National Geographic Explorer took us past the Snaefjellsnes Peninsula in the wee hours of the morning to Flatey, where we enjoyed live music from the Icelandic band Brek. In the afternoon, we landed to explore this tiny island’s main attractions: a church, Iceland’s oldest library, and a healthy puffin colony.
National Geographic Endurance
Lofoten Islands, Norway
This morning, we woke up just off Værøy, one of the outer Lofoten Islands. For centuries, this has been a core area for cod fishing. After breakfast, we set ashore at Måstad on the southern side of Værøy. The primary livelihoods of fishing, agriculture, and bird hunting made this old fishing village one of the most unique settlements in Norway. Måstad had approximately 150 inhabitants up to World War II. The lack of roads, electricity, and a good harbour resulted in the closing of the only store in 1940, followed by the local school in 1953. The last residents left in 1974, and the last inhabitant of Måstad died in 1982. Today, the few remaining houses are a precious link to their descendants and are carefully restored and maintained as summer homes. We spent the whole morning ashore. Most of the guests chose to go hiking along an old horse trail that connects Måstad to the northern side of the island. Other guests preferred to walk around on their own. After a good lunch and a break, we docked at Reine, a vibrant fishing village in Lofoten. This village is framed by spectacular scenery and has a combination of old and new buildings. Up until the end of the 19th century, many cabins were constructed to offer shelter for fishermen coming with their rowboats. These cabins were called “rorbu,” or rower’s cabin, and were used by hundreds of fishermen and land-based workers. The village was a self-contained community where the squire was responsible for everything, from the cabins, the shop, the steamship office, and the bank, to the buying and exportation of cod. After an informative recap and another great dinner, our day of exploration had still more in store. Just after 9:00 pm, Captain Aaron and his team gently maneuvered National Geographic Endurance through the extremely narrow passage into Trollfjord, a very scenic little fjord to the north of Lofoten Islands. What a wonderful finale to another great day of exploration along the coast of Norway!