My dear sister is of the worried sort, but there is usually not much to worry about down in the idyllic little corner of her world. Along the eastern shore of the Oslo fjord in Norway is a beautiful gem of a bay called Slevik; it is one bay down from where the former king of Norway, King Olav V, had his summer house, and one bay up from where former prime minister and former WHO president Gro Harlem Bruntland has her summer house.
When I was a child, this was also a bustling harbor where fishermen from the outer part of the fjord would take their catch every day. This ended in the late 1970s when a new facility opened closer to the city. What was left was a few fishing boats, and a whaling boat that turned shrimp boat when the ban on commercial whaling started. This boat belonged to my granduncle who kept us all supplied with steaming hot shrimp off the boat, and the most delicious whale meat, throughout my childhood.
When I was a child, whale meat was the poor man’s meat. It is no longer so at closer to $12 per half pound, but it is still yummy stuff when served cubed with onions in gravy or served as a tenderloin steak with steamed broccoli and Florentine potatoes in garlic and cream.
When commercial whaling started up again in the 1990s, there was only one boat left among the bustling whaling fleet on the eastern and southern coast of Norway. Before the ban, whaling had been a way of life, and a key part of the economy along those coasts, even though the sailors had to travel for months to get to the hunting grounds. The lone boat left was Senet, which I used to dive from during hot summer afternoons. Senet is my granduncle’s boat.
That’s where my worried sister comes in — one morning she came up to our house very startled and said that someone had bombed the harbor. This was not exactly true, someone had bombed Senet. The Guardian just listed the bomber as one of their 50 most influential environmentalists. His name is Paul Watson,* the founder of eco-terrorist group Sea Shepherd. Terrorism makes you influential for sure, but it should only get you on a most-wanted list, not a list of environmental activists.
The reason he chose my little neck of the woods is that you can get in and out of the country in less than 20 minutes from there, and out of that pesky Nordic police cooperation zone within a couple of hours. If he tried to get to one of the bigger ships up North, he would have spent two days getting out of the Nordic countries, unless he spent the 8 hours getting to Russia. Neither suited him evidently. The man is a coward for his cause, as well as a terrorist.
By the way, the harbor is very shallow, only 9 feet deep. The bomb managed to flood the bottom floors and the insurance money helped my granduncle’s son buy a second boat. This way he could keep Senet running on shrimping with one crew, while he took the bigger boat up North whaling. He could fit twice the catch on the new boat, so I guess there is a silver lining here, but Paul Watson ought to be off Guardian‘s list.
*Paul Watson is who the police put a warrant out for in connection to the bombing; he was never caught and there is still a warrant for his arrest in connection with this act of eco-terrorism.