Rough and cold conditions
It’s three p.m., and it’s already getting dark in the town of Båtsfjord on the northern coast of Norway. The water is 39 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, a regular human being will expire from hypothermia in an hour, give or take 30 minutes. In the Arctic Ocean in winter, however, there’s a good chance a combination of shock, exhaustion and the thrashing waves will ensure that you drown long before you get the opportunity to freeze to death.
It’s been snowing heavily all day. The winds are building up to a gale strength, and the streets of Båtsfjord are all but deserted. Most people have the good sense to stay inside or, if they have somewhere they absolutely need to be, drive. Those few who are out and about walk with a crouched briskness, doing their best to shield their face and extremities against the piercing wind and the stabbing snow.