Glacier tourism in the early days
Is it the Brontë sisters on the first pic, right hand side? No, probably not, but there is indeed an aura of romance and exoticism seeing the ladies and gents standing there in their hats, umbrellas, capes and long dresses in the early 19th century. They were most likely as smitten as we are today by the grandness of the thick layers of ice. It seems that mankind have always - in different ways and for different reasons - been touched by the wonders of nature and worshipped, tried to explore and unfortunately not so seldom exploited the finite resources we share on this earth. The prodigious sight of glacier Svartisen has certainly attracted people for hundreds of years to feel and experience these cristals of ice and we hope that we in an environmental friendly way will have the opportunity to continue to do so.
Vassdalsvik and H.J Kristensen & Sønner
The saying goes that the hillsides are so steep in Vassdalsvik that the farmers had to grow their potatoes on a fishing-line, otherwise everything would slide into the ocean. In the 1880s - Fred´s great-great-great (anyway, you get the point, an ancestor way back in time) grandfather Bernard Christensen moved to Vassdalsvik and settled down in a house with his family with the aim to start a farming and fishing company. The Christensen family (later changed to Kristensen) has lived in Vassdalsvik since then and experienced both the ruthlessness and the benevolence created by sea and mountains. They have given birth to new family members and seen some die young, some old. They have had good and bad fishing years, endured the 2nd world war and seen many many amazing shapes of the northern light and midnight sun.
The house "Mølla" shown on the pic´s above was built around 1900 and has throughout the history been used for different purposes. In the early phase it served as a mill and the farmers came from many places with their barley on their backs or carried by horses. The house was later used as a sawmill and after that inhabited by fishermen mending their fishing nets and sleeping over night waiting for the next fishing boat to arrive. Mölla was the first industry to be established in Meløy county and many men and women have crossed it´s doorstep.
H.J Kristensen & Sønner was run until 1986, when the last fishing boat - Glomfjord - was sold. The ocean had been depleted from fierce fishing for long and a family business era had come to an end. But as with many fascinating family and business stories the tales related to the Kristensen family are still being told.
The German emperor Wilhelm II was very enthusiastic about Norway and Norwegian nature and the period before the First World War he traveled every summer to Norway. As always he used Fred´s grandmother´s grandfather Peder Olsen as a coast-pilot to take him safely through the world’s strongest tidal current - Saltstraumen - right outside of Bodø. On this particular occassion the emperor was in a hurry and pushed Peder to pass through Saltstraumen despite Peder´s hesitation. The tidal current was too strong and Peder refused to obey the emperor´s command. The emperor then saw another boat´s gruelling passage and realized that Peder had made the right decision. Peder was later honoured with a gold watch by the emperor for his "disobedience".