A boat trip set in historical light
The more than 60-year-old wooden boat was just modernized - with a robust solar lamp
FLEXIBLE TORCH: Not only does the SunBell give you light when you need to find or fix something in a dark corner, but it also gives a good atmosphere aboard when darkness subsides. And on the long trip you don’t have to think about batteries. You charge it easily with the sun during the day.
– It may seem like I’m having engine problems now, but I don’t, Daniel says as he is adjusting something in the engine compartment of his old wooden boat. Even after half a century, this engine is ticking like a clock.
– There are rumors of fishermen who forgot and let the engine idle while on holiday, and that it still ran when they returned one week later,” Daniel says with a twinkle in his eye.
Suddenly, the old engine hums and we can set sail.
Daniel has grown up by the seaside in Drøbak in a family of boat people. The maritime is in the blood, you might say. He got his first boat just six years old – a 9-foot Askeladden.
The island was an active defense facility until 2004 and is full of underground corridors, secret rooms and cannons of all sizes. This is the destination for today's small excursion. We are going to put the SunBell to the test, and what better place than the dark tunnels at Oscarsborg Fortress? It is midsummer in Norway and too bright to see what the lantern is really good for outdoors, even though it is late at night.
Sailors need a good lantern
– It is very useful to have a real lantern when you are at sea. There are many dark places aboard a boat – inside the cabinets, blow deck and in the engine room. And in these places, the most critical things are often also found. The electrical panel and plumbing are also hidden in bulkheads and under flooring. One of the most important jobs on board any boat is preemptive maintenance. Thus, at frequent intervals, all these things must be inspected. This way, you reduce the risk of accident at sea, says the acclaimed sailor.
– This lamp has to be one of the most flexible I have ever seen,” he says while inspecting the award-winning solar lamp, SunBell.
– Without the lantern, it works as a practical torch when I have to check something down in the engine compartment or look for something below deck. The flexible neck allows me to get light exactly where I want. It is also easy to attach it, either on a pole or simply around your neck. Sometimes you just need both hands free. And in the evening, you can use it as a discreet lamp on the deck when you want to enjoy the day’s catch and a drink, he says.
– It looks really stylish, too, he adds.
Solar charging is convenient at sea
– On a long trip it is absolutely brilliant that it can be recharged during the day. Just seven hours in the sun provides more than enough light for the evening and night. And you can also charge your mobile phone, iPad, GPS or camera. Such a product truly increases the safety of a boat like this, says Daniel.
Daniel’s boat was built in Bergen in 1958 and is a special boat used when fishing for herring.
– Since then, modern sonar and other fishing methods have replaced the need for these boats. But they are solidly built and go very well in the sea, says Daniel as he swings into the dock at Oscarsborg Fortress.
It was from here that Colonel Eriksen ordered firing against the German Blücher on the morning of April 9th, 1940. The gigantic warship sank just a few miles off the island. Now we are going down into the dark corridors of the old fortress.
Soley (6) puts the lantern to the test
- I look scary now, she asks as she puts the lantern under her chin. Then she runs on and loses the lantern as it thunders into the hard, stone floor.
- Whoopsie-daisy, she says, picking it up again and running on with mom in tow. The torch managed the hard fall just fine.
In addition to the SunBell being very light, so light that it can easily be handled by children, it is also very sturdy. It is designed to endure rough use, either by sailors in old fishing boats or playful children in dark fortress tunnels.
- Can we go fishing now, Soley says, and orders the everyone back to the boat.
- Maybe we can shed light on the fish," she asks hopefully.
LOOKING FOR OCEAN CREATURES: Soley (6) looks for fish and mermaids in the water. This evening there were only fish to see.