Day 150. Gamvik weather and rest day

Posted by: James on May 30, 2009

Distance 0km | Time 0hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 150. The three boats which operate out of Gamvik harbour is a fraction of the operation at Mehamn or BerlevagI woke in the morning with the house shaking in the gale. I looked out of the window at the sea. Despite the fact the wind was westerly and going offshore I could see many white caps as the waves left the shoreline. It must have been at least force 8. There was no point getting up too early as I was going anywhere again.

After looking at the weather forecast for the next days it looked very unlikely I could go anywhere for the next three days. This was also how long the only shop was closed for as it was a holiday weekend, so I had to get the provisions for my weather break. Having got them I went back in the gale to the house and made myself at home.

I spent the day reading about the early Norwegian, Russian and Finnish settlers and watching television. I went for a small walk but it was driving rain and not particularly pleasant outside. As the day wore on the wind slowly dropped off but it was still a force 4 in the evening with another gale expected in the morning.

It seemed that Norwegians moved up the coast from Nordland and Troms in the early 1500’s and settled on the coast beside some of the Lapp communities. Many of these Norwegians were fishermen which followed the cod north from Lofoten in the spring season. Sometime later came Russian fishermen also who arrived initially to fish. However the Russians realized there were many items they had which they could trade, like timber, flour salt, wool in return for fish and furs. This was the beginning of the long Pomor trade which saw many Russians settle on the Finnmark and Nordkinn coast. This trade continued right up to the Bolshevik revolution in 1917.

From the late 19th century onwards Gamvik, the now deserted Omgang, and the rest of Nordkinn became important fishing centres. Svend Foyn invented the harpoon and established a whaling station in Mehamn. There were fish traders from all over Norway arriving to buy fish after the Pomor trade ceased. Much of the fish was dried into stock fish making it easier to export. This continued until well after the Second World War when Gamvik started to lose out to the better harbours of Mehamn and Berlevag.

There was even a small copper mine at Omgang but it never amounted to much and was abandoned before the second world war as the deposits proved to be marginal.

Just north of Gamvik is Slettnes Fyr lighthouse. It is situated on a peninsula renowned for waves and currents. It is a 100 years old and was rebuilt after the war when the top half of it was blown up by the retreating Germans. Surrounding the lighthouse today is a nature reserve primarily for wading and coastal birds.

In the evening I cooked a simple smoked cod meal and once the bad weather had put an end to the television reception I went to bed at 2300.

It had been a tedious day and I was starting to get bored.

Comments are closed.