Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Tell us your tale of coming nose-to-nose with a 6 gill [--this big--], or about your vacation to turquoise warm waters. Share your adventures here!
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camerone
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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby camerone » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:47 am

Nope, not dove Scotland. I've been there, and had my share of fine whisky, but never had time in the other water-of-life, so to speak. But a wreck trip out to Scapa Flow has been on the bucket list for some time.
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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby PacNWDad » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:43 pm

Great report! I am impressed you even got in the water there. ;) One place I'd really like to dive is Scotland (Western Isles). Have you done any of that?

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Tangfish
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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby Tangfish » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:39 am

Very cool, hope to visit there someday. Thanks for the trip report!

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dlh
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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby dlh » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:48 pm

BillZ wrote:Way cool Cam, here's a cold water trip that ticks off all of the boxes.

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworl ... found.html


If you are interested in the story of Erebus and The Terror, check out the novel by Dan Simmons, "The Terror". I read this a few years back and was very excited to hear this news of the discovery.
Dave

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LCF
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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby LCF » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:51 pm

Wow -- that sounds fabulous!

If Jen is lobbying for warm water and you want someplace amazing, I have two recommendations (although you may already have been there). One is Rangiroa/Fakarava in the South Pacific. Although I generally agree with you that warm water diving is not as spectacular as cold, Rangiroa was the exception in my book. The outer reef was what I imagine most of the ocean looked like when there weren't 7 billion humans on the planet -- incredibly lush, so dense in fish life that you felt as though you had to reach out and push them aside to swim forward. The blue water was FULL of life, with unbelievable schools of predator fish, lots ,Iof sharks, and playful and diver-curious dolphins. Rangiroa was the diver's fantasy of what tropical diving ought to be, and I understand Fakarava is even better. They are also difficult to get to and very expensive :)

Another amazing option is the trip to the Socorro Islands. We did that this March. The water is warm-ish, in the low 70's, but the viz is fabulous. The structure is dramatic and the opportunity to dive with large pelagics was incredible. I will never, ever forget the two dives where we were literally surrounded by giant mantas, who stayed to play for an hour and then followed us back to the boat.
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dlh
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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby dlh » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:13 pm

Well I didn't look up the Faroe's on the map, but I am guessing it's about 90 degrees west from Seattle. :)
Dave

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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby YellowEye » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:04 pm

Hi Cameron
Glad you had a good trip! Is Jenn getting the bug?

Did you see the wolfeels? I've seen pics of wolfeels from Norway, and they look a little different over there.

-Eric

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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby BillZ » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:16 pm

Way cool Cam, here's a cold water trip that ticks off all of the boxes.

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworl ... found.html

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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby camerone » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:00 pm

oldsalt wrote:Wow. What's next? Jan Mayen? South Georgia? What a marvelous and unique adventure.
-Curt

Honestly, I dunno. :) I've done Antarctica already, and it was fascinating... I'd like to go back and do some exploratory diving on the Weddell Sea side of the continent, as all the stuff I got to do was the outside of the peninsula and some of the islands. South Georgia is rough; I turned a trip there down three years ago because I was busy working, and heard from the group that it was a zero-viz washing machine when they were trying to do survey dives. The surge was unbearable and the low viz made it stressful.

I passed up Spitzbergen a couple of years ago, too, although I kind of regret that one. From the folks I know who were there, they said the ocean was really barren around there and they didn't find any great sites. They did see a few good polar bears topside, and it sounds like they had a good time despite the paucity of sea life.

I'm not really sure where the next trip lies; after this trip, Jenn is hounding me for warm water, but I really don't see the appeal. Every time I've gone warm, it's been a lot less interesting to me than cold water. Don't get me wrong - some warm-ish trips like Clipperton Atoll and the Socorros were pretty good (both times), but they were tech type trips, exploring new sites as survey type diving. The resort-style warm water stuff I've tried, I have generally disliked, and I'd rather spend the money on something more interesting.

So... I'm kind of searching the map for places off the beaten path and then working out the logistics. Suggestions welcome... Russia is kind of holding an appeal for me at the moment, and I have some contacts I know there that might be able to hook me up...
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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby Joshua Smith » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:37 pm

Totally cool. I'm jealous.
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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby oldsalt » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:16 pm

Wow. What's next? Jan Mayen? South Georgia? What a marvelous and unique adventure.
-Curt
Happy to be alive.

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Tom Nic
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Re: Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby Tom Nic » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:06 pm

Way cool! Thanks for telling the story!
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camerone
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Off the beaten path: diving the Faroe Islands

Postby camerone » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:41 am

Just got back from a little over a week in the Faroe Islands. If you're like most people I have mentioned it to, you're probably thinking "where?" Congrats to you if you know where they are without having to look at a map :)
photo 1.JPG
Tórshavn - the capital city


Jenn and I decided to get away for a few days and wanted to be off the beaten path just a little bit. I'm fond of the Nordics, having spent a few years living in Sweden, and so finding some smaller places to go seemed like a good idea. It's not the summer tourist season, either, so that meant that our chances of peace and quiet were fairly high. It turned out this was true, until the final weekend, when the Finns showed up for a big football match against the Faroese and basically turned into drunken hooligans in the streets all night long. :angry: But other than that/them, it was a very slow paced, relaxing, out of the way vacation that was just perfect for us.

The main purpose of the trip was not diving, but when you're in the north Atlantic, on a bunch of islands, how could I resist? We hooked up with Janus Joensen, owner of Faroe Dive - http://www.faroedive.fo, and scheduled an afternoon to meet up and get wet. Janus runs all the dive ops in the Faroes; recreational diving is really not his main business, but something he enjoys as a sideline. He's been trying to teach the locals to enjoy the water more, and there are a few that are active -- lots of spearfishing and harvesting of the incredible seafood. His main gig, though, is commercial diving and public safety diving. He also does a lot of regulator repairs for the local hospitals, who cut him in on their gas purchases. (And I had to ask - helium and O2 are both about 10x more expensive than here in the 'states.)

Janus, Jenn, and I met up in the small hamlet of Rituvik, on the island of Eystuoy last Friday. When I say "hamlet", it's one church, one house, and a few ramshackle boat houses, plus a ramp down to an inlet. Janus provided all the gear for us - drysuits, BCs, tanks, regs, etc. We brought masks from home since we're picky.
photo 2.JPG
Jenn and Janus


I wish I had some underwater photos to share, but I didn't bring a camera housing :( All I have are surface shots... I highly recommend the diving there... we would go back to do a dive expedition and play around with all the various sites. There's always something diveable when you are there - no point on the islands is more than 5 km from water, and since they're surrounded, whatever the prevailing winds and currents are, you can find sheltered sites to get in the water.

We did a just a pair of dives in the harbor - but it was spectacular. He was telling us viz wasn't great with all the recent rain there, but the islands are mostly basalt, not limestone, so the runoff is a lot clearer. Poor viz for them is better than good viz in Puget Sound. We had about 10 meters viz and great warm water -- almost 13 or 14 degrees C, which felt significantly warmer than Puget sound. Marine life is similar - wolf eels, small salmon (the number one export of the Faroes), herring, lots of invertebrates, etc. The turquoise water rivals anything I've ever seen in the tropics, and the lack of oppressive heat makes the diving a lot more fun.
photo 3.JPG
Rituvik harbor - the dive site


Jenn got her first dives in since open water certification (last year!) and I got to enjoy a relaxing, no-stress afternoon in the water. Absolutely worth the time and effort and expense to get over there and get wet!
There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots...


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