Vegsteinen, NE Vega 65:41.134N 012:01.702E
Frans & Sarah Toonen
Sat 25 Jul 2015 15:20
|Saturday 25th July 2015. 22.2nm, 4.9 engine hours as wind on the nose mostly but managed a little motor sailing to ease the load on the prop. The water clarity through the skerries was amazing with all shades of turquoise apparent over sand and rock.|
During the whole trip we saw groups of puffins headed the other way carrying fish in their beaks. They seemed to be headed towards Lovund but we wonder why they have to fish so far from the nesting site.
Vega is an area comprising a staggering 6500 islands, islets and skerries. This archipelago became a World Heritage Area in 2004 because the characteristic landscape remains unchanged by more than 1500 years of sustainable living by generations of farmer/fishermen based on the now unique practice of eiderdown harvesting. The ‘strandflat’ is unique in that the flat land surrounding the high peaks is up to 30kms wide. High peaks normally carry on straight down to the ocean depths so the geology is very special.
Sarah had to walk 3.5 kms each way from the boat to get to the tourist office for a bike, the bike trip around the island was 30kms and so she felt she’d done most of an Ironman challenge and it’s too cold to swim anyway.
The eiderdown is not stolen from the birds if you are wondering. Since the 9th Century the women folk of Vega have tended the ducks providing simple shelters where each April the birds return to the same spot and make a bed of down on the ground to conceal and protect the eggs. The chicks only stay in the nest for a few days so the nests are collected and cleaned by hand. Each quilt needs 60-70 nests and eiderdown is special because it is the only down with fine barbs which cling together remaining light and fluffy unlike other feather and down alternatives.
For our wedding anniversary yesterday we had motored 29.5nm from Lovund to Sandnessjøen which is a little town on the mainland. We had hoped to find a restaurant but neither the run down Chinese nor the scruffy pizza joint were tempting so we shopped for our favourite cold treats and made a buffet. We do know how to have a good time though even if it’s raining so we did an oil change together. Just as well with all the motoring this season.