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In My Heart

The ice bathing season at Bugoynes has started

By Randi Irene Losoa

Ice bathing

The ice bathing season at Bugoynes started in the middle of November with bathers from Greece, England, Poland, Finland and Switzerland, just to mention a few. The season lasts from mid-November to April. At the opening there was much screaming and shouting in the village.

bathing in Arctic ocean This is the fourth year that Arctic Ocean bathers come to Bugoynes in chartered buses from neighboring Finland. Earlier they had to get swiftly into the water in all kinds of weather, swim a little and get out of the water, then get dressed and leave the village in a hurry.

(Photo by Randi Irene Losoa)

But this year the winter bathers can use a sauna and also have a meal before returning back to Finland. At this year's opening there were 50 Arctic Ocean bathers. The weather was fine, with an air temperature of about minus three Centigrades, an a water temperature of about plus 6.5 Centigrades. In other words, a day with mild weather. But still the European youth, clad in bikinis and swimming shorts, had reasons to yell and scream as they jumped and waded into the cold sea at the Vestersand beach.

Thousands of Arctic Ocean bathers

Just to mention it, the people of Bugoynes could have made a real scoop on their own long ago with all these bathers. Last year no less than 3000 winter bathing tourists visited the fishing village.

But no, not even a heated sauna in self-proclaimed "Little Finland" (Pikku Suomi) has been obtainable. This is the 4th year that dozens of buses has been shuttling to and from Bugoynes, and no one has bothered to do anything about it, except shaking their heads at this "bathing frenzy".

But now, at long last, the Finnish tour operator and the Finnish carpenter Esko Aarnio have built a temporary sauna in a hurry. An hour before the ice bathers arrived, Esko was still working on the last suna benches. And thanks to the owner of the Egnebuloftet Cafe and Pub, Terje Buljo, the ice bathers could have something to eat after bathing and some time in the sauna.

-We do not earn much on this, but it's too bad if thousands of people visiting our village cannot get something to eat, says Buljo. -After all they are promoting us to the world. Buljo lives in Oslo, but originally he is from Bugoynes and operates Egnebuloftet during summer.

Screaming and yelling

At 13:00 the bus arrived from Saariselka with 50 students from Helsinki. The Finnish tour operator is Aikamatkat with safaris in Finnish Lapland as a special. Their adventure package also includes the Arctic bathing at Bugoynes.

Last winter they sent 3000 foreign tourists to Bugoynes. With this first group of November 2011 the the travel guide was Reima Mustonen. He could tell that the students come from 14 countries: Greece, England, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland and Finland, just to mention a few.

Arctic ocean ice bathing -The expectations in connection with the Bugoynes visit have been high among students, said Mustonen. -Not everyone dared a dip in the Arctic Ocean, but most, maybe the most foolhardy wanted try this extreme experience. They walked down to the beach wrapped in towels, and not one of them hesitated as they ran through the ice cold waves and out into deeper waters, screaming and howling.

The bathing scenes that were on display were almost frightening, because the Arctic bathing does not look particularly comfortable - to say the least. After emerging out of the water, they all went to the sauna, where there were queues in front of the entrance door. A girl from Greece came out of the sauna and said that it was far too hot for her. The steam from the sauna visitors was like a cloud in the doorway.
(Above photo: Randi Irene Losoa)

Locals have to do some more

After the sauna they had a meal at the Egnebuloftet. The guests had predetermined the meny themselves. No hamburgers, they wanted something super local. It had to be king crab sandwiches, which were photographed from all angles. Later, they also got to see a live king crab. Thus the trip was so much more exotic than expected, they assured.

Student pals Elina Lassia and Tana Riikonen enjoyed the king crab sandwich, but only Elina took a dip in the ocean. -It was really refreshing. How cold is the sea, not less than 6.5?, she asked. Tana did not want not swim, she thought it looked awfully cold out there.

Bugoynes sandy beach Last year, NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting) brought a TV story about Arctic bathing at Bugoynes. -The story resulted in many inquiries from all around the world. In the next winter weeks and months thousands of ice bathers are expected to visit Bugoynes.

Bugoynes is the focal point as never before. It is unique that thousands of tourists from all over the world come here to swim. Now we know that we have to do something more to utilize this unique situation, Terje Buljo says.

(Photo by Olav E. Johansen)

Do you think there are any benefits of ice bathing? Even if you find it unbelieveable, there may be some. Read about the benefits of ice bathing.

See this video about winter bathing at Bugoynes.

Read more about Bugoynes.

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