Skudeneshavn – small and beautiful (Gunnar Apeland)
Oh yes, I admit it. My hometown is special with its small white houses protected by rocks and hills from the North Sea when the storm is blowing and the sea is roaring. That is my place, my true hometown, - even if I don’t live there anymore. If you don’t think I have reasons to say what I say, check out this website:
“ My heart belongs to Daddy” sang Mary Martin in the musical “Leave It To Me!”. The song, which is written by Cole Porter, is a classic. Well, my heart at least part of it, belong to Skudeneshavn where I was born and raised.
Laid back with open eyes to the future
Every time I visit Skudeneshavn I notice that the people have something that a lot of people at other places don’t have. Something indefinable. They have a laid back attitude, but at the same time they have their eyes open to the future. They take care of the small houses in the old part of the town because they represent an important part of the town history but most of them live in the new part where houses are rather big with well-trimmed backyards and gardens. There is no big shopping centers, but enough stores to get all they need. No reason to go daily shopping other places.
The history confirms that the people in Skudeneshavn always have been interested in the future and how one could make a good living in this small town by the sea. In the beginning of the year 1800, Skudeneshavn had a large fleet of sail ships that travelled around the world with cargo. The crew navigated their ships in all kinds of weather with navigational tools they developed themselves. One of the tools was a foghorn that was constructed by a captain on one of the sails ships, and the foghorn was produced in the world’s first foghorn factory. Where that factory was? Of course, in Skudeneshavn. And you can see it in the local museum.
Piloting ships was in many years an important vocation and still is. Many pilots lived in and worked in Skudeneshavn. According to my dad, there was quite a competition to reach out to the ships that needed pilots in order to go safely in Norwegian waters. And they did not have any VHF or other radio communication. The only way they could get in touch with the ships was to observe them and row out to them in their own rowboat. Often, the wife had to come along and bring the rowboat back.
Fishing, often combined with a small farm usually gave the people food they needed. And even to day, you can find fishing and farming in combination. But, most people have other jobs.
Both my grand dad and my dad experienced the hard times. Therefore, they as many, many others went to America in order to get a better life. Some came back, other stayed in America. That is the reason why many in Norway have family in to-days America.
We welcome you
Both I and my other family members are looking forward to see you in Skudeneshavn in July 2012. We will try to give you a good time. But we cannot guarantee you what you all want: Good, sunny weather. But, most likely you will get it. After all, Skudeneshavn has been appointed to The Summer Town of Norway. And it has the highest average temperature in whole Norway.
This is Skudeneshavn to-day. The white town by the sea.