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Islands of the North Atlantic Trip report

Vote for boat

First day in a while that we haven’t had to pack up and move in the morning, and instead of poking people into early wakefulness, I seem to have let us all sleep in. So with a hard 2PM deadline to meet our boat driver for a booked visit to the local maelstrom, we got off to a leisurely start. We needed bread for our picnic, so asked at reception where we might find some, and they said that while the Coop in Reine would have some, Anita’s in Sakrisoy would be both closer and would have bread from a relatively local baker. Dad and I set off to get some, early, as it was only four minutes down the road. Anita turns out to be the proprietor of a most marvellous fish shop, which also sold a variety of gourmet produce, including freshly baked sourdough bread. Which was excellent. Lots of stockfisk (dried cod) in various forms too, hence the display of cod heads by the entrance. We noticed that they also served espresso and related beverages, so we resolved to come back for morning coffee on our way. The coffee and the cinamon knots were excellent.

We were lucky to find a parking space in the middle of Reine: the bulk of the spots turned out to be either short term (30 minutes) or required money for parking tickets, but the spot we found was unsigned and therefore good for the duration.

We spent a lovely couple of hours walking around Reine, and out along the harbour groin, looking for the best angles, and also looking for a good picnic spot. There were many obvious picnic spots laid out in a field of grass in the middle of town, and some on the boardwalk by the smaller marina, but eventually we found a nicely secluded jetty in through the Rorbuer at the northern end of the village, complete with two unoccupied picnic tables. So that’s where we had our lunch. Slight menu variation today: we had finished the smoked salmon, so today our sandwiches (on the fresh sourdough, remember) were of parma ham.

The post lunch WC visit was slightly fraught because the signposted ones near the marina needed a 5NOK coin to open the door, and we had none of that denomination. The petrol station shop had a free toilet though, so we were saved. They also changed my 20K coin for four fives, should the need arise again.

At two we were at the designated meeting spot at the boat tour offices, where we had to get into floatation suits (!) to be ready. Very warm on land in a floatation suit. Luckily we were quickly pointed in the direction of the pier in the marina, and then onto the RIB, which was fitted with motorcycle-style seating of about ten places (booking was full). Quite tricky to lift one’s leg over the seat, while wearing a floatation suit, but we managed. Two 600HP Evinrude outboards on the back. This was not an underpowered boat.

Some bumpy water and spray later, we entered the harbour of Å, and heard a story about it, and then came in to the site of an abandonned fishing village a bit further south, until at last we came to the very southern tip of Moskensoya, where the maelstrom is to be found. Today though, it was calm and quiet. Weather and tides can’t necesarily be commanded, one assumes. So having found no maelstrom, we set across the strait to the little islands further south, and found a large gannet rookery and several (at least five) large sea eagles. Spent some time bobbing around looking at them. Then back across the strait, into the wind this time, so a good deal bumpier, and into a little harbour just at the south-western tip of Moskensoya, which had also been the location of some fishing vilages, now gone. Apparently around the fifties petrol engines came to boats, which made them larger and deeper draft, so some old places were no longer suitable, and also the government decided that these remote places were too expensive to provide electricity and water, so the people were encouraged to move. Left the harbour behind and motored back to Reine, numb of bum but very pleased by the excitement of the journey.

Back to our Robru for rest and clean up, then a lovely dinner at the local restaurant (Krambua).

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