Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Every story has a beginning I

Dear followers of Hyperborea Exists, I hope that you’re having a good start to 2011. I’ve begun the New Year much as 2010 ended: working non-stop. Obviously that’s a good thing, considering these difficult times. Today I’d like to begin a series of posts that will progressively explain how I first became involved in researching the Hyperborea myth. As the title describes, every story has a beginning, and this is the beginning of mine with Hyperborea.
NTNU main building. Trondheim, Norway.
It all started over ten years ago, in the summer of 2000. Back then I had been working as a resident teacher and researcher at the NTNU for over eight years. My time was divided between teaching submarine archaeology classes and various field work projects that we were developing for the Norwegian government, other institutions and private companies. We had our own research to complete on top of that.

As I’ve mentioned before, ever since I was a boy I’ve always had a great passion for Nordic mythology, for the legends of my land. It was, and is, a subject that inspires me and I’ve always read, studied and researched anything I could find on it in my spare time. In an ideal world, a researcher like me should be able to live off researching their grand romantic dreams. But real life isn’t like that. So the field work that dominated my schedule normally had nothing to do with the area that fascinated me the most.

I don’t mean that I didn’t find it interesting to rescue 17th century shipwrecks or Second World War remains. Quite the opposite. All the projects I’ve worked on have been both important and personally satisfying. But there was always something niggling away inside me, telling me that something was missing. That I needed something more if I was going to feel fulfilled in life, on a personal level and also as a professional researcher and explorer. A challenge that matched my true interests.

It seems that fate heard my secret wishes for once. In June 2000, the Nordic Communications consortium contacted the NTNU requesting assistance with a study. It needed help assessing the viability of laying an underwater fibre optic cable that would connect the continental Nordic countries with Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The project proposed to use over 900 miles of submarine cables. It was unquestionably one of the largest projects in which we had ever been involved. Our role, in collaboration with the company contracted to carry out the on-site work, required us to study the best route for the cable, its environmental impact on the ocean floor and ultimately, whether or not the project was viable.

It would involve several procedures. First a sonar and radar study of the ocean floor along the route proposed by Nordic Communications. So far, the suggested route had been chosen because it was the most economical i.e. it was the straightest route possible. Once we had studied the results, if this initial route proved to be unworkable, we would then study secondary routes and repeat the first step. If the first route was viable, we then had to lay a basic steel test cable. This would determine the actual conditions on the ocean floor and reveal any high risk points that would require additional action when the real cable was laid.

So, after running some preliminary studies, we packed up our kit and boarded Nordic Communications’ chartered boat, the Blue Sea. I was joined by Geir Grønvoll and Olve Raan, colleagues at the NTNU, and two small but highly useful submarine robots: Barracuda 1 and Barracuda 2. They belonged to the NTNU and would be essential for observing what was happening on the ocean floor as we laid the steel cable in real time.

It was 7 June 2000. A long month of hard work on the high seas awaited us..