Sivu 24

Seals flourish in Finnmark's northern waters. The sea is present in almost every aspect of life in Norway. QUIET VILLAGES CALM THE SOUL In and around the small villages of Finnmark, you can find many places to relax in the lap of Mother Nature. A good example is Kongsfjord, site of the idyllic Kongsfjord Gjestehus. From the guesthouse, you can walk out to the tip of the nearest peninsula. There you'll find traces of warfare in modern Northern Norway, the ruins of a German artillery post from the years when Norway was occupied. The outpost was used to track Allied convoys on the Arctic Sea. Even for those uninterested in military history, this is an impressive hike amid landscapes. Life in the Arctic region demands character. Distances are long and in summer the sun does not dip below the horizon between mid-May and late July, in winter, polar night extends from late November to mid-January. Finnmark's nature is dominated by seas: to the west, the Norwegian Sea, which is part of the North Atlantic, and to the north the Barents Sea, which is part of the Arctic Ocean. A GUARANTEED CATCH The northern Norwegian Sea is a treasure trove for fishing enthusiasts. Stig E. Hansen, who runs the Alta Adventure centre on Seiland, says a good catch is practically guaranteed, especially if you hire a boat. The only question when it comes to fishing luck is whether you catch a lot of fish or a hell of a lot of fish. From the shore, the best technique is spinning. Out at sea, a line is fitted with a number of large lures which are lowered deep, nearly to the seabed. When a school of fish hits the spot, you can catch several at a time. Norway's trademark fish is cod but you also catch saithe, haddock and other species, including gnarlylooking catfish and huge halibut. A speciality of the Arctic Sea is the king crab. Large ones can only be caught with a permit, but you can help to catch one of these giants on a crab safari. You also get a chance to taste fresh crab legs ­ the only edible parts of these crustaceans. ENG 24 BLUE WINGS APRIL 2012

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