Day 9 |
Jun 16, 2011

Leknes, Lofoten Islands, Norway

By Astrid Guenther-Weigl, Biologist, Veterinarian

Co-ordinates: 68°08’N, 13°34’E
Weather: sunny
Air Temperature: 16°C
Pressure: 1011 hPa

It was seven o’clock when we anchored off the coast of Vestvågǿy, one of the main islands of Lofoten. Sunshine, snow-covered granite peaks and calm seas seemed to be a promising surrounding for a perfect day.

I went with the island bus tour, which started at 8 o’clock. Driving to the Nusfjord fishing village, our first destination was a pleasure, as we went through a spectacular landscape, green meadows covered with yellow butter-cups, red painted houses, snow-covered mountains, turquoise seas and white sandy beaches.

Nusfjord is one of the best-preserved fishing villages in the Lofoten. This picturesque small settlement with all its red-coloured wooden houses at the end of the Nusfjord gives a nice example of a typical historic fishing village in the northern area of Norway. The tiny tucked-away harbour was charming. Accompanied by kittiwakes, I walked along and through the old cod-liver oil factory, the boat house and the sawmill and would have loved to stay longer.

Our next stop was at Flakstad, where we all took photographs of this amazing white, sandy beach fronting a sparkling blue-green bay with, of course, snow-capped arctic peaks in the background.

Finally we visited the Lofoten Viking Museum, which offered a glimpse of life in Viking times. This Museum was build in the 1980s after a farmer found on his land the remnants of a Viking longhouse, which is considered today to be one of the most important archaeological findings in northern Scandinavia. Our local guide, Ann, gave us a very vivid introduction into Viking times and explained the collection of items found at the excavation site.

Back on board, lunch was served and Silver Explorer sailed for Tromso. At 2.30 p.m. Sue gave a talk on the making of the BBC/Discovery series “The Blue Planet”. The stories she told and the pictures she showed were amazing. Belugas stuck in the ice and polar bears hunting for them. It was incredible how all these creature tried desperately to survive the icy prison, although the extremely moving hunt of orcas on a grey whale calf seemed to be more a kind of teaching exercise for juveniles.

And the day’s spectacular events did not stop there. At 4 p.m. the Captain decided to enter the Trollfjord, which is one of the most spectacular fjords in Scandinavia, bordered by steep granite hills, and narrowing to only 100 m. I think all of us gathered on deck to enjoy the impressive landscape.

Recap was informative as always, and funny, as Toby talked about knot gardens and how to cut them.

After this long day full of exciting events, I enjoyed dinner in nice company with the ship still on its way along the impressive North Norwegian coast and the sea bathed in the arctic midnight sun.