A truly unique Christmas present: King Crab Safari.
Stop by the heavily guarded Russian border on your way to a king crab safari. And be sure to put on a dry suit and try floating in the Barents Sea.
Arctic Adventure Resort
This safari won the price for Best International Tourism Product at FITUR 09, which is the world’s second largest travel fair.
Text: Frederik Amundsen
We are in Kirkenes in the county of Finnmark in early March. This is where the European E6 highway ends and where Norway meets Russia.
The houses are built in Russian style from before World War II and every month there is a Russian market in town.
– Usually, we pick up our guests the city, and drive them out here, says Lars Petter, the owner and manager of the Arctic Adventure Resort.
The resort is not far away form the city, and on our way we stopped by the souvenir shop at the heavily guarded border to Russia to buy post cards. There is a Russian Orthodox Church here as well.
As we put on warm clothes the guide talks about the area, where the sea eagle rules the air, just like the king crab rules the sea bed.
Pretty soon, we are in the boat, on our way to the edge of the ice.
– The ice is on its way back, as the winters are getting warmer. The king crabs are mating now, and finds the area where the ice starts to be the safest place, says our guide Guro.
The Russian diver gets in the water and disappears. We wait on the ice. 15 minutes later he appears at the surface with five enormous creatures. Our feast is a fact.
The guide hands out dry suites, to put on top of our clothes, and we jump in the Barents Sea. We float around in the cold water, but we don’t get wet.
A strange feeling of freedom. We laugh. This special swim is included in the price if you buy the The Full Kirkenes Package.
Back at the resort, the crabs are put in boiling water when we sit down to watch Lars Petter’s slide show and hear him talk about the king crabs. The crabs are served as they are, and we crush the hard bones and find the delicious meat and put it on bread with aioli.
Where to stay
Groups can stay at the resort. There are hotels in the city and the Kirkenes Snow Hotel is an interesting experience.
How to get here
By car, you drive the E6 highway till it ends. You can fly into Kirkenes from Oslo or Tromsø.
The small town of Kirkenes is known as the capital of the Barents Region and the gateway to the east. Kirkenes is situated between two time zones; Helsinki and Moscow. In Kirkenes, which lies in the municipality of Sør-Varanger, people speak Norwegian, Sami, Finnish and Russian. The small mining town has approximately 3,300 inhabitants.