• Mark

Come here to blow your mind!

Sometimes you need time to reflect; the jury always rests before arriving at a verdict and sometimes you simply do not know what to say. The silence here since Asha posted her blog is due to the latter!

I haven’t been stuck for words as such. I have simply been trying to process all that has happened and find some words that do not mirror the complete jumble of sensory and emotional overload that has taken over my headspace!

I have previously suggested that the creator may have been more excited about creating some places than others and whilst I don’t think he has any competition, I do feel that he may have been showing off slightly with the Faroe Islands! Despite being here for two weeks, I am still not used to what my eyes see at all! It is almost incomprehensible and unlike anything I have seen before. The scale is impossible to calibrate and the vastness impossible to gauge! To use the word correctly, for once, the Faroe Islands are awesome!

We have been in Fuglafjord for a week and it has provided a fantastically well protected place for us to take our brains out. Altor is alongside a floating pontoon which means no worries about going up and down a concrete wall with the tide and therefore no concerns about any parts of the boat getting caught under big old tyres as we rise with the tide.

The expression ‘Never let the truth get in the way of a good story’ often has a lot of value when things need to be spiced up a little but that is not the case here at all. So without any bells or whistles, I am simply going to type a little account of our time here so far.

When we arrived last Saturday we met a local guy and his wife when they came onto the pontoon to welcome us to Fuglafjord. They saw Altor on her way in from their house overlooking the fjord and came to say hello.

The next day we went for a tour, by car, to Leirvík, Klaksvík and various points along the way followed by a beautiful lunch with an amazing view over the fjord. I can stare at the fjord just like I can stare at fire. You try to process what’s in front of you and force yourself to accept that what look like toy boats at the foot of a green slope are actually huge trawlers at the foot of a mountain and the small floating rings in the water are in fact vast salmon fish farms. You’ve almost got it at this point but once you have the trawlers and the fish farms in perspective your brain has no choice but to try and comprehend the vast expanse of the fjord itself and then the vast green slopes of the mountains above you and all of a sudden it’s gone again! You simply can’t do it. Instead you shake your head and start to pick up all the pieces of your blown mind all over again! It becomes mesmerising and almost hypnotic. I feel like I am in a dream state and this process happens to me several times a day!

The next day (Monday) was a normal work day for Asha and I spent the day editing videos and playing with my favourite toy. Altor always needs something, either that or there is something that I want to give her. This is all in the spirit of the ‘I look after you and you look after us’ arrangement.

Tuesday was a very special day. We went out fishing with a professional fisherman onboard Altor. Throughout my life I have, at various times, cast my line off a boat. This started when I was less than ten years old on my Mum and Dad’s boat. Back then eels were the only catch and my Dad had to deal with them! More recently I have enjoyed a small amount of success with mackerel and pollack but here was a chance to fish in these beautiful waters with someone who actually knows what he is doing! Our professional said ‘We will catch, for sure’! I rejected my own pessimistic feelings born from my woeful track record and concentrated on these optimistic words as we got Altor’s engine started, dropped the lines and motored out of the fjord. We motored for no more than twenty minutes, stopped the engine and drifted. We dropped our lines down to the bottom in 65 meters of water and got to work. The seagulls flocked around us and I realised that they too seemed to be as sure as the professional! Well, ye of little faith! Within an hour we had pulled ten absolutely beautiful cod and haddock from the deep using lures and local knowledge regarding their feeding habits at the turn of the tide. Science, experience and skill in perfect harmony and none of these ingredients belonging to me!! These were the best fish I have ever caught and this was the best fishing day of my life, all in one hour! Asha caught two, I caught a few and our professional did the rest! The bare fact is that these fish tasted better than any fish I have ever tasted before and why wouldn't they? Great quality cod and haddock caught in the crystal clear waters of a Faroese fjord on a rod and line. Afterwards we sat on the deck in beautiful warm sunshine and chatted as we continued drifting gently with the tide amongst this stunning landscape. It was bliss!

That evening we dined out in style overlooking the fjord, walked up the hillside at twilight and sat outside on a beautiful warm Faroese evening enjoying some great company and far too much wine!!

If it sounds like we have been living the high life since arriving in Fulgafjord, we have! But why? Have we become intoxicated by reaching our most northern latitude and thus decided to treat ourselves with some of the luxuries of life?

No, that’s not what has happened. At this point we will rewind a little.

The friendly local couple who spotted our arrival in Fuglafjord and came to say hello were also our tour guides, lunch hosts, professional fisherman and dinner hosts! They welcomed us like we have never been welcomed anywhere before, showed us around, invited us into their home, introduced us to their son, daughter and their family cat!

My home town, Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, has always had a friendly countryside vibe but in all honestly, probably due to it’s proximity to London, I feel that this has been diluted slowly but steadily over recent years. I always walk around the town saying hello to people and I joke to Asha that I am trying to make the world a friendlier place, one hello at a time! One hello is easy and whilst some people look at me like I am weird, other people’s faces light up and they happily return the gesture. This simple friendly interaction between strangers in your own town feels good but can you imagine how good it feels to venture to a distant shore by your own means and be welcomed so warmly, generously and genuinely by people you have never met? This is the true epitome of human kindness and it’s even more special when it leads to a sincere friendship.

Thank you so very much Eileen and Sjúrdur. It has been absolutely wonderful to spend time with you and your family.


It's hard to concentrate on sailing with all this happening around Altor

This is Eidi and it's new football pitch. The old one (two photos above) is now a campsite. I imagine a northerly wind would have made for a cold game!!

Fuglafjord.

What a day to go fishing!

and what beautiful fish!

Looking down onto Fuglafjord from the hillside

The gorge at Gjogv. Some brave souls bring their boats in here. We won't be trying that!

At sea these beauties won't come near you. On land it's more like "Yeah? What you looking at'?

Jumpers do not get any better than home knitted Faroese wool! Thank you Eileen!


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