For days, we had to withstand heavy rains and tumultuous currents. To witness the greatness of such a magnificent sea, makes you feel small and spiritually impressed.
Quiet. « Qui-et ». Say it slowly in a low voice and you’ll get the general feeling of what it’s like to enter the fjords of Western Norway. During Oceana’s first North Sea expedition, the Panthalassa Society took a couple of days to discover one of Unesco fjord’s heritage and treasures of nature. French photographer Sarah Arnould was part of the crew and came back with stunning shots of this unique journey and frozen retreat out north.
Divers, scientists, boat crew, oceanographers, ambassadors, and engineers keep busy aboard Neptune, the icelandic vessel sailing the dark waters of the North Sea. Despite the cold and tumultuous sea, they’re here for one same goal: Collect precious data on species and habitats and make a positive change during this unprecedented at-sea study. « Leaving to Norway, and being able to capture passionate and committed scientists sailing the seas and oceans to fight against overfishing, has been a very enriching experience » says photographer Arnould. « I’d never been in the open sea before. For days, we had to withstand heavy rains and tumultuous currents. Working in these conditions was not an easy task but the beauty of the landscape, and the environment all around, helped us forget those small details. To witness the greatness of such a magnificent sea, makes you feel small and spiritually impressed.»
On their way to the region of the fjords, the crew stopped by a small village stuck between giants of land. Waterfalls cascading down mountainsides, spectacular glaciers and breath-taking viewpoints. Western Norway is home of « Jostedal Glacier », the largest glacier on mainland Europe, covering an area of 487 square kilometers. In that region, the red barns run alongside the peaceful river, boats are parked like cars in a garage, and green is in vogue. « We met a fisherman in the freshness of a Norwegian fjord. He carried us aboard his boat to make us discover the fjord that shelters the village where he lives. Far from big fishing boats sailing the North Sea, this fjord was of a spectacular beauty and teemed with life. I felt that was a place that allowed humans and animals to live in total harmony. » The crew ended up fishing herrings, sharing some blinis and a good coffee in the cabin of his wooden boat. « Under the rain showers of the Norwegian summer, we had that feeling that time stopped, » explains the French photographer. « This experience taught me a lot on my photography skills and concerning my personal commitment as well. This is the kind of adventure that helps us realize the seriousness of the situation. Being able to see these people's commitment towards the environment gave me new hope, but it doesn’t depend only on them. »
Discover more of Sarah Arnould's work on her website.