Vesterålen lies next of North of Lofoten and stretches up to the tip of Andøya. Andenes, the Northern-most city and tip, is at 69,3 degrees North, similar to Fairbanks in Alaska, North America. But a very big difference is the influence of the Gulf Stream running by, making the area habitable, indeed. Due to the fact that the Gulf Stream is passing by a few km offshore, the average ocean temperature ranges between 5,2 ºC in March and 11,9 ºC in August, while the air temp. is between - 1,2 ºC and plus 11,4 ºC receptively, actually slightly lower than the sea! This is only geographically place on earth this far North that has relatively warm, open waters, and pleasant air temperatures all year through.
Several beaches have very white sand, causes by decomposition of sea shells and other organisms on the sea bed, combined with the fact that the waters are very clean, free from oil pollution.
These temperature facts contribute to make fisheries a profitable business. As elsewhere here up in the North, fisheries are by far the most important source of income. This includes ocean and coastal fishing, and farming of salmon. In 2019, the export of fish products from Norway as a whole, had total value of 108 billion kroner, of which salmon was 73 billion kroner (EUR 10/7 billion), a very substantial amount.
Richard With founded "Vesteraalens Dampskipsselskab" in 1881. He thereafter started "Hurtigruten", the costal express that now runs between the cities of Bergen and Kirkenes, every day, in both directions. The voyage takes 3-4 days each direction, with a total of 34 ports of call. This route has become an immensely popular voyage by foreign tourists. Thus, Hurtigruten is deeply routed in Vesterålen. In Stokmarknes there is a museum, including one of the older ships put on land. This is now covered by a new building.
Located this far North in an ordinary community setting, it makes possible to study the Northern Light. Therefore, a research a rocket range is established on Andøya, and now also doing other rocket launches.
The scenery is dramatic, with tall, sharp mountains, midnight sun, and the wide open space towards the vast ocean.
The pictures below were taken on a trip starting in the middle, with excursions to the west and north to Andøya, and south through Raftsundet, ending up in the South-Eastern part of Lofoten, facing Vestfjorden.