It's not Norway until you get rained on in an open boat at sea

This weekend we had our big friluftsliv field trip. Camping, sailing, and rowing off a southern coast of Norway for two days and one night. After paddling river kayaks with the Danes and this trip I really wonder that I have managed so long without being in a boat. It's been a few years since I was last in a water craft. And I really missed having my own life vest. It's bright yellow, and doesn't make me feel like I'm being strangled. It's not that I don't like having things around my neck. I wear necklaces and chokers. But I don't like tight-collared shirts, and I don't like stiff floatation foam around my neck either. But I love boats.
Despite having spent a lot of time on water as a kid (thanks Mum and Pop!), I was feeling unnaturally skittish about the boats to begin with. It took me a day to feel comfortable hopping on and off. Probably because I'm also lacking in coordination frequently, and didn't want to slip on the rain-slicked granite rocks. But I did a good job of rowing for the most part. My oars slipped up on me frequently, and then I'd break rhythm trying to get them back where I wanted. I also figured out being steersman before too long. I really didn't get to spend enough time on the boats, despite the extra trip I got to make in the early morning to pull in the fish nets. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to go along to set the nets in the evening. Our Danish teacher (the primary teacher was Swedish, with a super-awesome 'amish' beard) went out on his own to set the nets. But we caught two cod, and one other fish that we got to eat. We also caught an other fish that got eaten by the 10-15 crabs in the net, and several jellyfish. I got a slight sting from one jelly, or rather, the remains of the jelly after it was pounded against the side on the boat to get it out. And I de-netted one of the cod. I was very pleased with myself for not being squeemish. Really, I shouldn't be grossed out by handling a fish. I worked in a pet store and handled fish regularly. But I hadn't handled an ocean (or lake or river for that matter) fish that I was in part responsible for killing and intent on eat afterward. It was a handsome cod, and felt oddly nice to hold, but as my sister says, "Sometimes Bambi's gotta take one for the team." It was not the most impressive fish soup I've ever had that night. Cod are not the most flavorful fish after all. And there were only three fish for 20 people, so there were some supplimental fiskeboller in there, but it was still fish I was involved in pulling from the sea, so there was a personal satisfaction in eating it.

No comments: