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
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.
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.
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.
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...