Our Beautiful World

From 70° to 71° North - by Car

The temperature in summer (June-July and August) has an average of 10-12° Celsius.
Mehamn has midnightsun from May 12 to August 1.

In the months of December and January, there is dark all day long (the sun is below the horizon).
The sun returns on January 27.

There are no "wild-growing" trees in Mehamn.
You have to drive 20 kilometres by car to reach the worlds northermost birch wood, in Oksevaag.
The terrain around Mehamn is hilly, with a lot of rocks and fishing waters.
In theese waters you can catch trout and char. In the rivers you can catch free-living salmon.

In the winter there is exellent opportunities to go skiing. There is snow all over.

It might not mean anything to you, when you see this strange monument,
but here is the story:

Photos © home.no.net/museet/sel.htm     © www.sydhav.no/fakta/havet/hval/hval.htm

Taking a close look at these two pictures, you find it all.
The canon in front of the boat and the barrel in the top of the mast, they are both
in the memorial-monument showed above them.

It is an interesting history, but too long to tell it all here. However, lets give it a try - with a short version:

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Do Norwegians Hate Whales?
by Rauno Lauhakangas

October 16th, 1996

This research study tries to explains the Norwegian whaling policy based on the historical events
which occured early this century in Finnmark area in the Northern Norway.
Usually these events have been analysed by Norwegian historians based on concepts of class fights.
But these events can be analysed also based on the extrapolation of Freud's subconciousness theory
into a nation's subconciousness level.
Or we can also apply pure ecological cell models based on Darwins's theory about "survival of fittest".

Something happened in the beginning of this century in Norway.
This incident, revolt, unrest or even a small revolution in Mehamn
can be used to analyse present whaling policy of Norway.

Mehamn is the most northern point in a continent of Scandinavia in Norway.
In 1903 the economy was based on fishing by local peasant fishermen.

Industrial whaling started in Norway in late 1860's. Aboriginal Norwegians have never whaled on purpose.
Norwegians collected and used dead carcasses of whales which were driven ashore.

The industrial whaling invaded Mehamn area in 1883,
when a whaling station was established in Mehamn by Sven Foyd with his monopol whaling company.
Sven Foyd invented and patented his explosive granat-harpoon.
This explains his practical monopoly in whaling in Norway continent. His rivals were Germans.

The sea in high North was very rich in fishes. Especially there were a lot of candle fishes.
Whales and cods like to eat candle fishes. Whales had developed a very interesting technique to catch fishes.
They were chasing candle fish pods and forced them to swim inside fjords.
So, here was a great opportunity for the fishermen to catch their fish.

Just before 1900 and untill 1903/04 a great number of Greeland seals invaded the coasts of Finnmark and Troms.
The fishing dropped dramatically, and we can speak about a case of extreme urgency.
The occurrence of a Greeland seal happened at a same time when whales were destroyed,
and fishermen aroused against a whaling station and against government.

A bill, which consists of a full moratorium of whales, was presented in a Parliament in spring 1903,
and the more fishermen were spoken to use power against industrial whaling.

The spring 1903 was the third and worst year in sequence of the fish-crops failure among Mehamn fishermen.
Relationships between fishermen and whalers became strained in that spring,
when whaling ships prevented fishermen from getting out of fjords in windless days.

By Christmas 1903 it was clear that the majority of the Parliament (Stortinget)
started to take up a position in a bill of whale protection.
And finally January the 10th 1904, the proposed bill got the majority.

The bill consisted a complete protection of whales in the coast of Norway for the next 20 years.
The more than 30-years fight for the protection of whales led to the hoped-for result.

Full version here

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