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Skogsøya photos ~ The Fishermens Day

Your guide: Johan I. Borgos

Our coastal culture is very open and dynamic. We have relatively few traditions compared with what you may find in farming societies. But at least we have "Fiskernes dag" - The Fishermens Day.

This tradition began in 1948, when a memorial commemorating all the fishermen who disappeared at sea was unveiled near Øksnes church. Every summer people gather at this church to honor those who didn't get a grave on land.

I have a lot oof slides covering many years of Fishermens Day celebrations. Here I'll show you a little collection from the 1985 event, when the weather was not the best. That puts more drama into the photos than a sunny day can do. I admit that I have skipped the religious part of the celebration. Instead you'll be a passenger on the parade!

v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes This is the church at Øksnes. It is made of timber, and the oldest logs are from the 1500s. The memorial stands on the point behind the sea house.
The memorial looks at a modern trawler passing by on its way to the fishing grounds. Let's look at two plates on the memorials top stone. h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes
v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes The first shows a two fishermen, a father and his son, ready for a new day at sea, saying goodbye to other family members.
The second shows them on the bottom of their boat, fighting for life. At least 700 fishermen in Øksnes got lost at sea between 1700 and 1900. h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes
v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes In the morning of The Fishermens Day boats of many types are getting ready for the parade to the church. This is not a fishing wessel -
- but this is! We are at Myre harbour on Langøya on a windy day with some showers. The boats are waiting for the parade to begin. h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes
v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes And here we go! The boats line up on their way out from the harbour, adjusting the speed to allow the smaller boats to catch on.
The boats glide slowly in orderly fashion towards Skogsøya and the church there, diesel motors humming and flags flapping in the wind. h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes
v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes Not all boats use a motor. Here is one of the small boats used at the fishing banks in the "sail and oars" time a hundred years or more ago.
The boats gather outside the little quay. Landing process takes some time. The first passengers hastens up to the church through the rain. h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes
v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes Soon the boats are tied up side by side, making a long bridge out in the sea. Takes some time to get on land from the last boat!
Seen from the quay the tall masts, carrying flags, aerials and cargo booms, create a fascinating forrest. h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes
v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes The mass is over, and the people gather around the memorial where a wreath will be laid down. Almost all of them have someone to remember there.
Sunlight grazes white cockpits while the first passengers are getting on board for the return trip to Myre. Now the fun will begin! h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes
v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes The boats have untied, and every skipper looks for room. The trip to the church was a stately parade, the return is more like a race
Full speed ahead! Compare this photo with any of the parade slides. In the background the church watches the disappearing boats. h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes
v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes Riding on the waves from another boat gives additional speed. It may look dangerous, but there are experienced hands on every steering wheel.
Halfway home, and the fastest boats have taken the lead. As you will understand, The Fishermens Day is a photographers heaven! h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes
v-pil.gif - 958 Bytes The first one slows down as it glides past the beacon and into the Myre harbour. Now it's time for a good Sunday dinner - and dry clothes.
Oh yes, the old boat got home at last. Many never made it when this was the main fishing boat. That's why we keep on celebrating The Fishermens Day. h-pil.gif - 958 Bytes

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