Right outside of Bodø, just north of the Arctic Circle, you can experience Saltstraumen, a unique and amazing natural attraction. Saltstraumen is the world´s strongest maelstrom and is a spectacular and somewhat intimidating phenomenon to behold!
The maelstrom phenomenon in Saltstraumen is governed by the rise and fall of the currents. Every 6 hours almost 400 million cubic meters of water have to pass through a 3 km long and 150-meter wide strait between Saltfjorden and Skjerstadfjord. The water can move at speeds of up to 20 knots or about 10 meters per second.
The World's strongest maelstrom
When visiting Saltstraumen you can refer to a specific current table to find out when the current is at its strongest. Like all tidal currents, Saltstraumen is strongest just after the new and full moon. There are several ways of experiencing Saltstraumen either from land, from the bridge Saltstraumbrua or the most intense way; from a RIB-boat on the water.
The area in and around Saltstraumen offers an abundance of animal and sea life. The current is extremely abundant in fish and seabirds flock to the area because of this. The area is also naturally extremely popular among sports fishermen and divers.
Stone Age settlements have also been found on both banks of the Saltstraumen, as well as cultural monuments from the Iron Age. These early human settlements were probably set up here because of the abundant marine biodiversity associated with the tidal current.
You may perhaps know that the Norwegian broadcaster NRK is known for making so-called slow-tv. Because of the fascinating natural phenomenon that Saltstraumen is, they made a 12-hour long live show about Saltstraumen. You can see the show HERE.
Facts about Saltstraumen
- Saltstraumen is the worlds strongest tidal current
- 400 million cubic meters of water pass through the strait every 6 hours
- Stone Age settlements have been found on both sides of the strait
- The remains of a 10,000-year-old hunter settlement in the area is the oldest known traces of human settlement in Bodø, as well as one of the oldest archaeological discoveries in Norway
- The height difference between the sea level and the fjord which the water passes in and out of can be up to 1 meter
- The largest documented coalfish caught by rod in Saltstraumen was 22.7 kilograms (50 lb)