The Lofoton Islands

So the wind picked up and helped us across a bit of open water to the Lofoton Islands – the bit that sticks out – just above the Arctic Circle…

We pulled into the capital – Svolvaer at about 6.30pm and jumped off for a look around.  Now let me just describe how cold it was.  It. Was. Brisk!

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There were a few restaurants open, but nothing else really happening in the town, and who can blame them?  Any sane person would have been inside….

We wandered down the harbour – this is how they store boats here, just stacked one on top of the other on pallets.  There is one trailer there, but there were a whole heap of boats of varying size and brand that were just plonked on pallets.  It did make you wonder how they were going to get them up on trailers…. or maybe they just push them over the side here?  That’s the water to the right.

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Some of you will know this story, but once upon a time, Me Jenny wrote her name down for a subscription to a magazine and somehow they read her name as Jerry Blomm, so from that time on, she’s been know to us as Jerry or Blommy or sometimes – The Blomster!  Very fitting.

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This walk was very short lived because it was BLOODY COLD… There were people from the ship who went on excursions at this port.

* Some went on a 4 hour hiking trip
* Some went on a 4 hour horse riding trip
* Some went on the Atlantic Road to a fishing village – also for 4 hours…. at least they were on a bus for most of it.

At 6.30pm.  In the dark.  In the freezing cold.  We’d gotten back on board, had our dinner and got rugged up and were asleep before those people had even got back on in the next port.

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How many faces can you see here?

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There are a lot of myths and fairy tales and sagas and stories in Norway and this picture below tells the story of the Seven Sisters.

So the story goes….. there was a man named Vågekallen, who lived in Lofoten and was spurned by women in the south.  One female by the name of  Lekamøya even called him  simpleton. One evening when Lekamøya had gone to Tjøtta to make unleavened bread, seven beautiful unmarried sisters escaped from their father, the King of Sulitjelma. When Vågekallen saw the seven sisters dancing naked in the fjord, the temptation proved too great for him. He mounted his horse and rode south in pursuit of the seven sisters.

From Tjøtta where she was baking, Lekamøya heard the huge commotion, dropped her rolling pin, peel and pastry board and rushed home to Leka. Hestmannen, who was woken by the noise, shot an arrow south. However, the King of Brønnøy Island (Skarvågsgubben) saw this and threw his hat up to intercept the arrow which landed in the sea.

At this point, all the individuals were turned into stone as they had forgotten the golden rule. According to Norwegian folk tales, trolls are turned to stone if they do not hide before the sun rises.

In Tjøtta today are three stone monuments which are said to represent the rolling pin, peel and pastry board, on Torget Island in Brønnøy municipality, the Torghatten mountain has a hole in the center where the arrow shot through and Lekamøya stands at Leka.

As far as I’m concerned this story doesn’t make a lot of sense.  But there is an island mountain with a hole in it – I didn’t see it because I was in the bath, but Jenny assures me it exists, still a pretty thin story.  Maybe the meaning and the sense has been lost in the generational telling…. or maybe it’s lost in translation?

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This is what it looks like in winter and apparently when the snow melts, there’s 7 waterfalls which would be a sight to see.

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We’re slowly making our way down the coast and across the lines of latitude.  After the Lofoton Islands, our next stop was in Nesna, which sits just below the Arctic Circle.

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And we got sertifikas to prove it.  I just noticed that Australia and New Zealand didn’t crack a mention on this map.

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After the wind and clouds had picked up yesterday and this morning, it was lovely to sail into this lovely, calm little town of Bronnoysund, where the sun had even seen fit to shine a little.  We were here for an hour, so we jumped off and went for a wander.

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I wouldn’t say that I’m an engineer or anything, but I do think that if they had built that shed near the water a little to the left, they could have saved themselves from having to add the support poles…. I could be wrong.

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This is where you launch your boat – there’s not a massive amount of room for error and it does make for getting onto your boat after you’ve launched a little tricky…

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And speaking of room for error…. this big boat gets into some tiny ports, but then again they do it every day and have been for the past 100+ years, so they probably know what they’re doing.

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Don’t you just love it when a town turns it on for your visit? (Lady Di doing a bit of contemplating)

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It started to rain as we pulled away.

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But not before giving us a bit of a rainbow.

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What do they say about red sky at night?  I think it might be sailor’s delight.

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Or at least at gives us some lovely lighting…. this island could be in the Kimberley!

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Because of a few factors:

1. we’re moving south
2. low activity
3. cloud cover

We didn’t see the northern lights last night and the chances are getting smaller as we get further below and beyond the AC (that’s the Arctic Circle for those in the know, or for wankers who won’t stop talking about having been there)  So I fear that our quest for northern lights may be over for this trip.  We did see them once or maybe twice, if you can count the second time, so it wasn’t a complete loss, but not in the way that we thought we would.  It seemed that everywhere we went they had just had amazing lights the week or night before and when we tell them that we had been looking in the previous place, the next place always said, “Oh no, you’ll never see them there.” even though they just did.  We were starting to think that the girl in the Santa’s Village souvenir shop was the only person telling the brutal honest truth – “You’ve picked the worst time of year to come.”  Thanks lady, thanks for crushing our dreams…. and at Santa’s Village too.

This is sort of what we saw – these are not my photos though –
Next two photos by: Guide to Iceland

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You’ve got to roll with the weather up here in these parts.  It changes at the drop of a beanie and scarf.  One minute it’s cloudy and the next it’s a clear sky with millions of stars – you just have to be up and ready and awake to catch it all….. you also have to wait until there is activity and obviously the stronger the better….. cause then maybe we would have seen this….. (Obviously not my photo!!!)

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Photo: Visit Norway

2 thoughts on “The Lofoton Islands

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