Finland, a mystery so close, but often never unfolded. What lies behind the fence that distinguishes the perimeter of your home? The most interesting scenery can be found right in front of your doorstep, but it is too close for it to look remotely interesting. Who is to say one must travel to see more? The following images have been taken in the forest that borders the flat known as my ‘garden of safety’. All photos remain untouched to intensify the reality of the beauty of nature. My solitude of boredom lead to an epic adventure that changed my perspective on the neighbourhood I live in. The long Finnish winters prevent the trees to expand in width and for vegetation to grow tight together. This created the opportunity to abandon the trails and get lost in mosquito land.
Estonia, Along the deserted North-Estonian coastline a dock lays, of which its history will remain obscure to anyone that travels past it, unless a local told its tail. The peculiar lump of cement stranded in the water belonged to the Russian military during the cold war.
“Why then would this station be so special in comparison to the 1600 other Russian military bases along the Estonian waterfront?”
The answer to that was ironically kept secret at the time of use, as it helped conceal monstrous machines that all the world’s generals feared to be attacked by any time, anywhere. Just like every other ruthless killer, she lurks its prey and strikes when least expected.
Under the sea level a submarine de-magnetization station was built. One of the only ways for a radar to signal a submarine is via the earths electromagnetic field, and so when travelling from different parts of the world it is easy for the enemy to pinpoint where this massive scrap of metal is floating. The submarine would rest here inside a massive coil that would charge a high voltage neutralize the ship and thus to no longer be traceable amongst these poles of the earth.
Philippines, it is still dark when the boat is pushed off shore. After 30 minutes of sailing from the coast of Malapascua (a tiny island in the Philippines) the vessel arrives at the destination. The landscape has changed from a bright sky with an unforeseen amount of stars to a sunrise with a blanket of dark clouds. The calm sea has become restless and grim, but it has not stopped us before. No trace of land is seen on the horizon, but the trust of the divers is on the captain. Let’s gear up!
The Shark The shark is known for its long tail, often being as long as the total upper body. The fin is used to attract and kill prey. It is a solitary creature, and found only in the warm oceanic currents, however can swim down to 350 meters and so is not a common shark.
The Dive After descending to a maximum debt of 25 meters a platform appears, a well-known cleaning place for the shark. The first glimpse of the sunrise is the only time that the sharks are visible, before they return into the deepest parts of the sea. The visibility is very poor and the current is strong. After a good half an hour it seems the energy being used under water is slowly becoming pointless and the early wake up a waste. Other than a sandstorm rushing over the seabed, and a single shrimp lost on the plane rocks, there is nothing to see.
Hanging low over the bottom the group sits down to stare into nothing when at once a monster appears. A machine thicker than a boxing bag and about two meters in length, circles right in front of our eyes. His glorious tale smoothly, slicing the through the current, as if it were a sword ready to be thrown into battle. The growling sounds he makes almost sounds frightening when you think of the speed this shark can attack you with, what little vision we have in the water and what camouflage a shark has in the water. By being able to see the shark up close, it was obvious by the shape and eyes of the shark that it was used to maximum debts of water. Hence why we could only see it in the early morning.
Unfortunately his curiousity had vanished and he disappeared. Our air had run low and it was time to re-surface.
What an adventure!
(The following video shows footage of the Thresher Shark from approximately 5 meters away, just before it disappeared.)
Finland, lurking to catch a creature living under the ice so that yet another adventure can be ticked off the list. It should truly be a dream come true, yet a dream is merely an idea, and when an idea is planted it feeds on time. It grows until there is no more stopping to it.
Extremely low temperatures might not be seen as a threat, but neither did the ice-cold wind and snowstorm flying over the lake.
Instructions are given faster than ever before, in which we undoubtedly start to question our sanity. Still the look of ice fishing seems so simple:
– Drill a whole
– Scoop out of the hole some left over ice
– Sing the tiny rod into the hole and wait!
As simple as the last instruction were it will never beat running back inside to finish the adventure next to the fire with a hot tea! Of course a blog being for entertainment I decided to allow BBC take it over from here. Here is some footage of professionals ice fishing in Greenland!!
Finland, the arrangements were made. The morning sun is shining bright, but still the temperature is way below zero. This holiday is definitely not made for resting, but peaceful it sure is. The owner is already waiting to give instructions on how to work a snowmobile when we care to ask if a driver’s license is needed to come on the tour. After a small hesitation the answer is among the lines of “Just be careful on the road”. I guess this is one of the advantages of planning a holiday far from tourist, or even human civilization. Laws are made to be forgotten, if they even exist in a village of three families!
Instructions are less than those of the dog sleds. In fact the only important one is to lean when turning. Funny enough the first turn is taken slightly wide resulting to a snow, powder, mountain collision. Luckily there are no trees involved, but unfortunately it is not the first amateur incident as the snow mobile refused to start in the first place! Scary? Maybe…Intense? Only slightly, but there is no turning back now! Ironic, because I am not sure I even know how to do that on a snow mobile.
We are riding towards the middle of nowhere as fast as I just went off topic. More layers of snow are visible on the trees when we drive further up a mountain. Crossing frozen lakes and racing through the wilderness with up to 30 kilometres an hour is exhilarating. Sometimes it is noticeable that the guide (whom is on a snowmobile in front of us) is pointing at a wild animal, but there is no time to look. “Must focus on where I am going,” It is only the trees I am worried about, seeing that this part of the forest is as remote as it can get. Luckily the bright sun is providing only happy thoughts and even the adrenaline and heat coming from the wheel of the snowmobile is making the ride very enjoyable.
Finally, after a two-hour drive the top of the mountain is reached. The perfect time for a traditional Finnish hot, red, sweet beverage. There is one small hut built on the peak that carries along a large history. Previously it was used to spot Russian troops, but after the war the place was ideal to locate forest fires. People would survive in this tiny hut for months, with nothing to do but to keep the fire going. Still the hut is open for the public. Some locals make use of the place when they track through the wilderness. The altitude is so high that the trees look like snow statues cut by professionals. Nonetheless it is just because the snow hardly melts and so it is just stacking on top of each other.
So this is what the top of the world feels like. This is what peace feels like. If only it wasn’t so hard to reach the world would be in great shape.