Late one afternoon in Hennisgvaer, we had planned to summit Festvågtind but the stormiest Arctic weather we were yet to know was blowing in with a vengeance. Weather reports can’t be trusted up there, but we tried our luck. The storm was predicted to leave the harbour in the wee hours of the next morning. Optimistically we set our alarm for 1am, 2am and 3am, planning that the moment the hail stopped, our hiking boots would be tied on and we would set off. But the storm never stopped and the wind continued on howling, blowing hail balls against our window. Ping ping ping. We eventually gave up on the idea of the hike and with the sounds of the storm’s solo game of icy ping pong against the small glass pane we fell back to sleep.
Waking up to more sigh inducing weather, we threw our rucksacks back into our quarter sized car and decided to head further north, leaving the Lofoten archipelago in the rear view and hopefully some of that weather too. We had always expected the scenery to kind of peter out because we had seldom heard anything about the Vesterålen Islands - but as we wound around the fjords and through moose and reindeer territory, the dramatic scenery never faded.
We were headed to a little beach front settlement called Bleik, mostly known these days for whale watching, a space centre and of course - a pyramid shaped island that sits just outside the harbour and acts as a romantic summertime escape for thousands of puffins.
In all honesty, the idea of seeing puffins was the sole reason for this last minute decision and due to this being our only objective at the time - we set off sans research with no idea of what we were headed for and what we might see. We just knew that we had to be at the Bleik harbour by 3pm if we were to have any chance to sight those cute black and white birds. Estimated travel times from Google were as unreliable as the weather, with our casual three hour journey turning into a 6 hour non-stop time trial powered predictably by kanelsnurrer and black coffee ⚓️