Having pre-booked Rødne’s 3-hour scenic cruise through Lysefjord–Western Norway’s most picturesque passage–
Leah and I were on an impossible mission to view Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), considering the current gray skies and dismal forecast. Reknown for its views, and famous for its cliffhanger scene in Mission: Impossible–Fallout, we considered Preikestolen a must-see.
On the bright side, there was plenty of legroom aboard Rødne’s Rygerdronningen, a 297-passenger, high-speed catamaran that carried only 24 guests this particular day, many with camera lenses as long as my arm.
We pushed off at 11:00 am sharp,
easing out of the harbor’s protected waters,
and beyond the bridge,
where it became perfectly clear to us that this was a perfect day for seabirds,
but less so for Leah–who required a double dose of dramimine to deal with the swells propagating across the horizon.
Along the journey, we passed scores of coastline cottages,
whose owners regulary commute to town by boat during the summer months…
unless they have the means to vacation in Rogaland all summer long.
Midway through our voyage we passed under the Lysefjord Bridge–gateway to Lysefjord–
connecting Forsand with Oanes, a small farming village on the coastline,
that’s dwarfed by an imposing edifice.
We eased into the fjord,
flanked by looming walls of granite…
until the captain navigated the bow of the ship within a hair’s breath of the Vagabond’s Cave.
Legend has it that the cave was named after a group of vagabonds who used the shelter as a hideout for months, trying to escape the police.
As we backed out of the grotto to pursue a course to Pulpit Rock, the weather turned to sleet and snow, shrouding the cliff’s signature square flat top, 604 meters above the fjord, and driving most of the passengers indoors.
But there were some intrepid sailors who were undeterred, because they had little choice in their RIB (rigid inflatable boat).
We followed at our own pace…
until we reached Hengjane Waterfall, cascading 400 meters (1312 ft) into the fjord.
Soon after, we U-turned to retrace our wake before returning to Skavanger.
Marie-Charlotte van Kerckhoven was among the few passengers on board. While nursing a hot coffee, Leah and I heard about her hiking expedition to the top of Pulpit Rock the day before. Braving freezing temperatures and two feet of snow, she and her hiking buddy made the ascent to the 25 by 25 meters flat top in 4 hours.
She was happy to share her view,
and even happier to report that here was no trace of Tom Cruise ever being there.
Next port of call: Bodø