COLOURFUL: Devils and females are Julies favourites. - Male figures dont sell, but femels ones are popular with both sexes, she says to Underveis.

The Isle of Man is a uniqe place in so many ways. The island has only 75,000 inhabitants, but it is a country of its own, with its own government. It is a part of great Britain, though. People have lived in the Isle of Man for thousands of years. In 979 A.D. the Vikings landed on her shores, and established a parliament, Tynwald (Norse: Tingvoll). The parliament still excists today, and is the legislative branch in the Isle of Man. This in turn means that they have some laws that deviate slightly from those on the British mainland. For instance, the Isle of Man is considered a tax haven, both for corporate bodies and people, who pay a an average of 15 per cent income tax. (Approximately like in Norways Spitsbergen isles). And speed cameras are illegal, something that leaves its mark on the traffic. Road kill remains a major problem. In addition, the Isle of Man has its own race track, that basically consists of a strip of road that is being closed off to regular traffic whenever there is a race on. During races, the islands population doubles, and people from all over Europe fly in to watch or participate.

But the Isle of Man is a different island in other ways, as well. As we were to discover, the human resources in the island are big, and the Isle of Man is a vital community, throbbing with activity. Along the weather-torn coast, small fishing hamlets cling on to the rocky cliffs, and shell fisheries are a major industry. Tourism is also a traditional industry, and in the old days, "everybody" in the British isles would go to the Isle of Man on holiday. Entire cities went on holidays at the same time, going there to relax, enjoy the nature and the fresh sea air. When Underveis came sailing in from Belfast, we had no idea that we would be spending three weeks here. But the weather has kept us in a firm grip, throwing one depression after the other our way, from Greenland, down towards the Azores, across the Atlantic and into the Irish Sea. So we have had plenty of time to relax, travel around the island and meet people.

ISLE OF MAN: The Isle of Man was under Norse rule from 979 A.D. up until the 14th century. Manx people are very proud of this. Peoples attitude, the nature and weather are very similar to that in Norway. The latter has lately been the worst for 20 years, according to local media.
Our manhood blew off in the Isle of Man
Isle of Man, 04.12.2006
LAXEY-WHEEL: This water-driven wheel was an engineering masterpiece in the mid 18th century. The dimensions are enormous. Together with several others, it drained water from the mines under the town, and it has been restored to perfect condition again, in the best of British tradition. Each wheel could drain 1,000 gallons of water per minute, and weighed several hundred tons.

# Isle of Man is a part of Great Britain, and the capital is Douglas.

# Approximately 75,000 people live in the Isle of Man. Around 40,000 of them live in the capital Douglas.

# Sea shell fishing, motorsports, banking and finance, and tourism are main industries.

# Isle of Man has its own parliament and its own interior legislation. The parliament is called Tynwald (Norse: Tingvoll) and was founded by Vikings in 979 A.D. It is the oldest parliament in the world today.

# The Isle of Man is a tax haven, and many large multinational corporations have offices in the island.

# Every year the socalled TT-races are held in the Isle of Man. 20,000 motorbikes and 65,000 visitors come to the island from all over Europe. The race track is basically an ordinary road that is being closed for ordinary traffic. On the last day of the race "Mad Sunday" is held, and everybody and everything can race on the track as fast as they dare, for an entire day. Even tractors with hangers are supposed to have been spotted among the participants!

# Bank cards are accepted in most shops, and there are ATMs everywhere. The price level on food and drinks is half of that in Norway.

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HAD LUNCH WITH KING OLAF: Pete Geddes from Laxey had lunch with Norwegian King Olaf on board the royal yacht "KS Norge" in 1979, during the millenium anniversary for the establishment of the local parliament Tynwald. Pete and a colleague were onboard to help adjust the TV aerials so that they could receive british TV channels. - Afterwards, the monarch invited us to have lunch with him. - A memory for life. And King Olaf spoke perfect Oxford-English, Pete says proudly. Here showing some of the photos he took onboard during the visit.
Manx people are very proud of their Norse heritage. They say openly to us that they would rather be a part of Norway, than a part of Great Britain. Everywhere we go, we see Viking decorations, replicas of Vikingships and the museums are crammed with old remnants of the Norse that came here more than a milennium ago. Getting in touch with the very friendly locals is easy, especially when you are Norwegian. Two of the first people we met, were Alan Kneen (37) and Mark Buttery (43), Alan is from Peel, where Underveis is currently berthed. A couple of years ago, Alans dad died from leuchemia, after several years of illness. Alan then wanted to do something for people suffering from leuchemia, and decided to row across the Irish Sea (Summer of 2007), and then across the Atlantic (Summer of 2008), in order to raise money for three trust funds that finance research on the disease, and give economic assistance to families of cancer victims. He got Mark in on the team, and together they have spent 14 odd months building a seafaring rowing boat, finding sponsors and preparing the project. For us, the two pals came to symbolize the Manxpeople, with their compassion, their guts and their wish to do good and help others.
ROWING TO FIGHT CANCER: Alan "Big Al" Kneen and Mark Buttery have taken it upon themselves to row across the Atlantic from New York to Great Britain in their DIY rowing boat Fight & Spirit" , to raise funds for fighting cancer. Alans father died from leuchemia a couple of years ago. And Alan and Mark considered us hardy... We wish them the best of luck!
GREAT SURF: The weather has been terrible during our stay in the Isle of Man, with wind speeds up to hurricane strength. Here, Finn Olav has been out for a swim near one of the break-waters in the town of Peel, where Underveis is now awaiting favourable winds

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THE THREE LEGS OF MANN: The crest of the Isle of Man is very characteristic. And it reflects the strength inherent in its inhabitants. - No matter which way you push us, we are still standing, they say, eyes glowing with ardour.
ELEGANT: The sculptures she makes, are being sold to tourists and Manxpeople alike. She also travels extensively, conducting workshops for art students who wish to work with the art of glass sculpturing. Like most Manxpeople she loves her native island. - I lived elsewhere for 10 years, but in the end I had to return home. This island has a way of reeling you back in again, she says laughingly.
GLASS SCULPTRESS: Julie Anne Denton is a glass sculptress, and she has her studio near Castletown on the southcoast of Man. In stead of shaping her sculptures using her breath, she uses oxygen gas and special rods of glass, with which she crafts the most beautiful sculptures.
As we sat in an internet cafe in Douglas, we started talking to Pete Geddes, Sue Jones and Mike Body. Mike has lived in South Africa for many years, and we plan to call on him when we reach South Africa in two and a half years time. Pete has lived all his life in the Isle of Man, and was very excited when he heard that we were from Norway. - I met your King Olaf when he came here to celebrate the millennium anniversary for the parliament of Isle of Man in 1979. We were going on board to help him tune his TV into the British Network, and we spent all day on board his ship, the "KS Norge". He then invited us for lunch, and spoke perfect Oxford English. He was really a nice man. It was a memory for life, says Pete. We also visited glass sculptress Julie Anne Denton, who met on the town one night. She has a studio on the southcoast of the island, and she invited us there to show us how she works. And she performed magic on those glass sculptures!

As we speak (04.12.2006) we are waiting for the weather to clear out, so we can get moving. We are going to Brest, and then to Paris to visit some friends, and we hope to be able to get to Southern Spain for Christmas. Todays weather forecast says that we may be able to get going on Friday, but we will have to see. We originally thought that we would be able to leave today, but it didnt work out. In the mean time, we are having a great time. We have been to a meeting in the local photograpic society, we have been eating dinner in "Big Al" and his wonderful girlfriend Paulas home in Laxey, we have written articles and stories. And we are looking forward to Christmas, wherever we may be spending it.

WHITE WHISKY: The whisky in the Isle of Man is white, but it tastes like whisky nonetheless. They are not allowed to call it whisky as such, but everybody know what it is. In the background Peel castle, which dates back as early as the 7th century. The Vikings came her in 979, and expanded the fortress, today a tourist attraction.
DEPRESSION: A new record has been registered as to low pressure on our voyage, as we reached 950 millibars. We put out all the fenders we had, used all the ropes and chains, closed all hatches and stayed below deck.

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