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This Deadly Maelstrom Lurks Off Norway’s Coast – And It’s The World’s Most Powerful Whirlpool

Ocean Currents

The ocean creates waves and currents all the time. At some times of the day, the waves are low, which is called low tide. At other times of the day, the waves are enormous. This is called high tide. The moon has a lot to do with the tides, but there is one place where the water does something absolutely incredible, and it is the only place where something like this occurs.

Off the Coast Of Norway

For over two millennia, something amazing occurs off the coast of Norway. Four times a day, every day, a set of vortexes open up in the waters of Norland. It is the most powerful occurrence of its kind. About six miles from Nordland is a region called Bodo. In Bordo is a strait called Saltstaumen. It lies between two fjords. A fjord is a thin section of water that formed by a glacier. It is often wedged between two cliffs. The fjords in this area are the Saltfjorden and Skjerstad.

The Saltstraumen Strait

The strait is not significant. It is about two miles in length, and 490-feet wide. What makes this strait so amazing isn’t its size. It is the fact that every six hours, about 110 billion gallons of water surge through it. This area creates one of the most powerful currents anywhere on Earth. When the water flows in this area, it runs at speeds of about 23 miles per hour. When the water is flowing at its fastest, it creates swirling tunnels in the water. This Deadly Maelstrom Lurks Off Norway’s Coast – And It’s The World’s Most Powerful Whirlpool.

What Is a Maelstrom?

A maelstrom is a type of whirlpool that materializes in the water. Imagine water going down a drain. When it does, the water circles the bottom of the sink first. This is what a maelstrom is, just a lot more powerful, and they occur in the ocean. Edgar Allen Poe first used the term in one of his stories, A Descent Into the Maelstrom. The phenomenon is also mentioned in Greek mythology.


Whirlpools in the ocean like these have captured the imagination of storytellers for years. They are great sources of destruction in stories; however, they don’t post much of a threat unless you are swimming or sailing in a small craft nearby.

The French Pass

The whirlpools off the coast aren’t the only ones that exist. The French Pass is located between two main islands in New Zealand. The currents there are so strong that they are said to put fish swimming by in a daze. It is also responsible for about 2,000 deaths. One incident occurred when a group of students was on a scuba diving expedition in the area. Some of the students got caught up in the tide, and down into the whirlpool. The maelstrom dragged them 292-feet under the water, and many of them died.

Corryvreckan Whirlpool

A group of filmmakers in Scotland decided to explore the potential dangers that whirlpools can cause humans. They focused on the Corryvreckan whirlpool, which is one of the three biggest whirlpools on Earth. It believed that the roar of the whirlpool can heard up to 10 miles away. Since it would be too dangerous for a human to go into the whirlpool, the filmmakers sent a dummy wearing a life jacket and a depth-measuring device into the water. It quickly sucked into the vortex. Later, the dummy showed up on the shore. The life jacket was powerless to the whirlpool, and the device that the dummy was wearing said that it was pulled 860-feet underwater.

Old Sow

There is another massive vortex called Old Sow. It got its name because the sound that it makes when it opens up sounds like a pig. It is located between Canada’s Deer Island and Moose Island in Maine. The currents there reach speeds of up to 18 miles per hour.

The Strength Of the Saltstraumen

The Saltstraumen is one of the most powerful of all vortexes on Earth. The strength of the vortex depends on the phase of the moon. The vortex is the most powerful and dangerous during a full moon. If you want to view the vortex while it is in action, it can be difficult to time it correctly. While it is at its strongest during a full moon, the time of day that it occurs fluctuates. It does happen four times a day, but the time is not regular.

The Safest Place To View

If you want to get a look at this powerful vortex, you cannot do so safely from the water. The best place to see it is from the edge of the nearby land. You can only view the vortex from above, and fortunately, you won’t need a plane to see it. The Saltstraumen Bridge is located right above the maelstrom, making it the perfect place to view this natural phenomenon. If you want to get a bit closer, some companies offer boat tours that allow you a sea-level preservative of the vortex.

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