The boats crews, of course, include no women, but here on shore women do a large share of all the heavy work connected with the fish business. Two million dollars’ worth of cod and hake are brought in here every year ; the special season among the western islands is from January to the middle of April, though the season is later as boats go farther north in the Arctic waters.
The fish that are being handled here just now are “lange,” much like the American hake. There is a considerable market for fresh fish here in town, where over 8,000 people have their homes, but the larger part of the exported fish is cured by salting and drying.
Nearly five per cent. of all the people in the kingdom earn their bread by fishing, or by working over the fish, as these men and women are doing now. It is a hard life, and, for those actually on the sea, a life full of peril. We shall before long (Positions 93 and 94) visit one of the island stations, far up within the Arctic Circle, near where these very fish we see now were caught.
Almost every tourist who calls at Aalesund is bound for a certain famous peak and river valley at the head of Molde Fjord. That fjord, as we see by referring to the upper part of the map of southern Norway (Map 2), opens from the sea a little way north of latitude 62° 30′. Trace it eastward up into the country, and near its head we find the Rauma river flowing in from the southeast. We cannot afford to miss the Romsdal, even though the splendors of the Arctic seas wait for us farther on. Our next standpoint is marked 89, beside the river, and the red lines indicate a view cut off before reaching any great distance. This is what we see.