Antipole cruises

Bodø to the Lofoten Islands


We liked Bodø.  We had a berth close to the busy waterfront.

Bodø was mostly bombed out by the Germans in WW2 and has been rebuilt with some surprising modern architecture.  We particularly enjoyed the magnificent spacious library on the waterfront with good WiFi and an excellent café.

Further NE along the coast

From Bodø we sailed further up the coast on the east side.  The wind was erratic and after it failed we motored into an anchorage in the remote archipelago of Engelvær.  This is a nature reserve and we watched a pair of white-taled eagles. It looked like we would not be able to progress the next day for lack of wind.

We had had supper and were about to settle down for the night when a good SW 4-5 wind sprang up.  We decided to take it for the 22nm passage to Straumhamn, arriving at 3:45am.  ‘Night’ sailing is rather easy when the sun does not set! We were enveloped in mist for a while but it magically cleared just as we entered the fjord of Straumhamn.

Straumhamn is a very spectacular bay mostly too deep to anchor.  However, there is a beautiful sandy cove which we could utilise with our shallow draft and we had a lovely day there.

With strong NE winds forecast for 36 hours, we decided to sit them out in Straumhamn, although we were concerned about the possibility of ‘fall wind’ or turbulence from the mountains.  We deployed the kedge anchor out astern to stop us swinging around. 

The wind was very gusty and hit us from all directions.  We spent a very uncomfortable night fully clothed in case we needed to leap into action and took turns to keep watch.  Fortunately, it was warm and never dark and the main anchor held well, despite big snatches.  The smaller kedge dragged.

The Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands are like a large arm hanging SW from the north of Norway.  We were already close to the armpit so it was just 12nm across to Risvær – a fishing village comprising two islands with a long narrow channel between them. This will be our northern-most point.


From Risvær we had a slow peaceful passage to Svolvær, the de facto capital of the islands.  Svolvær is a transport hub and is busy with holidaymakers arriving.  There are many businesses offering excursions into the surroundings to see sea eagles etc. – things with which we are very familiar.

Accidentally, we discovered a magnificent mirror sculpture which reflects the various sky colours.  The harbour entrance has a prominent and poignant sculpture of a fisherman’s wife looking out to sea while shielding her eyes from the sun.


A short passage took us to Henningsvær, another fishing village formed in the long passage between two islands.

Henningsvær is well-preserved and a major tourist attraction. There are lots of cafés, restaurants and craft shops.

From Henningsvær we worked our way southwest along the islands. We put into Stamsund but were put off by pieces of whale blubber floating in the harbour and moved on. After a night at anchor, we came to Sørvågen.

Sørvågen and Å

Sørvågen is a very pleasant fishing harbour near the southwest end of the islands. We berthed on a pontoon below Maren Anna, a rather excellent restaurant, where we enjoyed an evening meal.

A couple of miles further on is the village of Å. It has no space for visiting yachts, so we cycled from Sørvågen. Å is preserved as a traditional fishing harbour and a tourist hotspot with a fishing museum.

Norway, especially in the north, is largely rocky mountains descending into the sea. Buildings are often built on stilts on the edge of the water.

The traditional rorbuer (red fishing huts) are today popular holiday lets.

From Sørvågen, we needed to make the 50nm passage back to Bodø. We have been blessed with much fine summer weather with blue skies but very little wind. The most reliable winds are often in the ‘night’ and we have leant to ignore our normal preference for day sailing and go when the wind dictates. The sun never sets so this ‘night’ sailing can be very pleasant, although our body clocks still complain.

We are now back on Bodø and will be working our way southwards over the coming weeks.

That’s our news for now.

love, Tony & Ynskje

Our latest tracklog can be seen here.

2 thoughts on “Bodø to the Lofoten Islands

  1. liz pill

    It all looks wonderful; Such great photos. Love the ones of the sun and moon and what an amazing mirror sculpture! All the best for your passage south.
    Liz x

  2. Alison Naisby

    Glad to hear that all’s going well for you, despite uncooperative winds at times & lack of sleep for night sailing!
    Places you’ve visited look amazing, wonderful buildings & sculptures. All best wishes for the next leg of your journey.
    Love Alison & David xx

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