February 2013 - WINTER.
A minibus collected us from Thon Hotel Kirkenes at about 13:00 and took us to a cabin in the woods, about 20 minutes drive away. On the way the guides gave an amusing commentary. We arrived at the cabin and were given extra thermal suits to wear over our other clothing, including a crash helmet. It is compulsory to wear those items. We then boarded a snowmobile sled, which holds 6 people, and headed out onto the frozen ice. The temperature was around Minus 25 Degrees Celsius, and the wind chill decreased it even further. We stopped in the middle of the frozen ice, where a crab trap had been lowered before we arrived. Our guide raised the trap basket, via a wooden pulley, and inside was a mass of King Crabs, which he then put out onto the ice. We were able to hold a wriggling crab each and take photos. After a talk by the guide about the King Crabs, we re-boarded the sleds and returned to the cabin in the woods. The Crabs were cooked for us while we explored the grounds. For a while, we sat on reindeer pelts, by a large fire, to warm ourselves. (Actually it was more like 'defrosting' ourselves! - because it was so cold out on the ice). We had a chance for some interesting conversations with other travellers while waiting for the Crabs to cook. Next, we were taken inside a cosy cabin, and seated at tables by a fire. Our guides then brought around tray after tray of Crab Legs for us to eat. There seemed to be an endless supply, and we all ate as many as we could because they were delicious. After the meal, we boarded the bus to return to our hotel. By that time, it was almost dark and the cabin looked like Christmas card picture, as it nestled in the snow, with lights dotted around outside. All in all it was a great excursion that took most of the afternoon. It is v-e-r-y cold out on the ice in Winter, so take advantage of the extra clothing items they offer you.