Forsøl at Hammerfest on the island of Kvaløya

Forsøl, Forsol, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Kodak Ektar, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

The borders blur between Troms and Finnmark. The environment is becoming increasingly barren and lonely. This year we treat ourselves to a trip to one of the many islands and visit a small fishing village on the edge of the world. And this is only a few kilometers from the officially northernmost city in Europe.

Forsøl at Hammerfest on the island of Kvaløya

When we visit Forsøl only eight kilometers from Hammerfest on the not so small island of Kvaløya, it is mid-June. Now, in the morning, the thermometer shows no more than six degrees Celsius. We are in the north. That can no longer be denied. If people still believed that the earth was a disk, it would end here.

Forsøl, Forsol, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Kodak Ektar, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

Forsøl, Forsol, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Kodak Ektar, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph. | © mare.photo

Wir sind bereits seit gestern Abend auf der Insel Kvaløya hier in Forsøl, nachdem wir uns einen ersten Eindruck von Hammerfest gemacht haben. Wir parken hier an der Kirkebukt, der Kirchenbucht. Über Nacht lief die Standheizung in unserem VW Bus, denn die Temperaturen  sanken nahe des Gefrierpunktes.

Forsol, Forsøl, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 29 asph., Kodak Ektar | © mare.photo

Forsol, Forsøl, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 29 asph., Kodak Ektar | © mare.photo

In the Middle Ages there must have been a settlement here at Kirkebukt in Forsøl. Reason enough to place this part of Forsøl under monument protection. A path covered with wooden planks leads through the former settlement area directly to the water. I take this path in the morning, past the grazing reindeer, for a short swim in the four-degree warm Arctic Ocean. The sandy beach goes flat and beautiful into the sea. Now you can refresh yourself exploring Forsøl.

Forsøl, Forsol, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Kodak Ektar, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

Forsøl, Forsol, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Kodak Ektar, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph. | © mare.photo

Via the stone paved road along the bay to the town center. It will be a long time before the lanterns mounted on wooden posts shine again, because it is up to 24 hours daylight until September. At midnight, apart from the temperatures, we feel like at noon.

We are looking for trees in vain here, some pitiful shrubs just make it into this lunar landscape. After all, the area around Forsøl is enough for reindeer, they are frugal and happy with grass, lichens and heather. You move in all comfort and maybe this also reflects life on the island of Kvaløya.

There is a small fish processing plant on the bank with a typical Nordland waste dump. And maybe a little typical of Forsøl. What you no longer need in Forsøl is placed behind or in front of the house. Just like the capsized boat in the harbor. It is just below the waterline. Only the railings of the cabin still look out. As long as it doesn’t bother anyone, it stays here. And if it should bother you one day, you pull it ashore and leave it there until …, well, you know.

Forsol, Forsøl, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 29 asph., Kodak Ektar | © mare.photo

Forsol, Forsøl, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 29 asph., Kodak Ektar | © mare.photo

We walk over the small bridge, under which the melting water of the hilly surroundings flows to the harbor of Forsøl, individual patches of snow are still reminiscent of the winter that just passed. But it could snow here again from now on. We are in the north. A sign reminds us as drivers that six-year-olds are already on their way to school.

There seem to be children on Kvaløya and here in Forsøl. In every garden there are children’s bikes, play equipment and toys. The winters are long. And the Norwegians are child-friendly.

There is a sign on a garden gate, but please close it so that the reindeer do not come into the garden. In front of some houses, cars that are no longer ready to drive tell of their past days and are waiting to grow over time. However, this can take some time in the north. Everything grows more slowly here. And so the residents who want to design their garden a little beyond the grass simply decorate with planted flower pots.

Forsol, Forsøl, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 29 asph., Kodak Ektar | © mare.photo

Forsol, Forsøl, Hammerfest, Kvaløya, Kvaloya, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 29 asph., Kodak Ektar | © mare.photoAt the end of the small village street is the next fish factory, here the people from Forsøl find work and maybe even people from Hammerfest. Sometime in the morning, a cutter moored, cleared its catch, while on the other side of the factory the refrigerated truck was waiting for the packaged goods. Among other things, fish sticks are produced here.

Above the fish processing stand the huge wooden frames on which the clipfish dried until a few days ago. Only a few animals are hanging here in the polar air under a net; a bird seems to have been doomed to this prey in the net.

End point longing or longing goal here in Forsøl on Kvaløya

As special as Forsøl appears on Kvaløya, that is, beyond beautiful beyond picturesque and romantic, it is a home for the people who live here, which they hardly want to exchange. This is also shown by the numerous new buildings that you would hardly suspect in this environment. About 215 people live in Forsøl, and it is evident that the number is currently increasing. Already in summer it is almost too cold, too windy, too inconsistent for us.

The first hurricanes hit Forsøl and Kvaløya in autumn and two months of total darkness in winter. And that should always accompany us when visiting places like Forsøl on Kvaløya: the challenge that people here every day master and are as special as Forsøl on Kvaløya.

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