The giant race for the whale oil in antarctic waters is closed for the season, and the whalers have returned to their respective European (Russian and Japanese) waters.
The giant race for the whale oil in antarctic waters is closed for the season, and the whalers have returned to their respective European (Russian and Japanese) waters. Last season 20 expeditions, each large whale oil-factory ship and a total of 230 whalecatchers (diesel engined gunboats of up to 3000tonns, comprised of 9 norwegian, 3 british, 6 japanese, 1 dutch and 1 russian expeditions. Their total catch was approximately -- 1800 000 barrels or 3000 000 tonns of whale oil valued at app. GBP60 per ton or about GBP25 million. Norway which held a virtual monopoly in whalecatching before the war still leads the field with 9 of the 20 expeditions and a total of some 6000 whalers man these expeditions, which leave Sandefjord Norways whaling capital about october and remain at sea to antarctic waters (the whaling season by international agreement for whale conservation, is limited to the months between Jan 7th and March 16th.) and return about the end of april. The return of the whalers obviously is the greatest event of the year to the town of and district around Sandefjord. And the reunion of the whalecatchers with their families who have waited through the 6 to 8 month workshift of their menfolk is a sure sign of spring along the Skagerak Coast.
Last of the Big whalers to return was M/S "Thorshavet" 25 000 ton with her crew of nearly 300 men who had been catching in the waters from Enderby Land around the Antarctic to the wodell Sea. The man were contented as their pay is proportionate to the catch and "Thorshavet" came back last but with the 2 biggest Norwegian catch.
Depicting the quais of Sandefjord with moored whalecatchers and waiting relative along the jetty. The "Thorshavet" come in and moores along side her sistership "Thorshevdi" where whalers relatives ques up along the railing as the last long minutes crawl by until the boy finally can cross the gangway to the waiting hug, handshake or shy nod of welcome amidst the folks at home.
"Thorshavet" came in 3 hours after schedule, at dusk, the rain made for dull pictures but did not dismay the event for either returning whalers or their families.