Monday, November 01, 2010

A Whale Of A Tale

Gregsboat1 recently sent an email. In the email, Greg looked back at the fun we had together with Todd "the Norsknailpounder," writing the "Sad Tale of Stranne & Oresten." There is another tale that needs to be written. While the tale contains a good dose of humor, it also contains a hefty portion of "pathos." It's the story of our "Camel-riding-glass-float-finding-friend" Per Einar Gunnersen, and one of the "Holy Grail" of floats.

One just never knows what will pop up when opening up emails. A research question sent from Todd to me, then referred to Per Einar resulted in the following:

I also have some interesting news from a guy up north, but I don't know the
end of the story or if he will sell. Story is:

I just wonder if you are interested in a purchase from 3 glass floats that I found?
"It depends on the makers marks." I said.
It is two perfectly netted amber/brown glass floats in mint condition, and they both
have a whale mark. The second float has AAS mark.
"Very interesting," I said "and of course, I am very interested."
How much are you willing to pay for each float? he asked...
and I bid higher and higher and higher...
Then he said, alright I will contact you later on or so.
This happened several weeks ago or maybe two months ago, and I haven't heard from him again.
I have his phone number and will do a phone call when I am back home again
from my vacation to Sicily (Italy), Rhodes, Ephesus, and Egypt late next
I have never seen those whale marks on glass floats, but now I know that the
color is amber or brown the Norwegian seller told me. Maybe I will ask
for some pictures!!
How much will an Amber Whale markt glass float with perfect net sell for?
How many glass float collectors are interested in having this Whale Markt
glass float in their collection?

Holy Smokes! I couldn't start typing fast enough. A Whale marked float, two of them, incredible!

Good Morning Per,

What a great email to wake up to. It's good to hear from you again too.
Now, about the hopefully...Whale marked floats. Per, I don't know when you
are leaving, but two things are very important concerning these floats.

First, if you put those up for auction on Ebay, you can start thinking
thousands of dollars. No one has ever had an opportunity to purchase even
one of those. They are one of the holy grail of floats, not only for the Euro
collector, but also to the Japanese collectors. I don't think there is a
float collector alive who doesn't know about, and hope to one day see or own
a Whale or Lighthouse marked glass float.

The second thing, you must at least get photos of those floats that show the
marking well. If possible, jump on this opportunity now! Don't halfstep trying to get as fast as you can! If you can get them it would be the coup d'etat of glass float finding. I wish you the best of good fortune.

Oh Man! My head was full of Whales. Since writing the Whale and Lighthouse post, the thought that we are getting closer to actually seeing one or both of those floats has been in my thoughts daily. There were even times, when I felt that giving my imagination free rein to pursue the thought of those floats' reality was aligning the cosmos, and that one might even come to me. I felt close to the realization. Suddenly, Per's email made all of those yearning thoughts come together. But one must be cautious in times like this. I wanted to tell all of my collecting Buds about this, but had to be like a fly fisherman slowly sneaking into position to cast a fly to a 6lb. Brown Trout hiding behind a rock-only, this was a Whale!

The next day, Per wrote again:

Hello again my friend!

I have some outstanding news for you. Please don't tell anyone yet.

Story is:

Just a few minutes ago I had an very interesting phone call with the owner
of those whale floats etc., I told you about yesterday. We agreed on a
deal for 5 glass floats. I am very happy. The floats will arrive in the
next days/week. I have to collect the package on a vessel when it docks here at Bergen Harbor.

There are 5 glass floats, five very interesting glass floats:

Two brown/amber glass floats with a Whale Mark;
One Light Green glass float with a Whale Mark;
One Dark green/olive glass float with a ThreeFish Mark and
One IceBlue glass float with a knob or something and an AAS Mark. (some
scratches from use at sea)

He also told me that he had several floats available and old fishing gear. We will discuss everything when the first box is collected at the vessel.

This is very interesting Tom, and I can't tell you how excited I am right now. It will be very interesting to shoot a few pictures from these floats, and send copies with the history to my good friend Tom.

Take good care my friend!

Holy Mackeral...or Whale! Holding this all in, and not sharing the news with everyone was like a balloon that you keep blowing up, your eyes crossed, as it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Will it pop if I blow some more? Or like blowing a wad of chewing gum into the biggest bubble you can, as your friends look on. It's great fun when that bubble breaks all over your lips, nose, cheeks and chin, but in this case, I didn't want either Per or myself to be laughed at. Mums the word. Then I receive another email from Per...and so does everyone else.

Hi Everyone,

I have a few floats up for sale this week, beautiful floats and start price is low. I also want you to listen at my next news from Norway concerning glass floats and super rare finds here in Norway. I guess I have found the holy grail among glass this find is just gorgeous and you all have to tell your float collector friends out there about my last find. I will tell you more and give you exact information about glass float mark, age, condition etc. from this blog in mid- September and on the seahermit blog (Tom's blog) in mid-September. Remember to look into these web sites often. THIS FLOAT FIND IS SUPER WOW!

Per couldn't hold it in. Who can blame him? An email was quickly sent to Per:

Hard to keep it under your hat isn't it!! Good job of setting the stage for the ship coming in. I can't wait to see your photos, and to read the history of how you got them. I haven't told anyone but Nancy what's going on. I have to bite my tongue when speaking or writing to other collectors. Great excitement!

Now, I was on the hotseat. Emails from collectors started coming in, all asking if I knew what Per had found. My pal "the Raven," sent a number of emails trying to crack my shell. How hard it was to keep a secret from him. This was my confident and pal asking me for details, but I'd given my word to Per, and what good is your word, if you can't keep it? Thankfully, the Raven is a Pal, and understood. The days passed, then Per wrote:

Good Morning Tom,

I was on the phone again with seller yesterday evening, and everything seems to be alright. Floats are onboard the ship. Tomorrow we will have all answers. Are these floats a dream? Are the maker's marks what they are supposed to be, super rare, holy grails from mid-Norway? What about the story: where did he collect those rare floats; etc; etc.? Who made these glass floats with a Whale, the Norwegians?
A whale showed up on the surface, and took a few rounds around a tiny boat today just outside Bergen Harbor. You can se the news at my safari blogg. Is it a coincidence or a sign?? Mysterious. Maybe it is the Holy Grail! and those whales are the guardians, he, he.

Today, tomorrow, the next day...then Saturday morning came. I was up at the crack of dawn, and quickly wrote Per and email:

Morning Per,
Woke up to the realization that it's Saturday, and soon you will have your package in hand. I wanted to wish you Good Luck!

Within a few hours I'll finally be able to let the air out of the balloon. It will be like my old chum Eddie and I blowing up balloons in the Walt Whitman Theater while watching a horror movie. The theater was absolutely quiet. Everyone was waiting for the scary surprise to pop out from the screen. Girls were holding onto their date's arms, knees snuggled in, toes curled under, eyes closed, or behind cupped hands. At just the right moment-the moment neither of us could wait any longer for, we gave eachother the nod, then let our balloons go. Swooshing up toward the screen, screams, giggles, laughs followed. What a pair we made!

Per wrote back:

Scheduled time at the Harbor is 15:30 European time or 09:40 New York time today. I will send my first picture when I am looking at the vessel and meeting the Chef onboard. Just something to add on the Seahermit blogg.

We speak before you know it Tom, take care!


Only a few more hours. I couldn't wait to see the photos of those floats. Already, I had pictures in my head of what they would look like. There were three of them. What would the embossed amber Whales look like in their nets? A colorless example too. Would the embossings look like the drawings given to Stu and Alan by Bruce Gidoll? What would it feel like to actually be typing a blog post, and proudly showing those first photos to the world and all of my collector friends and readers? Oh boy!

Excitedly, while eating breakfast with Nancy, I told her about the latest news of Per's adventure. Couldn't help looking at the clock. Then the appointed time came, and I quickly opened up my email account. Not yet. 15 minutes later, I was back in front of the computer again. Finally, the email and photos arrived.

Subject: Holy Grail floats and something for your blogg............

Hello and good afternoon!
First, look at the beautiful view from the vessel and Bergen Harbor, seeing
the top of the mountain Ulriken, where I grew up.

I've been down at Bergen Harbor looking at the vessel from the Hurtigruten Group, and was having a meeting with the Chief onboard. He was the messenger from the float collector up north at the Brønnøysund area. As you remember, I told you about those super rare floats, concerning Holy grail marks, ASS with a knobb..where is the knobb on the blue one (look at pictures) he, he, he, !

Take a closer look into the picture. Tell me which float is the Whale
markt float, and where is the three fish?? Here's the famous glass floats:

I came onto the vessel. Said hello to the Chief, and he gave me a plastic bag filled with glass floats wrapped in bubbleplastic. He found a butcher's knive to cut them open, and I felt a little sceptical. What if he damaged these valuable glass floats? He insisted that there was nothing to worry about. He wanted me to look at
those floats before leaving the vessel. "Alright," I said, but I didn't have
my glasses on. How can I examine all floats and float marks!

One by one he opened the bubble plastic and I was able to examine the floats. All of the floats looks like ordinary glass floats without any marks, exept for the tiny blue on the right corner of the picture. It has a damaged AAS mark. That's all.

Those glass floats above are JUNK, I felt like the guy who have been busted or something. Am I on hidden camera or something? This must be a joke!!

I am a little bit dissapointed but not much. He,he,he. Not every fisherman or what
this seller does for a living, has the Know How about glass floats. He, he,
he. Where is the Whale marks? Ohhh Myyy! I am blind or need new glasses!

"Do you see any makers marks or whales stamped or etched into those glass floats
Chief," I said!

"NOO..Nothing," he said.

"I have to bring all floats back to the guy who sendt them."

"That's the best you have said today," I said.

Then I took my jacket, took my leave, and walked down to my SUV just to find my vehicle with a FLAT REAR TIRE...DAMN!

He, he, he, he.

Anyway, I had a superb new tire hanging on my SUV, no problem! :):)

But I still feel BUSTED!

Definitely not my day today, but I had a gut feeling that told me that this
purchase of the Holy Grail Floats may be too good to be true!

Have a great weekend and take good care!


P.S. Feel free to use it on your blog together with the whale story and those pictures I was sending you from the vessel and floats. I guess the best part was when I got back to my SUV just to find it with a flat tire, he, he, he, what a day and experience!
It was not easy to get an answer for where to find the chef on-board the ship because of safety and security reasons too and I had to argue a lot, he, he, he and when I finally found him and he opened the bubble plastic, he, he, he, just junk and damaged AAS marked ice-blue 3" glass float together with amber and dark green ordinary unmarkt 5" floats.

Well, there you have it. What do I do with the story? How do I respond to the collectors who are waiting for info? This is a funny story, and should be told, but maybe Per is feeling embarrassed? I feel a bit embarrassed myself. There's got to be a way to write the comical side of this whole experience. Have to email Per again.

Hi Per,

After reading your email, I wanted to comment on your feeling that "this was too good to be true"! I had the same feeling, and the need to be cautious as well living up to my word to not "spill the beans". Still, the exciting thoughts and fun sending eachother emails is the best part of our experience with the Whale.

Still a major Bummer!! Makes you wonder what that guy was drinking? Can I have some!! ")

Truly sad that this did not pan out for you as well as all float collectors. So, we're still waiting for the Whale and the Lighthouse.

Thank you for all of the excitement, and for your efforts to make this happen. Nancy and I wish you, Tone and your parents a truly wonderful
vacation experience. I look forward to your return, and your emails.

The story has been brewing in my noggin ever since. A week ago, Per sent me the tale of his vacation, especially the tale of him and Tone getting up on a camel, and the aftermath. That story is for Per alone to tell, and it is a good one too! He also included his wonderful photo found at the top of this post. What a great guy! He gave me permission to not only write this "Whale of a Tale," but also to use the great "Camel-riding-glassfloat-hunting Pal" we've all had such a great time with over the years-Per Einar Gunnarsen.

To truly appreciate the great photo of Per on the camel, put your cursor over the photo, left click and enjoy the enlarged photo.


  1. Anonymous9:19 AM

    He, he, he, great post Tom :)

    Your friend Per

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  3. Oh, darn it....that's terrible! I was hardly able to read it through without looking at the end of the story first....!!

    Acckkk!! What a ripoff for Per.... but, pretty common in sales and money making scams on ebay and other places these days.... such a shame...