From the 28th of February until the 3rd of March, several hosts and personnel from HI Norway went to a fishing trip to Helgeland (you can read more about it here: Fishing Trip in the North Sea).
During these 3 days, we had the opportunity of meeting some of the charming local people who makes Helgeland so special; being inspired and educated by their stories and experiences; learning about their culture and supporting their local economy by visiting the most amazing restaurants in the area (you can catchy a glimpse of what we’re talking by watching this video).
This sustainable trip has shown us how extremely essential it is to always respect and take care of the ocean and the nature, however, none of this would have been possible if weren’t for our experienced captain, Jarl Rølvåg, guiding us through the cold North Sea!
How did you get started sailing?
Jarl: My father was a sailor and fisherman, so I grew up with it.
Tell us a little about your boats, the Nykværing and the Leiskjær.
Jarl: My old boat Nykværing was built in 1974 at Mjosund Boat Construction AL. to Robert Fredriksson and his son, to fish without BØ in Vesterålen. My new boat that you were on is called Leiskjær. It is also built on Mjosund Boat Construction in 1978, to Hilmar and Roar Mikalsen on Røst. There it was in fishing since 2005 when it was structured to be taken out of fishing. Today it is used for private, and rental for fishing trips and tourist trips around Helgeland.
What was the itinerary for this Helgeland trip?
Jarl: Vidar and I had planned a weekend trip of three days on the Helgeland coast. Day one was a trip to Lovund with dinner in the evening, and guided tour the next day at NOVA SEA that produces salmon. Day two went to Herøy with fishing on the trip, the evening was then added to Augustbrygga where we were going to have dinner. There the mayor came and told about the local history of Herøy, and about how important fishing and salmon production was for the place. Day three there was fishing and visits to Gåsvær which is that old fishing village that is now only used by cottage people. We got good with fish, which in the evening was to be prepared and served everyone who was on the trip. The dinner was served at Herøy Brygga where we also had a nice end to the trip.
There was any change of plans during the trip? If yes, why?
Jarl: The tour went out as planned, although the weather was a bit bad. There was good atmosphere among the passengers despite the waves being large.
Can you tell us some facts and curiosities about the islands we have been?
Jarl: Lovund is known for the production of salmon, where they earn good money and the island has no unemployment. The sea and fishing have always been their livelihood until the salmon industry took over. Herøy is also known for the same living, but they also have some farmers and other industries. The tourist industry is also quite large in both municipalities, which is known for its beautiful nature. Sandnessjøen, where the tour started and ended, is the district center for the smaller islands around Helgeland.
On the 3rd day of our trip, we managed to get lots of fish, and we even prepared a dinner for the 16 of us with the fish we’ve got. Did you have any influence in that? How?
Jarl: The fishing was bad the first two days, with a lot of bad weather. The third day was better and we could look for the fish better, which meant that we both found fish on the sonar. When the fish first bet we soon got the fish we had to be able to serve everyone who was on the trip.
Tell us about a particularly memorable moment you’ve had in the North Sea.
Jarl: It must be the trip in 1987 when we went from Hammerfest to Greenland to fish. Between Iceland and Greenland we got a storm, which made us stay for a whole week out in the sea and beat the storm. Before that again weather was so we could drive up the speed on the boat so we could reach the land.
What was the most amazing journey you have leaded as a captain?
Jarl: It must be the trip to Lofoten and the World Cup in cod fishing 2015. We had a lot of nice weather and an adventurous fishing. On one day we fished 2550 kg in five hours. There were 100 fishing boats participating and 650 fishermen out to win the World Cup title.
What was the maximum number of days you have spent at sea?
Jarl: It was in 1986 when I was on trawling in the Barents Sea, and we were out for 40 days before the trip was finished. It was with a trawler named T O Senior.
What do you miss the most when you’re at the sea?
Jarl: The family and especially the children .
What people have to do if they want to book a group trip with you and the Nykværing or the Leiskjær?
Watch the captain Jarl leading the Hostelling International Norway staff in the last episode of our Fishing Trip to Helgeland, on the video bellow: