Sailing Lofoten

Arrival Lofoten!

The hardest part of our journey so far has been sailing away from all the beautiful places we’re passing on our way up the coast. And Træna was no exception, especially with the lure of the upcoming Træna Festival which we had to miss out on by a few days. After a day and a half of hiking and diving there, off we sailed into the night. 

View from the Barba bathroom, 2 am, in Reine Lofoten. 

The term night is misleading in these parts, however. Træna is cut through by the Arctic Circle. And ever since we crossed over it there we’ve had nonstop sun and daylight. We try to stick to normal operating hours as best we can, sailing through the night so we can sleep our way to the next destination. Under normal weather conditions, we have two hours on watch and then the next eight hours off. As the captain of the boat, I get to sleep by myself in the bow surrounded by sails, diving gear and paragliders. I would not call it a privilege, however. On average, the bow is the worst place to sleep since it’s the part of the boat that moves the most. My “sleep” consists of quite a few zero-gravity moments as the boat blows through the waves. And these are counterbalanced, of course, by high impact encounters with my none-too-soft mattress.

Nevertheless, from my bow position I get a far better feeling for what’s going on with the boat when I’m not on watch. I can get an idea for the speed by listening to how the waves hit the hull, and I instantly feel it if the sails are not properly set. An advantage in the bow is that your senses aren’t disturbed by the sounds of the engine, which we have had to use quite a bit, traveling as we are against the prevailing Northwesterly winds.

After leaving Træna we sailed straight across open ocean to the westernmost point of Lofoten, the island of Røst. Unfortunately, when we arrived the island was shrouded in fog.

In port in Røst. Photo by Daniel Hug /

In earlier Barba days this would have been cause for quite some concern. But with new electronics onboard from Pronav (more about this in a later post) including radar and the ability to see the position of other vessels directly on the map with the AIS system, we navigated into Røst with much peace of mind.

Cod hanging out to dry. Ancient food conservation techniques are still very much alive on Røst in Lofoten. Photo by Daniel Hug /

Røst is famous for its dried codfish production, which even today is hung outdoors in the ideal ocean breezes to dry as it is throughout Lofoten. The islands here have a rich history that date back to the Stone Age and are home to important nesting bird populations, including puffins. But with only a few hours in Røst before sailing onward into Lofoten we missed out on most of this. We did have the chance to meet a friendly local and enjoy a coffee and some stockfish chips at his pub while he regaled us with stories of the Italian captain Pietro Quirini, from Venice, who shipwrecked here in the 15th century (there’s still an opera held on Røst in his name every summer).  

Jon navigating Barba to Reine. Photo by Daniel Hug /

Our next destination was Reine, the poster child of Lofoten’s extreme beauty, with its craggedy mountains still streaked with snow and harbor bobbing with fishing boats. We abandoned Barba in port to climb the nearby peak, Reinebringen, and enjoy the view of yet another sailing playground.


Lofoten (4 of 10)

Quick pit-stop at a cozy cafe in Røst. 

Lofoten (5 of 10)

Departing Røst as the fog momentarily lifts, only to reappear 30 minutes later. Photo by Ivan Kutasov. 

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Out hiking in Reine. Barba visible in the center of the photo. Photo by Daniel Hug /

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Ivan and Terry provisioning in Reine. Photo by Daniel Hug /

Lofoten (7 of 10)

One last view of Reine before leaving. By Daniel Hug /

Featured photo of crew sailing by Ivan Kutasov. 

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8 years ago

Wow that shot of Reine looks like another planet. So no more scallop feasts for Barba?

I guess you guys will have to work on your beard growing and sweater knitting skills

8 years ago

Wonderful pictures and a bunch of very good people visiting us in Nyvågar. We wish you a wonderful journey and good results from your journey up north.

Ulf, Ingrid , Grete and Eivind

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