Over the past two days we explored the remote southern islands of Røst and Værøy which form the very tip of the Lofoten Island chain. These rocky outcrops are the last vestiges of land before stone gives way to water and the land slips below turgid waters if the gulf stream. Here puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes, guillemots and sea eagles flock to the nesting cliffs and buzz overhead like bush flies in the Australian outback. People are somewhat less common and the harbours here retain some of the outpost feeling of a fishing town isolated from the rest of the world with not a care except the next catch of cod. And speaking of cod … you can still smell these towns long before you are amongst the picturesque houses – cod hang in endless rows drying on the sun and assuring all approaching that cod is the heart and soul of life in Lofoten. Our first night in the islands was spent tied up a mere ten paces from thousands of cod carcasses gently swaying in the wind … Widdershins is starting to absorb the aroma ….
Right now we have moved on from the southern islands, crossing the ominous Maelstrom with the reputation of a swirling eddy of water with a penchant for dragging boats down to the watery depths. Being the brave seafarers we are, we charged past the Maelstrom a mere hairs breadth from the swirling waters of death … well we could see them anyway … or we could see where it was still … in the distance. Now we sit with the warm sun on our back relaxing with a cup of coffee and recuperating after a steep climb to a mountain overlooking the town of Reine. The view was spectacular with the crystal clear waters of Lofoten lapping against the rugged cliffs below and the jagged snow-capped peaks towering above – it is a landscape that is unique to this fantastic part of the world.