bit of sun hitting the water from above, so that it can hit the white sand underneath.
Its not a straight drop off, but still be careful, dont be a tourist that falls off a mountain, it happens pretty much every year, some tourist that doesn’t respect nature enough.
As far as you are seeing the little rocks out on the oceanside to the left are the part of the island with the Lighthouse which is is the border for one of the nature reserves with the bird cliff on the far side of the island. but the little island in between the two bigger islands is also a reserve with the waters around it as well. Will show a few shots later. But in this general area, I’ve seen otters, minks, eagles many many birds, also geese and ducks that migrate for breeding season. Orcas also can be seen here during the autumn when they come to feed off the breeding and young seals.
This is also a great location for dark skies.
Backtrack a bit and you follow the road and you get a few more great views along the way. Another windy road down this side of the mountain.
Its Always Greener on the Other Side
Now we are on the side called “Ulla”, a part of the island that had over 1000 people back in the day when it was a thriving fishing community. now very few live on this part of the island and Haramsøya and Flemsøya combined are 800 people. with farms beaches and nature reserves.
Ill show a few of the shots from down by the shore side with the great shaped rocks and beaches
here I managed to capture a bit of the milky way, northern lights at twilight with an interesting composition. with many other cool shapes and forms that are not yet explored by the most. and I love being here in between the rocks. but if you are in a hard to get place or a hard to get out of place be aware of the tide.
out here and pretty much all over the island during the spring and summer I was constantly surprised by all the different types of flowers, most probably because of all the birds that visit here and poop seeds from other places.
I must have see at least 30 different types of flowers, at least maybe more. hard to keep track but more than I’ve ever seen anywhere else here in norway. These ones are as unique as many of the ones I've seen but i didn't take photos of all the different types of flowers out there. maybe next summer.
Next is the Lighthouse of Ulla
Though it isn’t the best looking lighthouse, it is small, cute and quaint, in a nice scene, with a nice walking bridge over the rocks it sits on, also with some goats that roam free yearlong,
and automated lighthouse that lights when it gets dark enough. and farther from the houses provides a subject in a dark place for great sunsets and star shots.
Road to the Lights
If you didn’t get enough of this island then you can back track to the road and cross the bridge over the other island Flemsøya or make a stop on the rocks in between.
Since I’ve written so much about this Island Ill leave the rest for another post, so that I can write more about them as well. and organise more photos for it.
If you are interested in taking a trip to this island I would be happy to Show you around, as I love it so much and I want to Share that joy with others.
If you need to contact me through another way than this website my website
www.iwangroot.com also has a contact page
as well as Facebook:
Iwan Groot Artwork