Phileas French

Travel Writer

Phileas French

Phileas French

Travel Writer | Exploring every country in the world, one adventure at a time

Out on the Water: Two Unique Faroe Islands Boat Trips

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In the charming downtown harbour area of the Faroese capital, Tórshavn, I picked up a fantastic speed boat which transported me across the high seas, run by local adventure tours experts RIB62. RIB62 offers a wide variety of adventures but the one I chose departed from Tórshavn on a clear, bright afternoon. Before we got started we were issued with a warm and waterproof suit, which is a welcome and necessary component of the experience that follows. Their Tornado boat is ideal for the trips, with a maximum capacity of just 12 (plus crew), and Sigmund and Mortan are exceptional hosts.
It’s hard to prepare for the sensation pelting out of the harbour, zooming past larger boats and reaching impressive speeds as we bounced along. The pace only slowed once we reached Nólsoy island, and started taking in the caves and dramatic sprays of waves all around. More thrilling zooming and then we caught our first glimpse of a beautiful lighthouse, now uninhabited, perched improbably on a cliff with dwellings beside it.

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On some evocative, rather forbidding dark rocks near what must have once been a pirate’s cove, we made landfall for ten minutes. It’s best to avoid walking on the wet or green rocks, a helpful rule of thumb all over the Faroe Islands and a lesson this city girl learned fast. Having scrambled up, the view is peerless: caves and island on one side, limitless blue sea on the other.

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Once the boat had collected us again, it was time for perhaps the highlight of the trip – racing past irresistible puffins fishing in the sea to enter a dappled cave. With cool music blasting out and bouncing against the cave walls, and a surreal artist’s palette of colours visible in the strata of the cave, it’s truly unforgettable.

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The journey back to Torshavn is so ozonic and bracing, I felt like I’d pioneered some new form of sea spray facial. Just when I expected to spin back into the harbour, there’s time for a little more fun…but I don’t want to spoil that final surprise by letting you know what it is. Suffice to say, everyone was giggling and euphoric by the time we pulled into the harbour again.
I couldn’t have asked for more from this boat trip option but because the weather and wind was variable, it was technically my Plan B – it’s important to say that RIB62 also offer a longer excursion, better suited to calmer days, to see the famous bird cliffs of Hestur.
This sea journey seemed hard to beat, so I felt privileged that my next journey was to be on the country’s largest lake, taking in the country’s biggest waterfall. My host on the Lakeside adventure, which is so close to the airport that you could probably get from your plane to the dock in about ten minutes, was the wonderful Ólavur Poulsen.

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Ólavur’s lovely daughter sat quietly knitting throughout most of the voyage, which was both soothing and somehow quintessentially Faroese at the same time. The lake is still, no deeper than 60 metres at any point, and surrounded by the rugged scenery, sheep grazing and picturesque scattered stones, that I have come to love about the Faroes.

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After a tasty and warming breakfast on the boat, I embarked on the nature tour. There is some light climbing to get to the waterfall and the sea views. if I can do it, believe me, anyone can…and Ólavur is both astonishingly nimble and reassuring. I was holding his hand for some of it!

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The climb is rewarded by what must be one of the best views the country offers – and it is the spot where Ólavur chose to watch the solar eclipse in March, who must have been really magical. The descent is through idyllic grassy hills with lambs shyly darting away in all directions.

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On the journey back across the still waters, we enjoyed a wonderful beef and vegetable lunch and paused to watch the Atlantic Airways flight thunder in ahead of us.
Both these wonderful trips were made possible by Jens Kristian Davidsen, owner of some exceptional properties available through Passepartout Homes. Jens is also an encyclopaedic expert on his country, and would be happy to help any of his guests to experience these excursions – I’d strongly suggest that all his guests do.
Phileas French

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Monday, 20 November 2017