Outside Bodø in Northern Norway we find the strongest maelstrom, or tidal current, in the world. Four times a day enormous quantities of water are forced through a 150 metre narrow strait.
What to discover
There is in this region a rather big difference between high and low tide, 1.8 metres. When the tide moves in the Saltenfjord into the shallow extension of the Skjærstadfjord, almost 400 million cubic metres of water is on the move, and the opposite way six hours later. This strong tidal current runs over a distance of 3 km.
Here and there whirlpools occur, some up to 10 metres in diameter. The tide can reach 20 knots (about 37 km/h). The strength of the current varies with the clock, moon phases, equinoxes, solstices, wind and air pressure.
Moreover, it may be something quite different to be out in the vortices in a boat or standing with both feet firmly on land.
There is in addition a beautiful scenery around here, and when you look up from the water, you can see the beautiful Børvasstindene mountain range in the back.
How to get there
You can fly to Bodø or arrive in town with the Hurtigruta. Saltstraumen is located only 10 km south-east of Bodø.
If you are driving Norway’s main north-south road, the E6, you turn off at Fauske and take Road 80 towards Bodø. When you reach the Skjærstadfjord you turn on to Road 17. It is well signposted directing you to some large parking lots, the Saltstraumen Museum and trail leading down under a high bridge.
If you are lucky to be part of a group you can also take the sea route from Bodø in a RIB (large, high-speed inflatable boat), visiting large sea eagle colonies and drive straight through the tide. We planned to do so, but the weather was not on our side. Read more. It was therefore a slight disappointment to be left on the shore to watch the Saltstraumen slide past.
Look up Wikipedia to become more enlightened about Saltstraumen. Besides, you will also find pleasure in reading this article about nearby attractions:
Bodø & Kjerringøy: As the second largest town in North Norway, Bodø has had its ups and downs in history. On a brutal day in May 1940 it was forced back to square one. This is clearly evident even today. Bodø is close to one of the most fascinating sights of North Norway – the old trading post of Kjerringøy.