Photo: Tonje Brattås
Tonje Brattås Articles / 16 Nov 2020

Tonje's Travelogue 15: Spectacular Lofoten & Trollfjord Cruise

We had both been looking forward to this day. We were going to explore a classic Lofoten experience with a modern twist, and see the majestic Trollfjord in quiet comfort on board an hybrid electric boat. We would depart from Svolvær and spend the day at sea, on the MS Bard Trollfjord cruise in Lofoten with the chance to see eagles, whales, dolphins, and seals.

Photo: Tonje Brattås

Under usual circumstances, MS Bard is located in Svalbard with the Brim Explorer being based in Svolvær. Unfortunately, the Svalbard operation is on hold until Corona restrictions are eased.

Svolvær is the largest town in Lofoten with around 4800 inhabitants. The town is known for its spectacular location, its proximity to the sea, nature, and unique outdoor experiences. One of Lofoten's most recognizable landmarks, Svolværgeita overlooks the town.

The Svolvær goat is two rock formations shaped like goat horns that loom over the town below. The double peak, at 590 meters above sea level, caps off nearby Mount Fløya. The trio of Ferdinand Schjelderup, Alf Bonnevie Bryn, and Carl Wilhelm Rubenson first conquered Svolværgeita, on 1st August 1910. A hundred years later, nine-year-old Magnus Holm became the youngest person to reach the top while also making the 1.5 meters leap between the two horns. This is a feat that has been repeated many times over by daredevils across the world who have also used bikes and somersaults for an extra twist.

Photo: Tonje Brattås

Upon arrival in the harbor, the spectacular ships caught our eye as straight away. The hybrid electric ships Brim Explorer and MS Bard are built as catamarans. An incredible amount of time and thought has been put into the layout and construction to optimize the boats as viewing platforms with a completely unique design.

We were greeted by a smiling host with a broad Nordland dialect and other expectant guests with large cameras around their necks. We found a grandstand behind the large windows that gave us as good a view as if we had been sitting outside.

Photo: Tonje Brattås

With a fresh cinnamon roll and coffee in hand, it was time to explore the catamaran and the beautiful surrounding nature. From the boat we were able to see the stunning landscape with jagged peaks, the onboard guides were extremely knowledgeable and told us that the rock formations here are some of the oldest in Norway as a result of being unchanged since before the Last Ice Age.

The guides were quick to point out playful dolphins and inquisitive seals who seemed to be stalking the boat as we edged closer to the fjord. A huge Sea Eagle suddenly swept across the bow of the boat as we scanned the horizon to see three or four more perched on a rocky outcrop staring back at us.

Photo: Tonje Brattås

Trollfjorden is located on the southernmost part of Vesterålen, just north of Svolvær. It is only three kilometers long, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in a dramatic way!

As we approached, we switched to electric propulsion, and we cruised silently into the magical fjord surrounded by steep, wild mountains with waterfalls on both sides. This fjord passage leads deep into Trolltindenfjellet and ends at the dramatic Raftsundet.

The name Trollfjorden comes from the word troll, a mysterious and frightening creature from Norse mythology who lives in mountains and caves. Obviously accessible by boat, it is also possible to hike to the fjord. We have been told however that this is quite an arduous 10-kilometer hike through very rugged terrain.

Photo: Tonje Brattås

On the day that we traveled it turned out that one of the owners, Espen Larsen-Hakkebo were also onboard, and we were lucky enough to spend a little time with Espen talking about his and Agnes Árnadóttirs project. What I was most curious about was how the adventure with Brim Explorer started.

We decided to design a modern and environmentally friendly sightseeing boat that would ensure the best possible experience for the guests while taking into account the climate and wildlife.

When there are loud noises from boats, the animals will avoid it. Therefore, it was important for us to make the boats as quiet as possible, which also helps to reduce emissions. This also means that guests get closer to nature, without disturbing it. "There is no bad weather, just bad vessels".

In our boats Brim Explorer and MS Bard you will have grandstand space no matter where in the boat you are. It can be cool days out at sea, but with us, you can feel warm and good and at the same time have a spectacular view of the mountains. No other boat can match that experience.

Photo: Tonje Brattås

A cool little addition on the trip was the deployment of an underwater drone. This was controlled by the ship's captain while the guide took us through the many different kinds of seaweed and sea urchins. Every now and then we would get a glimpse of some fish but they were obviously a little camera shy.

All in all it was a great experience and the chance to explore the islands at a more leisurely pace than hiking up and down mountains.

Book your Trollfjord Cruise trip here, we definitely recommend checking this out!
Douglas and Tonje