The jet-black rubber RIB was running flat out in the February night. We were sweeping past the Mongstad oil refinery at the Norwegian west-coast, just south of Gulen Dive Resort, and the clock was approaching midnight. Apart from the lights in the distance, the visibility was zero, and we were navigating solely on GPS, chart plotter and radar. The speed of 35 knots produced a howling wind, although the sea was completely calm.
As I slide out of the shallow basin and drag myself past the top edge of the drop-off, I find myself hovering in an empty void. Between me and the rock plateau far beneath me, I seem to have nothing but a clear space. It is almost disturbing. Aside from the feeling of drag when moving, it is almost impossible to detect the water we are in.
The port of Narvik in north Norway was established around the export of iron-ore from Sweden. This was due to the very good harbour and its ice-free conditions. At the outbreak of World War II, Narvik was a strategically important harbour, and during the first few days of the war a very intense battle was fought out here between German, Norwegian and British naval forces.