In all honesty, we had done zero research regarding Vesterålen with the sole reason for our drive up there being to add puffins to our birding list and escape the tumultuous weather that had plagued us continuously in Lofoten.
Having visited the puffins, we settled in to a dinner of average frozen pizza and over priced supermarket wine and watched the Arctic sun begin its swoop towards the horizon. Our window in Andoya looked out over a small white sand beach with gentle waves lapping across the shoreline. We could still see fjords in the distance but momentarily we felt transported to another time and place. Hail storms, white outs and wet hiking boots belonged to another trip - this was the beginning of our Arctic summer sojourn and being our last night it was unfortunately the end too.
A few hours earlier aboard the Puffin Safari, we looked at the sharp peaks that bookend the town of Bleik and picked one that we would like to summit after dinner. It was our final evening and therefore our final chance to see the so-far illusive Midnight Sun and hopefully view the fjords in all their sunlit glory. Every peak we had summited so far had been covered in clouds and the majority of vistas we viewed were little more than gradients of shifting blues and grey made up of sheet rain, fog and hail.
Nearing 10pm, we set off enroute for Måtinden with our world already glowing in what would normally be soft golden afternoon light. Before even setting foot on the trail, we watched an owl on the slope across from the carpark swoop between the trees, its wings reflecting in the sunlight. It felt like one of those magical evenings already and for the first time in weeks the wind had stopped and everything remained perfectly still and silent.
We wandered around for hours, exploring the adjoining plateaus in genuine disbelief of not only the summit’s beauty but that we were finally watching the Midnight Sun. It was not long before heavy clouds marched across the sea, up the beaches and began to swallow the peaks around us but the sun would continually break through and cast glorious golden rays across the island.
As sun and the clouds jostled for position, we gained a deeper appreciation for the moody weather we had experienced throughout our trip and how beautiful it was to see nature in full expressionist mode. Our final evening meaning so much more due to the lack of luck beforehand and the effort we had to put in to experience it - and it was ours alone. There was no one else atop Måtinden, and no other sounds except for the occasional hoot hoot of the hunting owls below us.
It was sad to begin the descent back to the car because we knew we were bidding farewell to our time in Nordland. Without touching the horizon, the sun began to rise again and our drive back to the guesthouse became as surreal as the moments atop the mountain. A pair of owls appeared, gliding past our car, as they continued on their hunt for prey. A giant eagle followed soon after, soaring behind us for a while before heading back toward the sea. Stopping by the shoreline, an otter visited briefly before plopping back into its bed of ocean kelp. It was as though someone had hit the nature button on a documentary and generated all the local wildlife in perfect synchronicity, all the while the coastline continued to glow in the pastels of a new day. Gifting us the perfect silver lining to our Nordland adventures.