“It is the fish, and that alone, that draws people to Andenes – the place itself has no other temptations,” said the writer Poul Alm when he visited the old fishing port of ANDENES in 1944. While this is too harsh a judgement today, the main emphasis does indeed remain firmly nautical, with lines of low-slung buildings leading up to a clutter of wooden warehouses and mini boat-repair yards that demarcate the harbour and its prominent breakwaters. Even Andenes’ long and straight main drag, Storgata, ends abruptly at the seafront, and the town’s main raison d’être today is as a field station and research centre for marine biologists studying whales: indeed, among Scandinavians, Andenes is best known for its whale-watching safaris. The town is also an excellent place for gull watching – large numbers of glaucous and Iceland gulls, white-billed divers and purple sandpipers frequent its environs – as well as being Norway’s most southerly wintering area for common and king eider ducks. In late winter, the world’s Arctic cod population migrates south from the Barents Sea to spawn in the waters around Andenes – a natural movement that attracts millions of sea birds to the area on the lookout for food.
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