Odda Arrival

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The town of Odda, at the head of Norway’s second longest fjord Hardangerfjord, has been a popular tourist destination since the early 19th century. Visitors have continued to flock there ever since to experience the spectacular natural beauty of Hardangerfjord and the surrounding area, particularly the famous rock formation Trolltunga.

Besides the scenery, Odda also is known for its early 20th-century smelter plant, once the largest in the world. Many of the historic buildings still stand and are part of the Odda Industrial City Museum, including one of the last working industrial forges in the Nordic countries.

After departing Sundal, we spent a night mid-way up Hardangerfjord in Herand before continuing to Odda at the head. We moored at a great location on the guest dock with fabulous views down-fjord. We planned to spend a week in Odda while we walked some of the areas excellent hikes, particularly Trolltunga. As is often our custom on arriving in a new town, we spent our first day there exploring Odda on foot, taking in its historic buildings and beautiful scenery.

Below are highlights from Aug 27th and 28th, 2020. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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Bondhusbrea Glacier
A final view to Bondhusbrea Glacier as we depart Sundal just after sunrise.
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Cruising down Maurangsfjorden from Sundal at 7am. The days are getting shorter now with winter approaching.
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James slipped on the Fonnabu trail yesterday and injured his left wrist and right thumb. It’s difficult to tell if they’re broken or just severely sprained, but the swelling and discoloration are pretty severe. We’re applying ice and compression and hopefully they’ll heal quickly.
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With Harvest
The cargo ship With Harvest towering over the fish farm building where it is briefly moored. We saw this ship frequently on our last trip to Norway, and its our second sighting on this year’s cruise. In this picture, they’re using a conveyor crane to offload fish food into silos on either side of the maintenance building.
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Passing through narrow and scenic Holmsundet en route to the beautiful anchorage off Herand.
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Eco Adventure
We’ve not seen much organized tourism since we returned to Norway. This eco adventure boat is the first one we’ve seen underway.
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Tysnes Newspaper
Reporter Ella Sandra Dahl Berland of the Tysenes local newspaper spotted us at anchor off the island and contacted us for an interview. The article was printed today. The cover is here and the full article is here (Norwegian only).
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Sunset from the anchorage at Herand.
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Hardangerfjord is the second longest fjord in Norway at 96 nautical miles long, and the fourth longest in the world. When we made a day trip there by car from Bergen in 2018, we really wished we had time to take Dirona down the scenic waterway. Today we finally did, and it was even more beautiful than we remembered. Here we are cruising south towards Odda in the longest of Hardangerfjord’s branching arms, 20nm Sorfjorden.
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Aednafossen, fed by the Folgefonna Icefield, is one of the most widest and dramatic in Norway. The falls are 1,050 ft (320 m) high and widen out to a veiled section about 540ft (165m) wide, then narrows for the final 400ft (125m). It’s unusual for a waterfall to widen and then narrow again like that.
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The Tyssedal power station was built between 1906 and 1918 and operated until 1989. It was one of the largest pressure power plants in the world when it first came online in 1918 with a production capacity of 100MW. The building is considered one of the best of Norway’s 20th-century architecture. The building now houses the Norwegian Museum of Hydropower and Industry, that we toured on our day trip to Hardangefjord in 2018.

The penstocks (supply lines) for the power plant are visible heading straight up the cliff behind. A Via Ferrata course that we hope to climb runs alongside.

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The TiZir Titanium & Iron plant has been operating in Hardangerfjord since 1986. Only in Norway could a large industrial facility look beautiful.
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Approaching Odda
Approaching the town of Odda, in a spectacular setting at the head of Sorfjorden.
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Odda Views
Views from our berth in Odda (clockwise from top left: forward, aft, starboard and port). It’s a fabulous spot. Oddly, no power or water is available at the guest harbour, but we’re fine with the generator. And the tourist office at upper left will run a hose out to us to fill our water when we need it.
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The first order of the day was a stop at the Post Office in Odda to pick up the replacement hiking boots we’d ordered for James.
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Metal statue of Guns ‘n Roses guitarist Slash we passed on the way back to Dirona from the Post Office.
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New Boots
A happy James with his new hiking boots to replace the ones that recently failed. Jennifer has a pair of Salomon Quest Prime boots that she really likes and have lasted well since purchase two years ago, so we got a pair for James.
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Odda Guest Harbour
View to Dirona moored at Odda Guest Harbour with 4,530ft (1,381m) Ruklenuten in the background.
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Historic Photographs
Throughout Odda, large historic photographs are mounted on old buildings transform make the structures look like artwork. We love a city that’s proud of it’s industrial heritage.
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Thord Paulsen AS
Capable-looking tow truck at Thord Paulsen AS. Longtime blog reader and Stockholm resident Torbjorn Curtsson told us that Thord Paulsen is one of the stars of the National Geographic reality TV series “Ice Road Rescue“.
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Lunch on the boat deck at Odda with a fabulous view north down Sorfjorden.
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Pizza Van
Most of the activities we have planned for Odda require a car. The nearest car rental location is a 45-minute walk from the guest harbour, but only a 12-minute bike ride, and we also wanted to take our bikes with us for one excursion. So we rented a small two-seater van that we could carry our bikes in. They are known as ‘pizza vans’ in Norway because pizza delivery people commonly use them.
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Shell Roof
Jennifer and her bike are dwarfed by the massive structure in Odda known as the “Shell Roof”, used to store raw materials for all the production lines at the smelting plant at Odda. Initially producing carbide and later cynamide, the plant was operational between 1908 and 2003 and was the largest in the world. A cableway with cradle cars ran to the far end of the building to transport material from the harbour.

Built in the mid 1950s, the structure is 52,500 sq feet (4875 m sq) with a height of 49 ft (15m) to the eaves and 65ft (20m) to the top of the shell. A remarkable engineering feat, the shell roof is a Norwegian invention, developed after World War II when building material was scarce. The large roof span rests on relatively few load-bearing pillars and is only 3 inches (8cm) thick.

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Distribution Center
The transformation and distribution center, with the shell roof on the right. Completed in 1908, this building received, transformed and distributed all power coming from the Tyssedal power station to the smelting plant. Hydoelectric power such as produced at Tyssedal allowed heavy industry to be established in Norway in the early 1900s. In that timeframe, long-distance power distribution wasn’t practical, so plants had to locate near the power source.
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Furnace III
This building housed the third generation furnace for the carbide plant at Odda. Calcium carbide is produced from a mixture of limestone and coke heated to 3,990 °F (2,200 °C) using an electric arc furnace. This requires an immense amount power, about 3500kWh to produce one tonne of carbide.
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Working red-hot metal at a small foundry on the site of the old Odda carbide plant. The facility is part of the Odda Industrial City Museum and is one of the last working industrial forges in the Nordic countries.
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River Opa
Riding our bikes along the beautiful pathway along the river Opa.
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Breaking Even
We’re breaking even on gear today. We made a step forward with the replacement hiking boots, but a big step back when the chain on James bike parted and tore off the derailer, jamming it in the spokes. We do have spare chain, and the local bicycle repair store has a derailer, but they don’t have the derailer hanger. There are literally hundreds of different derailer hangers in use in the industry, so you generally won’t find them in stock at a bike store.

We got lucky on this failure. We’re a couple of miles away from the boat, but it’s all downhill from here.

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Vasthun Bridge
The Vastjun Bridge, built in 1898, crosses the head of the river Opa where it drains from the natural lake Sandvinvatnet.
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Odda from Vasthun
View down to Odda and Sorfjorden from the Vasthun bridge. The guest harbour where we are moored is roughly at center, to the left of the taller red building.
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Dusk in spectacular Odda, looking east from Dirona along the guest harbour with 1,480ft (1,466m) Moyfallsnuten behind.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.


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