Thursday, 17 September 2009

Å – a village in the Lofoten islands close to the Maëlstrom

At the end of the line of European route E10, like a finis terra of the North, Å is a red jewel in a landscape of blue sea and rocky mountains.

Å i Lofoten is one of Norway's most authentic traditional fishing villages; there are 33 listed buildings at the resort.

Å is pronounced [oː] , from the Norwegian å (a small river); the village was for many years specialised in stockfish, as shown in the Lofoten Stockfish Museum.

The main building at left is a former fish saltery, we can still see some cod drying.

Old one-man’s fishing boat

Most of its red houses (rorbu) are now tourist cabins; unlike most of Lofoten towns, here the fishing activity ended and tourism is the main economic source.

In the background of Å , you can reach Lake Ågvatnet sourrounded by impressive peaks. This glacially carved lake is very close to being a fjord.

The Maëlstrom (Moskenstraumen)
When the E10 road ends, you come face to face with the infamous "Maelstrom“, one of the world’s strongest tidal currents creating whirlpools, resulting from the tides stuck by the Lofoten barrier .

First described by Pytheas the Greek over 2000 years ago, it has since then been marked on innumerable sea charts together with terrifying illustrations and warnings.

Fantasy descriptions appeared in European geographic literature in the 17th and 18th century. Edgar Allan Poe has written a short story called ´A Descent into the Maelstrom´ about it, and Jules Verne mentions it in the book ´20,000 Leagues Under the Seas´.
The “swirling, hissing, spinning waters” of the Moskenstraumen.

The strait is about 4-5 kilometres across and 40-60 metres deep, and is considerably shallower than the surrounding sea. The tide fills up the Vestfjord twice a day, and the difference in height between high and low tides can be up to 4 metres. Midway between high and low tide, the current changes direction, and this is when the whirlpools begin to appear, with speeds of up to 6 knots.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Fog over my town


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg

Fog often falls over my town, in the morning. It gets misterious and acquires a distinctive beauty. I have learned to like a foggy dawn.