Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday 3/31/09

I have not received an email from Per since Sunday morning. He was aboard a sea vessel sailing south, and was due to arrive about midnight yesterday. Probably so tired from carrying floats from boathouses to his vehicle, that he just had to crash. I have written Per. Maybe when I wake up tomorrow morning there will be an email waiting?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday 3/29 On The Water

Hi Tom

SOS! Mayday! This is the Titantic...lol

Had a drill today, everything is alright, will arrive tomorrow midnight at å.


Saturday, 3/28 In the North

On Saturday Per had a last day to look around the north country with it's abandoned fishing buildings.

Hi Tom,

I took a closer look into the abandoned area(I love danger and rotted piers).
Left behind was plenty of old fishing nets and polyform buoys, junk and a few glass floats of no interest.
In a part of the fishery district buildings I found old archives in bad shape. They were paperwork from old accounts. I did a fast research and found original glass float receipts dated 1962, from The Bergen fishery gear company, Campell Andersens.
Also found two old originals Polyform bouys with advertising paperwork from 1961.

Next year those old abandoned fishery district buildings will be leveled. The county plan is to possibly burn them down.

I'm leaving tomorrow morning, heading south, and will arrive on monday.

I found 8" Extra RG Made in Portugal floats, and a buoy that was used to find out sea water speed before fishing with a line with many baited hooks. If the water speed was fast, then it was not prudent to put the baited line down.

I had an interview with the owner of the cod liver oil business shown in the photos.
The company name was: H. Guldbrandsen A.S., and located in Snefjord.
The factory was built in 1948, and closed approximately 1970.

Cod livers filled the huge wood-barrels on the top floor. The Cod liver boiler was filled with water, wood and coal were used as fuel to heat the water like a steam boat or train. High pressure steam ran inside the iron tubes, as seen in the pictures, and down into the two huge wood barrels. The steam boiled the cod livers into oil. The finished cod liver product was stored in large tanks.

They have a similar cod liver oil factory at Å. I will look for a text when I visit there!

Have to hit the sack. The vessel arrives in approx. 10 hours, and I have to clean up the mess from my stay here.


The email was sent to me on Saturday night.

The fish bottle photos are from the author's collection. The fish bottles were made in the United States after 1920, and filled with the finest Norwegian Cod Liver Oil. One of the bottles is partially filled with the oil. As far as I'm concerned, the oil can stay there forever! I'll continue my daily dose of extra virgin olive oil.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Per's Expedition started out on such a high note by finding a spectacular and rare shaped float. The great good fortune then turned into days of searching for floats, but aside from having wonderful traveling experiences, float finding took a nose dive.
In the last post's email, Per was bemoaning the bad luck that he was experiencing, and all I wanted to do was reasure him, and to tell him to just listen to his inner voice, and things would work out just fine. Here is Per's email from today:

Hi Tom,

Today, Friday 27.03.2009-a great day! Superb weather. The sun is shining from a blue heaven and no wind.
Absolutely a perfect day for float research, bird watching and maybe trying some fishing on a modern fishing machine(juksa).

Started this day with a local fisherman who has more than 30-years of experience fishing in Havøysund. This fisherman also has plenty of historical information from the district. He is a great fisherman, who is kind, a pleasure to meet and to be out fishing with. I was able to research, and shoot plenty pictures at sea during the 4 hours on his boat. Wonderful nature and plenty of old and abandoned houses and fishery districts.

We visited the famous bird island named Hjelmsøya and all the abandoned buildings. In the summertime there are as many as 40 sea eagles and other types of eagles living on this island, as well as other interesting sea birds.
People have lived on this island since approximately 1600.

In 5 minutes, two cod fish, great start!

Float finds today:

Had a great meeting with a fisherman. Would have liked to have met his brother, but he was on vacation. I did meet his son and uncle. Two chances for research-one before lunch and one after. The pictures tells more than 1000 words, so take a look below Tom.

Approximately 10 - 15 interesting floats from those two boat houses (looked thru plenty of floats). One three fish float, a few AAsnæs and a few others. Maybe I can shoot a few pictures of floats tomorrow? The floats are stored in my vehicle!

Had a great conversation with a young man, and he told me about plenty of glass floats lying on the top floor out on an abandoned fishery district. He has been out there working. There is a problem is though. I'll need a boat or snowmobile to get there!!

Enjoy the pictures. Sorry about the huge amber teardrop that was damaged.

Sea Eagles nest is on a rock named Hjelmsøystauren.


I often open a file in my mind to a very special book,THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran. Gibran's character speaks so beautifully of the need to live with and accept the negative in order to appreciate the positive. After all that Per has been though on his quest, today his life was lifted to wonderful heights. The expedition is fulfilling itself, and will live within Per forever-the good and the bad.

Friday, March 27, 2009

3/26/09 As Luck Will Have It

Hi Tom,

My story for today is:

Kirkenes and the Russian sellers. Asked several Russian sellers about floats...nothing. It seems like rare glass floats are super rare all over the world and the Russian population in the far north does not know a thing about glass floats. This bad luck is funny! I have never had a bad luck like this before...

If something positive does not turn up tomorrow, I will produce a cross identical to the one I found in Ålesund and put in the front seat of my vehicle!
At the market there was a lot of Russian crystal cognac and wine glasses, carafes, eggs, hats, wooden dolls, huge hand made wool socks (bought 6 pair) only $12.00 USD, all kind of Russian-made things...but no floats. I gave away some floats and my cards.

I'm now situated in Havøysund, which is an outer island situated as far north as you can drive by a vehicle. The house I'm in was rented out as a Charity house for fishermen. No longer used by the fishermen, since a new Charity house was built down by the docks.
Very nice landlords here. It is a great place to stay.
I have also been in touch with a few contacts, and have straightened up some problems getting together. Hopefully, will meet with, interview and do some float research tomorrow.

I am a bit tired right now after driving 336 US miles on snow and crystal hard ice roads, with a command car in front of me on the worst parts.

Image is from an abandoned fishery district a few km from my stay here. The state county will do a demolition job on it because it is dangerous for people to walk on the docks etc.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday 250309 Kirkenes

Hi Tom,

Good luck with the greenhouse re-covering today!

Been researching around on the docks in Kirkenes today after lunch time, and also neighborhood areas early in the morning.Still in a bad float-finding luck mode in the north, but interesting people and meetings will come very soon.

Anyway, I was visiting the fisherman club in Kirkenes, and did talk with 7 fishermen (Russian) and two guys from Finland. The two Finish men were translators between me and the fishermen. I don't speak a single word in the Russian language. When signs where made by hands and the looks on their faces, I sometimes understood the meaning. All the Russian fishermen have my card, and promised to make contact if something good shows up.

I also went out in my SUV to get a float sample so the Russians could see what I was looking for. Some said they never had seen a float like that before, and another guy (the oldest, a fisherman with a huge beard) just nodded as if he could confirm to have seen them before, but this man spoke no Russian, and also he was a little skeptical of interviewing and camera.

No floats today, but a great conversation over a coffee.

The temperature tonight is a freezing 3 degrees fahrenheit, or -16 celsius.


Two Finnish guys who did a great job translating;

Russian fishing vessels;

The Seamen's Club and

my SUV

Photos from the email sent earlier today:

the Russian border just a few 1000-meters from my stay here, and a few miles from the Kirkenes center.

Today, Per should be browsing through the offerings from the Russian sellers, who visit once a month. It would be terrific if he were to happen onto some of those rare Russian glass floats!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24,'09

Per is still headed north. He sent an interesting email from today's travels. I'll let him tell you about it:

Hi Tom,
Honningsvåg research. Sorry for my short emails. Have to be fast because of the internet connection. Have added some pictures from today, Honningsvåg and Havøysund area. Visited the fishery district, and was talking to young and old fishermen on the docks. I had a short interview with a retired fisherman. In the pictures you can see open doors at the fishery houses. Fishermen were drinking coffee and tea inside these old houses, and told me that all the floats from the old days were thrown away on the last cleaning a month ago. Bad luck!
A photo from the fishery museum is added showing teardrops...NOT for Sale...bad luck again! Lol
See You! Per

Some great photos of the north giving us a glimpse of Norway's spectacular beauty. The little boat below the dockside building, the one on the right, sure is a beauty. Her lines are wonderful, and remind me of the lobster boats used in Maine. I daydream of running her in those waters, close to those breathtakingly cold mountains. The photo of the helicopter and the ship, are titled, "Rescue Team." Wonder what will unfold in today's travels? I'm writing this at 7:00 A.M. Wednesday, and will be looking forward to hearing from Per at breaktime, at lunch, after the day is over...whenever.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 23, '09

Only one email from Per today.

Hi Tom,

Great to hear about your float trade, and that the float was in beautiful condition. Always interesting and great when a good trade is accomplished. I hope to make some trades too when vessel arrives in Kirkenes on Thursday. There, I am visiting the Russian people at the sale later this week.
Weather in Tromsø now is cold, and there is a lot of snow. Only one interesting float from my research today. Looked through a half sack of floats-mostly + P.C.F.+.
The vessel is leaving for the Northcape area. Hopefully the weather will be better.
Take good care my friend! And look out for Polarbears.

In earlier emails prior to Per's departure, Per described the upcoming day in Kirkenes with the Russian sellers:

I will spend 1 day in Kirkenes area, where the Russian people sell interesting Russian Antiques and other stuff... they are visiting Kirkenes on 26.03.2009. These Russian sellers visit the Kirkenes area every last Thursday almost every month. The sell everything from junk, souvenirs, gear, military, etc., you name it. The Russian sellers have Norwegian special visas for selling in Norway on those specific days.

The float that Per spoke of at the beginning of his email, is a beautiful Red Trovald with dark red or black swirls in the glass. My trading Pal and I phone almost weekly, to say "Hi!" swap stories, bemoan the long winter weather, etc. A few weeks ago, I was able to win a beautiful Japanese pre-1940 deep aqua marine 9-incher with green swirls. After sending the photos of the float to my friend, he quickly emailed me to ask if the float was trade material. I knew that he had the Red Trovald. Maybe lightening would strike both of us twice?
During the following Sunday morning's phone call, the urgency in my friend's voice caused me to promise to send the float to him for inspection right away. He took the bait...Maybe, I took the bait?
The following afternoon, I got the float to the post office before the late-day mail pickup. Sent Priority Mail, two days later, he received it. That evening I got the call saying, "Trade On!" On Saturday afternoon, the Torvald arrived. A good trade is really fun!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday 3/23/09

Received two emails from Per today with the photos above. Definitely a relaxed Sunday. When looking a Per's photo, one can see new construction taking place.

Hi Tom,

A few pictures from Bodø today, and a few pictures from a tight norwegian Fjord, boat houses and the Røst ferry.

Hopefully, this week's pictures and emails from my expedition will tell something from float research, old fishermen and their floats, etc.!

Wonder what is in those boat houses?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

3/21/09 Saturdays and Sundays

I love the feeling of Sunday. Saturday is sometimes just too noisy and too busy for this "hermit." Perhaps that is why when I worked a regulation job, I always requested days off on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday. Today was a Saturday. It was spent planting more seeds, and having a great time playing with our 7-month old Grandson. He rode on Grandpop's shoulders for the first time this evening, and bounced up and down with glee, holding onto my hair. We became fast friends and buddies today!

The day started out on a dubious note though, when I read the first email from Per, which is as follows:

Weather is no good today as seen on pictures. Did not find anything interesting here but still searching. My vessel from Stamsund back home on 04042009, is having prop damage, and is waiting for new parts. So I dont know what to do! Vessel company is trying to find a replacement. I have to drive or send my vehicle by an earlier or later vessel, and book a flight or something for my self. I feel sorry for Tone since I promised to be back home again for us to celebrate easter. Time will tell, and hopefully vessel parts will arrive?


The best laid plans, often go asunder! After answering Per in the most positive way that I could, the rest of the morning, and early afternoon was spent in a kind of funk. I truly hate having my friend in a pickle, and not being able to be with him. I've got confidence in Per's ability, and tried to tell myself that everything will be fine. Later in the morning, I received the following:

Only one float that was interesting from searching thru 2 sacks filled with glass floats from my stop. NOT very special, but a one dott mark.

While a one-dot is nothing like yesterday's find, being able to excitedly pour through 2 sacks of glass floats, looking for a prize, did not seem like a bad way to spend time to this collector! Perhaps after finding such a rare float on Friday, everything would seem anticlimatic, but time and timing have a way of eqalizing things out.

I find that after 3 days of a trip, or a vacation, that a feeling of relaxation and being in the moment, take over my normal state of energy. As this expedition unfolds, there will be other moments, other climaxes that will fill Per with wonder.

At least that is what I was telling myself, and have tried to impart to anyone who will listen to me when I philosophize about each spirit's personal timing. Everything has a timing, which cannot be rushed. One must realize and be comfortable within their own timing in order to merge with the timing of the macrocosm.

After a few hours of trying to think positively, and sending good thoughts in Per's direction, I went inside for a late lunch. After lunch, I went to the computer to check for emails and new floats. Waiting for me was this email:

Hello Tom,
I have to do a re-booking tonight. Will not leave the vessel for one day in Tromso. Will stay on the same vessel to destination in the North. Fishing history guy is not at home...and he is not selling floats, so it doesn't matter at all.

Now, there will be more time spent in the North. That's my plan, and I believe there will be great finds! Everything is great, and the nature and sea, buildings etc. are gorgeous.Weather are better too, no mist or rain.
Take care,

Ahhh...Much better. My friend is much better. And Per wasn't finished yet. After dinner, there was one last email:
Good evening Tom,
Will arrive at a new stop tomorrow morning ( Sunday). No antique stores are open on Sundays, so I have to take a day off. I don't have any fishermen to visit in this time, and time is to0 short for new appointments.

Per is a guy with personal strength, vision, and a good "3-day" attitude.
To everyone out there, enjoy tomorrow. Have to love that "Sunday Feeling."

The photos, except for the cross, are from Per's journey today. The cross was found yesterday, with Per's title: "Someone is looking out for me!"
If you wish to see the photos in a larger format, just click on them.

Friday, March 20, 2009

1st. Day of Spring and the 1st. Full Day of Per's Expedition

Last night, I emailed Per to find out how he was doing, and received this reply:

Hi Tom!
I am trying to sleep, and am very tired! Will write after arrival at first stop tomorrow.
Take care,
When I came in for lunch today, I checked for emails, and found one from Per. After answering his email, I checked for new glass floats on Ebay, then went back to my inbox, and found that Per had answered immediately. He was online. For the next 15 minutes we shared a number of emails, confirming that we had contact, and that the photos from Per's cell phone were coming through. It was a great way to spend lunchtime! As I planted tomato seeds this afternoon, my thoughts were filled with the excitement of Per's find, and the expedition. Once the planting was finished, I could finally get back to my emails to see what else might await me.

Here are today's emails and photos. The first email was sent to the readers of the blog, who are following the expedition.

Hi folks!
Sunny weather today. Arrived at first stop at 12:00 P.M., and left the vessel at 12:15 to begin searching for floats. Shot a few pictures now and then of the jugend style architecture and fishing boats.

Contacted a man who owns several old antiques that belongs to his father, grandpa and gran-granpa. Antiques are very very old, he told me early 1800...this is a cellphone email. Will send new pictures and data when i'm on the internet, hopefully later this evening.

The conversation continued:

Hi Tom,
Having trouble with internet connections etc. I have to resize pictures from my camera into my cellphone, then send them. It's a lot of work! As long as you can receive...I will continue sending from my cell phone. Float found today is super old. I can see from the shape and thickness of the glass and the color, that it is from early 1800. Seller also told me about bottle floats with a neck in both ends. He now has my card, and will take a serious look among his family's old fishing gear etc.
Take good care,

Hello again Tom,
Just arrived at second stop, and weather is cloudy but fine temperature. Just got connected to the web, but it will not last more than a few minutes. Will send you the float's size when I'm back on my cabin-approximately 4-5" long and 2" thick very rare.
At the end of my workday, I found this email:

Hello to you and Nancy,
I am fine now. Yesterday was not so good. Could not get to sleep until 7:00 this morning. Tonight I had a glass of red wine, and am just relaxing. Thank you for your last email, but I'm having trouble reading it, because words are left out when downloaded to my cell phone. Hopefully I will connect to the web on my next stop. Arrival at next stop tomorrow morning at 6:00.
Sure do hope that Per is now over the initial rush of adrenaline, able to relax in unfamiliar surroundings, accustomed to ship noises, etc., and has a good solid night's sleep. Per has been on my mind continuously, and after receiving today's first email with the photos, I had a hard time concentrating on work.

From the first emails about Per's idea of making an expedition, our minds have been working overtime-filled with excitement and possibilities. Since that time, it has been non-stop effort on Per's part to put it all together. Absolutely typical of Per's headlong rush into action. He's a great friend, and keeps this collector motivated.
This expedition might not have "floated" without the additional help of Todd, the Norsknailpounder. Thanks Todd.