Our first adventure in Norway took place just a few weeks after we arrived: a fishing trip in the North Sea!
First things first, we had to buy some serious winter clothes, as we don’t find them easily in a warm tropical country as Brazil. Therefore, we have visited some shops around Oslo and got good stuff on sale, since the winter would soon give place to an awesome and sunny spring.
Waterproof boots, windproof jackets, wool socks and base layers and we were good to go!
We have left Oslo on the 28th February to Sandnessjøen, the administrative centre of Alstahaug Municipality. The town is known for its importance as a commercial and business spot for the region, as well as one of the most impressive landscapes we have seen during the trip, the Seven Sisters. It consists of a mountain range with seven peaks that is really breathtaking.
After arriving, we went straight away to the dock where our boats were waiting for us. A warm welcome from our captains included a lunch meal with coffee and homemade fishcakes: these are still the best ones we have so far in Norway!
After lunch we headed to the commercial center in order to get the supplies for the next three days onboard. By the end of the day we set off with an amazing view of the local sunset and a calm sea to explore. We were divided in two boats, but we have sailed side by side during the entire trip.
In the evening we have anchored in Lovund, a village with only 499 inhabitants that is part of Lurøy municipality, just south to the Arctic Circle. We had a dinner paired with local beer and some wine at Lovund Hotel and as we walked from the boat to the deck we were lucky enough to see the northern lights for the very first time! How lucky are we, since we had colleagues with us that have never seen them before in over a decade and we saw it on our very first evening up in the North! Unforgettable.
This picturesque small island of Lovund also holds its own show every year: on the same date and time a huge colony of puffings go to Lovund in order to breed. We are not able to whitness this, though, as it only takes place in april. In the next morning, we have visited a fish farm industry called Nova Sea, where we have learned a lot about this important industry for the region as well as we have seen some data around fishing, showing that most commercial species are almost impossible to be line caught as they were overfished since 1980. Sad to hear, but we hope that the farming gives these species some room to grow back in the ocean.
The second day was a bit rougher, as the weather was cold, windy and rainy. The sea was not so calm and the boat was shaking quite a lot due to the big waves. It was not scary at all, but we have felt a bit sick and dizzy. We have set off from Lovund to the open sea, where we had the chance to fish. Our representative of the project Amarilis has managed to catch eleven fishes at once, even though it was her first time. Steffan, from the Gjøvik Hostel and Geir, from Lillehammer also got cods and some smaller fishes.
As it was very cold, we took breaks from the fishing adventure from time to time, entering the boat cabin for a warm coffee or a delicious warm pasta lunch. Still, here and then someone was hit by a giant wave while fishing, haha.
The second evening’s stop was at AugustBrygg, located in one of over 4.000 islands in the municipality of Herøy. A cozy, warm atmosphere welcomed us, along with a dinner filled with local traditional food. After dinner, we always had traditional songs to sing, which Vidar, from our Oslo Office, was kind enough to print lyrics so we could all sing together. Our colleagues Robin and Svein also gave us a show on their violins. This time the mayor from Herøy, Arnt Frode Jensen, has joined them for a playful, dancing party after dinner.
We went back to the boat for a good night of sleep and prepared ourselves for the last day to come.
Our last day on the boat was quieter. We have learned a bit about sailing and how to control the boat with our local captain Jahr. He has also taught us some words in Norwegian, as we still have a lot to learn.
For lunch Vidar has prepared a great fish soup for everyone: perfect to beat the cold and soothe our bodies.
Some of us kept on fishing in the afternoon or just enjoying the amazing views of many islands throughout the fjords. We have stopped in one of the islands in the afternoon and, though it had some houses, they were all empty, either because their owners only go during summertime or because they were abandoned by former villagers that went to bigger cities for better work opportunities. It was an interesting experience to be in a place that looked like a ghost town and at the same time, it was very well preserved. It was easy to imagine back in the past, when traditional fishermen were making their living out of fishing.
In the evening we have once again anchored for our last supper in this trip. Again, we were in Herøy and the restaurant has prepared the fishes that we had caught ourselves in the boat and made it as a delicious, fresh meal for all of us. As in the past nights, we have made some toasts, sang songs and watched our friends perform good music with their instruments. We also had a second round of laughter, eating and drinking in the boat, as everyone wanted to get the most out of the last evening.
This trip was definitely totally out of our comfort zones, but we were so glad to be around fellows from different hostels, talking to them about their routines, their challenges and their vision for the future. We hope to help them implementing sustainability across all areas at their hostels and make the difference in the way they understand and operate their business!
Check out the 1st episode of our trip on the video bellow: