32,600 feet treading on “eggshells” – The Deadly White Monster
These days 16,300 troops from 14 nations are battling the cold climate of Northern-Norway in the biggest joint military exercise in ten years Operation Cold Response (well, the name says it all).
But they are battling a real, and very dangerous enemy. The 5. March 1986 a platoon of Engineers was working on a route for belt-vehicles through the Valley of Vassdalen. An avalanche started high in one of the mountain sides and came thundering down towards the soldiers.
I remember it like it was yesterday. My uncle – a police officer – was flown in with his service dog Arco, a highly trained avalanche rescue dog. They were in the middle of an exercise in Saltfjellet mountain region when the call came in. All day long an endless chain of hueys – Bell UH-1 – helicopters came from the valley, landed on the airport here, and then flew in again. After having spent several days without sleep, my uncle finally got som R&R.
I met him at the local police-station. Arco, his German Shepherd police dog just lay there, totally exhausted and my uncle was very worn. His face said it all. Digging all those victims out of the snow and seeing what terrible destiny had struck them down had, set a lifelong mark in my uncle. 16 soldiers were killed in that accident. The heaviest loss of Norwegian military personnel in peace-time.
And right now, 32,600 feet are really walking on eggshells. The Avalanche Warning is currently at its highest! Lots and lots of snow, combined with periods of mild weather earlier this month, and heavy winds, has set the scene for many new avalanches in the days to come. So I cross my fingers that the guys and girls out there tread lightly and stay away from the danger-areas. I am crossing my fingers that all the 32,600 coming into the area also will exit the area, unskaved, every last one of them.
SOPA / PIPA postponed indefinitely
The SOPA and PIPA law proposals are postponed indefinately! Which means the World’s Population – not the Entertainment Industry – still has the democratic control over the internet! (For now)
So in order to join in the free expression of the world this entire blog is free under a CC – Creative Commons License – with the following limitations:
Commercial Use: NO (right back at you, greedy entertainement industry) Not without my written permission.
Share alike/alter the work: Yes, you may alter and share my pictures, videos or texts from this blog, as long as you link back to the blog. But still, if for commercial use, you need my written permission.
This license applies to The Whole World!
Dette verk er lisensieret under en Creative Commons Navngivelse-Ikkekommersiell-DelPåSammeVilkår 3.0 Unported lisens.
I am so sorry…
- Do you prefer a safe Internet?
- Do you prefer a stable Internet?
- Do you prefer the old security of rights “Innocent until proven Guilty” to still be a golden rule in democratic societies?
- Do you support a free, prosperous Internet
- Do you oppose giving control over the World’s most significant tool for Prosperity and Freedom of Expression to the entertainment industry and dictatorius regimes?
Please, watch these film:
This has NOTHING to do with protecting artists’ Copyright! They are already protected through the law over most parts of the world – and I support the ones I like by buying their music and films.
This has EVERYTHING to do with giving the Entertainment Industry (and subsequently corrupt regimes) the TOTAL control over The Internet…
Still not convinced: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJIuYgIvKsc
- If you are a US citizen, please, contact your congressman today and protest!
- Do you know a US citizen, please urge him/her to protest!
On 1/24 it could be too late… The clock is ticking…
A lovely visit
My nefew has been visiting uncle and grandma. My brother came with my nefew Sondre and stayed for a week. They went back to Oslo yesterday. It has been a lovely week. Just a pitty that I don’t get to see them more. It has to change next year ;o)
“The Big 5’er” – Havleik (N-5-Bø) and my Grandfather
I guess it’s in my Viking Blood. There are few other places I feel more at home than by and – especially – on the seas! And I know at least one place where the genes ran especially salty in the family – my Grandfather, Rolv Meyer Bjugn. Today I am sailing “just for fun” as 1st Officer on the proud Danish Jagt “Klitta” where I help teaching cub scouts about the joys of The Big Blue.
I just revisited some old pictures of my grandfather and the “modern” fishing vessel – the old N-5-Bø (N-5-Boe, in case the last letter in the registration doesn’t show correctly on your screen) – HAVLEIK. They later on bought a new, bigger wooden hull fishing vessel (63 ft.) and took the same registration number – N-5-Bø and the name Havleik. The “new” Havleik was later sold. She sank after a blazing fire off the coast outside Nesseby in Varangerfjord on the 25th of March 2008 – the entire crew made it in the rafts – but that’s another story. That fire put an end to the 89 year long Havleik era.
The first Havleik
- was built in 1919, with
- a 46 feet clipper hull – width 16.2 feet
- In 1920 she was registered with a Bergsund 28 hp engine. The shipping company owning the ship at that time was registered to Peder Bjugn from Lynghaugen, Bø (Boe) in Vesteraalen.
- In 1936 she was registered with a Norwegian Wichmann 30 hp (the Wichmann was a semi-diesel engine – that is a two-stroke diesel engine).
- Havleik consists of the two Norwegian nouns “hav“, which means sea and “leik” which means “play” (or loosly translated, “joy”). Thanks to Inge M. Johansen – gamlebilderfravesteralen.origo.no – I found these older b/w photos of this classic beauty. Locally she was known as “The Big 5’er” – relating to the registration number N-5-Bø (N for Nordland – the thrid northernmost county – fylke – in Norway).
When the new Havleik was bought – the old one was sold to Kvæfjord outside Harstad. There she laid by an old peer year after year until her hull finally sprung a leak and she sank to the bottom. She was never recovered. An immensely sad way to treat such a gemstone of proud Norwegian culture and a classically beautiful ship.
So what about the fish?
After the fish was landed by the regional fishing vessels and preserved by freeze drying (known as tørrfisk in Norwegian meaning “dried fish” – stockfish), salting and/or – salting and sun drying (known as klippfisk), the produce was loaded onto bigger vessels known as Jekter or Nordlandsjekter. These are quite similar to my vessel – the Danish Yacht Klitta – only bigger. These sailed up and down the perilous Norwegian Coast, primarily to and from Bergen. In Bergen the fish was loaded onto even larger vessels and exported to Europe. Especially Portugal, Spain and Italy has historically been huge importers of Norwegian dried and salted fish.
The North-Atlantic fish (especially the species of cod and herring) is extremely nutritious and the cold, windy climate in the winter was perfect for freeze drying fish. The fish was hung on tall wooden racks and froze while at the same time dried (a process known as sublimation). Freeze dried fish – stockfish – has been known to be edible more than 100 years after being dried…
The other main method of preserving the fish, was salting it and sun drying it on the rocks. One Norwegian word for these rocks – and the same word as the English name “cliff” is “klippe” – hence the name “klippfisk” – “cliff fish” – clipfish.
Of course – fresh fish has been a primary source of nutrition for Norwegians since long before the Viking Period. But preservation has always been necessary for storage in case the weather didn’t allow for fishing. Later on these preserved and highly nutritious “protein bombs” became important sources for proteins in the mediterranean countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy. Later on canned Norwegian fish also became hugely popular in other European countries like Great Brittain.