Sunday, December 23, 2018

The icebreaker season

The icebreaker Atle

[Image and story source:]

The icebreaker season has begun in the Gulf of Bothnia, but as yet there's no ice to break; the water is too warm, still about 4°. The five icebreakers are idling in Luleå harbour.

The icebreaker fleet, at present, is still critical to Norrland's commerce. Without it, exports of iron ore and timber would cease for around four months each year.

The names of the five icebreakers are Ale, Ymer, Atle, Oden and Frej.

As you might guess, the names refer to Norse mythology.

Oden = Odin

Frej = Frey

Ymer = Ymir, the primordial giant whose super productive body gave rise (birth?) to the later giants, the Norse gods and the earth itself.

Atle = Atli, one of the alternative names of the Norse god Thor.

Ale (pronounced "arlay") is another version of Vale = Vali, the son of Odin and Rindr. When only one day old, Vali slew Hoder in revenge for Balder's death. In Swedish lore Vale/Ale is conceived as a good archer and a dwarf in stature, which explains the use of the name here. Ale is smaller than the other icebreakers. It was originally built to be able to go up the Trollhätte canal into Lake Vänern.

The icebreaker Ymer


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