Heading to north, regardless of obstacles...

March belongs to the past, April is here to stay. Mother nature is shaking off the shackles of winter in the northern hemisphere, but sometimes it takes a little extra effort to get this done. 2022 seems to be one of those years, as most of Northern Europe is in the midst of a cold, Arctic breeze. But even if cold Arctic winds are blowing from the north, the currents along the Norwegian coast are taking our virtual plastic bottle from south to north…

Distance covered by the virtual bottle and the start and end locations, 3.3.-31.3.22

Simulation (longer) of the virtual bottle, 3.3.-31.3.22

Simulation of the virtual bottle, 3.3.-31.3.22

We left our bottle four weeks ago in the county of Nordland, just below 66 degrees North, to the south west from the city of Mo I Rana. The bottle had had some difficulties earlier, when it had got stuck in a narrow, long fjord, but had been able to continue its journey with a little help from a friend. The bottle was taken by strong currents to north, and had managed to put close to 300 km under its belt during the last 4 week period. As the bottle ended up close to shoreline, and not far from fjords leading to inland, there was the chance that currents could take it again to a fjord with no return to open sea.

The aim of our campaign has been to try to continue the virtual journey of our items from exactly the same spot, where the item had reached at the end of each 4 week long survey period. When it comes to our plastic bottle, we have had to reposition the starting location of the bottle a bit again. Simulations with several items with a slightly different starting points were made at first, and most of these items ended up close to starting point, either in the fjords or shores of the many islands in the area. Some managed to clear this maze of islands close to Sandnessjøen and further to the north. One of the items, which we chose, made its way out to open sea and was taken pass the city of Bodø. The bottle traveled a distance of 250 km in the past 4 weeks and is now about 200 km further north from where it was, when we zoomed into it last time.

The bottle has ended up in a very interesting location, close to the Karlsøyvær nature reserve, at 67.5 degrees north. There is three possible directions, where the bottle could go next. There is the long Folda fjord to the east, with several fjord arms that reach in total about 60 km. These are wide fjords, so currents could bring the bottle back to open sea from these ones, should it end up there. On the other hand, there is the Lofoten island group to the west and north, but it is not very likely, that the bottle could pass these islands from the south, as this would require western currents that would take the bottle the 80 km or so from Karlsøyvær past the southern point of the island group. It is more likely, that the currents will take the bottle towards north and the main body of the Lofoten islands. The bottle could end up on the shore there, or it could find one of the many passages between individual islands, through which it could advance to further north. The other option is that the currents will push the bottle first to north, towards Lofoten, but then take it to east towards the 80 km long Ofotfjord. Ofotfjord, which is also known as the Narvik fjord, is the final resting site of several world war 2 ships dating back to the battle of Narvik, which took place almost exactly 82 years ago. But will it be the final resting site of our virtual plastic bottle as well - we will find that out in the end of April.