Chapter 9 – Ice swimming and ice fishing – Ocean Fact

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Chapter 9 – Ice swimming and ice fishing – Ocean Fact

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series New life

Chapter 9. February 2017 – Ice swimming


A long winter


Winter is still here. It is no longer so cold but the days are always dark and exhausting. In 2015, I lived in Tromsø, Norway, three hundred kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. I had 20 hours of night, of complete darkness, but it was easier to live. During the 4 h of light, the sky was clear. Here it is just gray and I have three years left to do. Without my friends, I don’t know how I would survive.

Biological station of Husö - Åland - Winter time

Station biologique d’Husö – Åland sous la neige

Credits: Pierre Olivier @oceanfact

‘Ice-swimming’, a Nordic tradition


With my fellow biologists and friends, we went to Husö (read “A Summer at Husö”) and it’s amazing how much nature has changed. The Bay of Husö is completely frozen. It’s the perfect season to experience the ice swimming and ice fishing. Unfortunately for you, there is no pictures, nor video of my princely person going into the ice. Of course… When I entered the water, I swore in French. As much as I enjoy the sauna, it is not for me to bathe in the ice. But still, I think I’ll try again.


Small video that describes  ice swimming.


Digging in the ice - Husö on Åland - Credits: Anni Selenius
Ice hole ready - Ice swimming on Åland - Credits: Anni Selenius

Digging a hole in the ice – Ice swimming at Husö

Credits: © Anni Selenius


Before ice swimming, the first step is to dig a hole in the ice. Fortunately for us (for me), there is a small ladder that goes from the jetty inside the water, which avoids to plunge completely yourself into the ice and take too much time to come out of the water. It’s very appreciable.

Ice fishing - Husö & Åland - Credits: Anni Selenius
Nature photography on ice - Credits: Anni Selenius

Ice fishing and photography

Credits: © Anni Selenius


As the season was perfect, we went ice fishing. We went back empty-handed but had fun. As a consolation prize, we tried the Frenchie curling. A very very localized sport that only happens at this marine station.

Frenchie curling - Credits: Anni Selenius
Frenchie curling 2 - Credits: Anni Selenius

Frenchie curling

Credits: © Anni Selenius


Have you ever tried ice swimming? Where did you bathe? Share your experiences in the comments.
It is the end of this blog post but one last tip if you are going to try ice swimming, take flip-flops or this kind of shoes. Walking on ice or any icy surface after swimming burns your feet (I’ve experienced it).
It’s time to move on to the traditional local music.

JVG – Tarkenee

Author of the article.

Pierre PhD student - CEO Ocean Fact
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