Yesterday we were back in Tórshavn after travelling from Sandur in Sandoy.
It was great to be back – we went and had a delicious coffee at @Brell, checked out the book shop and then I thought to create an intervention (read chalk graffiti) in the old town. The chalk drawing is a response to the lack of documentation of this journey – some days I did not capture any photographs or write in my journal.
The one thing I have done every day is to do a short reading of the Runes. Then an idea came to me that reflected some of my thoughts around place, the past and my experience of that place. I have wanted to find evidence of the Vikings in the Faroes and so far not found much in the landscape or in the towns we have visited. I was looking for things like runic inscriptions on rocks, stone carvings and ruins. So far these things have evaded me. Some things I have found are sites that look similar to the Pa sites I have seen in Aotearoa New Zealand, which make me think that there is much hidden under the earth.
My plan now is to create drawings everyday as a record of the Rune readings as well as my journey of discovery – of new places and connections to my Nordic heritage. What intrigues me about the Faroes is that the first people who came here before the Vikings were Irish monks and then farmers. My jokes to some of the locals is that I am their family – as my ancestral heritage is also largely Celtic and Nordic.
After doing some writing on the wall at the harbour, we headed back to Johanna and the group met a wonderful underwater photographer from the Faroes – Ingi Sørensen. It was really great to hear about his work as well as his love of diving and the ocean. What I found most interesting is how he uses his work to educate and raise awareness of issues related to the environment and whaling. He is a passionate anti-whaling advocate and also has a significant public profile because of his work. Ingi also spoke about how damaging the interventions of the Sea Shepard have been to building community awareness and a shift away from the tradition of the grindadráp (The grind or whale slaughter. He mentioned that there was growing political support with eight ministers arguing for the cessation of the grindadráp. However the intervention from the Sea Shepard has set this process backwards as it angered many Faroese, seeing the Sea Shepard as misrepresenting them and interfering in local matters.
I believe that for any change to happen, it needs to be embraced and led by the community – otherwise it is change that is imposed by others and will not be accepted, let alone embraced. In my work with sustainability behaviour change programs there is compelling evidence that this is the case. In Australia there are many examples of how enforcing change damages people and communities – our shameful history of how governments have treated the First Peoples of our country is sound evidence.
Anyway, political matters aside, after the talk from Ingi we set off for the Island of Eysturoy where we docked a few hours later in the very pretty town of Fuglafjørdur. I was so happy that my sea sickness seems to have subsided to the point where I can take pictures. Here are some of our journey.