Faroe Islands is a kingdom of unspoiled nature. There are not many places in the world where such high, majestic rocks rise from the sea. We sailed on the famous Vestmanna Cliffs to see hundreds of meters of vertical walls, which are the home of thousands of birds.
A two-hour cruise under the spectacular cliffs of Vestmanna is in addition to the incredibly beautiful Mykines absolute “must see” Faroe Islands. Historically, it is also the oldest tourist attraction of this island country. The trip costs the equivalent of 295 DKK per person (children under 5 years old are free), but it is worth every single penny. And the skills that the local skippers show off is the world championship!
The town of Vestmanna is located on the western end of the island of Streymoy – the main island of the archipelago, about half an hour from the capital – Tórshavn. The port from which we will sail out is on the left, when you enter the town. The ticket office is located in a building that houses a restaurant, a shop and a small Saga museum. As is often the case in the Faroe Islands, we have all in one. Because there are only about 50,000 Farers, everyone must be ready to be a seller, fisherman, mayor and driver at the same time.
We pick up previously ordered tickets and go to the small ship. Two hours of cruise ahead of us will take place on one of the most beautiful, but probably also the most dangerous waters in the world. The first mile runs through a narrow strait between the islands of Streymoy and Vagar. We are very close to a cliff covered with juicy grass. Sheep graze on it, jumping like chamois on slippery stones just above the water. Skiper, who is also a bilingual guide (#multitasking), explains that animals risk their lives to taste the waves of seaweed that are extremely tasty and nutritious. Sometimes it happens that the sheep, in the pursuit of a favorite delicacy, during the low tide will go too far and when the tide comes, will not be able to return to a safe meadow. The ocean grabs them, and the sea current with the strength of seven knots (thirteen kilometers per hour!) pulls poor animals into the depths.
When the end of the Vagar island disappears behind us, the Streymoy rock walls shoot upwards to three hundred meters. This is where the bird kingdom begins. Puffins, gulls, oystercatchers and petrels whimper in the air.
Crashed basalt rocks form a real labyrinth on the shore. The skipper, without hesitation, turns into a narrow slot, and the passengers open their mouths in horror. It seems more than certain that in a moment we will smash against the black wall. But the conscientious steersman turns the boat like a rally driver and we flow through the dark cave to the open ocean.
Mists spill over the water. The tops of fantastically shaped rocks disappear somewhere in the gray clouds. We can not take our eyes off the landscape, which seems to be a ready scenography designed for “Game of Thrones”. Rock towers and pyramids grow straight out of navy blue waves. Black basalt is combined with the greenery of lush vegetation, growing on every relatively flat space. Squawking gulls circled overhead.
Wili stands on the deck and grips his small hands on the metal rail. He rises his head trying to see the tops of the rocks that we pass almost scratching paint from the sides. The erosion slowly crumbles several hundred meters of boulders. Some rock blocks are already in shallow water. Others hang on the “word of honor.” A bit of bad luck and our small ship can break in half. A four-year old tries to be brave, but we see that he is genuinely afraid. When the captain announces that this is the last mountain and we leave the labyrinth of rocks – Wili breathes with a marked relief.
The sun comes out for goodbye and the Vestmanna Cliffs lift the veil of clouds a bit. The skipper gives it all forward and we return to the port.
When we moor to the wharf and all tourists are relieved to leave the ladder, Wili breaks the other way. He finds the captain and tells him that he was very afraid that we would break on rocks but he liked it anyway.
“We will not break if I’m the captain,” the skipper smiles.
In the slight fuss on board, I can’t hear what they are talking about, but the discussion must be interesting, because the captain smiles broadly, proudly unfastening the breast covered with a Faroese sweater. Apparently an unexpected compliment from a four year old improves the mood of a brave sailor.