Mainly kayaking photographs taken on the Isle of Man and beyond.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Isle of Man Kayakblog - Moskenestraumen!

Wisely or not I paddled from the tiny, historical fishing village of A to Hell a couple of days ago. Every now and again I undertake a paddle which remains memorable and will stick with me forever. This was one such paddle.
A consists of many Rorbuer, or fisherman's huts, many on stilts overhanging the sea. These were constructed to accommodate the hundreds of migrant fishermen who arrived in Lofoten for the seasonal cod fishing period over the Winter. These days, tourists, including us, inhabit them as fishing has become less labour intensive.
I really wasn't sure what to expect on this paddle. I wanted to do it last time I was in Lofoten but I couldn't get hold of a boat. This time I had my Rockpool. On the way down I passed puffins, several pairs of Golden Eagles and a myriad of sea birds. However, as I neared the end of the main chain of Lofoten Islands, I began to feel nervous as I heard an all too familiar roar of a tidal race. Was this the infamous Moskenstraumen or Maelstrom? Renowned for pulling under fishing boats, whirlpools and the fastest ever recorded tidal currents at 18 km/hr I was now very worried. The roar grew loader and yet there were no signs of tidal activity. I turned the corner at the end of the last main island and entered the Maestorm (lower photo) and paddled towards the aptly named "Hell"! There was that roar but there was nothing. There was less tide than on a slow day at the Calf. The roar I heard was the boiling, fizzing commotion of thousands of fish leaping all around me. Somewhat relieved, I paddled back towards A and caught a speedy tidal stream about a mile off the coast. It was a taste of what this place is capable of as the Rockpool became a rocket and took me home in record time.
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