Undervannsjakt i løpet av et år – del 2 av 4 - Vinteren

Underwater hunting during a year - part 2 of 4 - Winter

Photo: Michael Byø

Michael Byø, 1982 model raised on red porridge with cream, camel's cheese and far too much milk. I have been doing underwater hunting and freediving since I was 12 years old in Denmark. in 2008 I sought new challenges as an electrician in Norway. From there it went quickly, love blossomed and it resulted in 3 children. Frida 5 years, Freia 8 years and Snorre 13 years.

The first years were spent at Danmarksplass in Bergen, where I went through the critical adaptation phase. To put it briefly, it doesn't rain THAT much in Denmark. In 2012, a move to Stord was announced and we have been here ever since.

In this blog, I will share my experiences about the different seasons that we as free divers and underwater hunters experience in the sea. Read along and get a good basis for experiencing the 4 seasons below the surface.

Winter in the sea

Winter equals darkness in large parts of the country and slightly less darkness in the rest of the country, but still dark and for many a very depressing time. Do not despair, the cure is simple, does not require a prescription even if it should be handed out to everyone on blue paper.

Winter means good visibility, in other words it is possible to get quite close to the experience of floating weightlessly around space. Outer space is unattainable for most people. The sea has become my world space where I dream away and meet creatures I didn't know existed, some with extraterrestrial features.

Winter is the time to explore, collect shells, enjoy the good visibility and get to know the topology of tidal currents better.

- The number of pelagic fish has been greatly reduced
- The cod is still found in the fjords
- The scallops are usually safe because low algae presence (always check notice)
- Night dives can be carried out late in the afternoon.
- Good visibility gives the opportunity to explore and get to know the fixed places better
- Settled fish farms can attract a lot of fish, including large cod.
- The nudibranchs emerge for reproduction.

Underwater hunting during a year - part 2 of 4 - Winter

The temperature mostly stays above 4-6 degrees along the Westland coast north of Stavanger.In the innermost part of the fjords, there will be a battle against the ice. The best and simplest measure against the low temperatures is a 3mm neoprene singlet, which can be put on at home in the living room before leaving for the dive site. The alternative is 9mm suit. Also remember 3-finger mittens and tight socks for the best possible comfort.
Most can manage a few hours in the sea just fine as long as they are in constant motion.

We are not made to live or be in the sea. When the water is cold, it is extra important to show understanding for this. It is very individual how long people can survive in cold water. It is assumed that most people will be unconscious within 30 minutes at a temperature of around 5 degrees.

Temperature Time to unconsciousness Possible survival
0.3°C < 15 min. < 45 min.
4.5°C < 30 min. < 90 min.
10°C about 1 hour about 3 hours
15°C about 2 hours about 6 hours
21°C about 7 hours about 40 hours

Source: The United States Search and Rescue Task Force

In other words, 7mm neoprene is the difference between life and death when we dive in the winter. Keep that in mind when it gets cold.

Fingers and hands are usually the first to stop working in the case of more severe cooling (hypothermia), you will gradually lose muscle power before unconsciousness occurs. The body may eventually go into hibernation, often referred to as rescue collapse. The heart goes slower and the pulse drops. The cooling continues due to low circulation.

Plan your dives well and make sure that it is not too far to warm and safe surroundings. Bring extra hot water in a suitable container.

Underwater hunting is definitely the most selective form of fishing
The selective privilege entails a great responsibility for the individual practitioner.

Sustainable food gathering

In Norway, we freedivers have unlimited access to the world's largest larder, the sea.

The Marine Resources Act confirms in §2 that wild marine resources belong to the community in Norway. Allemannsretten ensures that we can move freely almost everywhere on land and along the coast.

When gathering food and hunting with a harpoon, it is us practitioners who choose exactly what and how much we want to take home. This makes underwater hunting the most selective form of fishing.

In contrast to traditional fishing methods, we can select a prey, kill it quickly without causing unnecessary suffering and damage. Add to that the fact that our footprint is virtually zero compared to traditional fishing, net and seine fishing.

At the same time, it provides a clear advantage for hunting many species, but at the same time it also comes with a great responsibility. A management responsibility for practicing sustainable fisheries.

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