Laeso


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Laeso, a Danish island in the Kattegat, is famous for its seaweed houses that are found nowhere else in the world. Seaweed is an excellent insulator and the islanders began using it for roofing since Laeso became deforested by the 1600s. The seaweed roofs can last up to 400 years, but many are in a state of disrepair and a project is underway to restore them.

From Skagen we ran south 28 miles to Laeso, where we rented an electric car and had a great day touring the island, including the Laeso Salt factory, a 55-ft (17m) viewing tower, the island’s commercial fishing harbour, and of course, the seaweed houses.

Below are trip highlights from September 29th, 2019 at Laeso, Denmark. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

9/29/2019
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Departing Skagen
As we departed Skagen at 5am, at least a dozen fishboats turned on their AIS and departed behind us. Here several are visible heading north as we proceed south through a mass of moored ships, mostly tankers.
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Switzer Tyr
The tug Switzer Tyr was doing ship assist work on the SCF Neva a half mile north of us as we passed. As the pilot got off and the pilot boat sped south behind us, the Switzer Tyr was released and he headed back to town. He was on a course to pass 50 yards in front of us and we’re the stand-on vessel. Technically he will just barely pass in front of us if nothing changes but, in our opinion, it’s much, much closer than acceptable for the conditions.

We probably should have sounded five blasts of the horn (signalling danger), but we expect he knew we were there and simply wasn’t concerned, being comfortable with the CPA. We threw Dirona astern and stopped to wait while the Switzer Tyr passed. The puff of black smoke above us possibly caught the skipper’s attention, who elected to make a major course change and pass astern of us. Perhaps they actually didn’t know we were there.

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Avoidance
With a 50 yard CPA to the ship assist tug Switzer Try, we threw Dirona into astern and held position to allow the tug to pass in front of us. The large puff of black smoke above us may have caught the skipper’s attention, who diverted to pass astern of Dirona.

Most commercial boats give us lots of room but we suspect some get very comfortable with close quarters operation and, for them, 50 yards feels sufficient. In open sea we don’t like less than one mile and can’t live with much less than a quarter mile, so 50 yards just doesn’t work.

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Margrete Laeso
Following the ferry Margrete Laeso into Laeso Vestero, the western harbour on Laeso.
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Ane Laeso
The ferry Ane Laeso was already in the harbour when the Margrete Laeso arrived. The island of Laeso is the largest in the Kattegat, with a population of around 1,800.
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Moored
Moored for the night at Laeso Vestero, the western harbour on Laeso.
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Alex Rasmussen
Alex Rasmussen, the Laeso Vestero harbour master, was super-friendly and helpful. He met us on the dock shortly after we arrived, bringing a selection of maps and tourist guides. He also encouraged us to rent one of their electric cars to tour the island, which we did.
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Ferry Departing
Watching the ferry Ane Laeso departing from Laeso with a full load.
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Stokken
Looking across from the southern tip of Laeso to the island of Stokken. In the summer, people wade across the shallow water to collect mussels.
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Forest
Driving through a forest on the south end of Laeso.
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Laeso Salt
At Laeso Salt, established in 1991 to provide jobs to unemployed youth. By 2004 the company had broken even economically and now can provide steady jobs. Laeso Salt is made by seething, where saline ground water is heated in large iron pans until the salt crystallizes.
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Mushrooms
Interesting-looking mushrooms at Laeso Salt.
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Observation Deck
Looking over the Laeso Salt facility from an observation tower on the property.
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Thorvald Hansens’s Tower
In 1926, Byrum resident Thorvald Hansen decided to build a 55-ft (17m) tower so that he could see the entire island. He modeled his tower on the Skagen Grey Lighthouse and it has stood to this day.
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View from Tower
The wonderful view from the top of Thorvald Hansen’s tower (click image for a larger view).
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Our Ride
Our ride, an all-electric Peugeot, was great fun and super-convenient to pickup right off the dock where we are moored. We initially were planning to cycle around the island, but the car allowed us to see so much more.
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Byrum Church
Looking across their beautifully-tended graveyard to Byrum Church. The church was originally built in 1269, and the current structure dates to 1773.
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Seaweed Houses
Laeso is famous for its seaweed houses, found nowhere else in the world. Seaweed is an excellent insulator and the islanders began using it for roofing since Laeso became deforested by the 1600s. The seaweed roofs can last up to 400 years, but many are in a state of disrepair and a project is underway to restore them. This video and information display explains the history and construction process.
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Restoration
A seaweed roof being restored.
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Hedvigs Hus
Hedvigs Hus dates from 1675 and its seaweed roof was restored in 2016. Inside is a small museum.
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Roof Interior
The interior of the seaweed roof at Hedvigs Hus.
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Syrbugt
Looking west across the windswept beach at Syrbugt at the northeast tip of Laeso.
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Lobster Statue
Lobster statue at Osterby Havn, the eastern harbour on Laeso.
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AS Laeso Fiskeindustri
Lobsters adoring the building of AS Laeso Fiskeindustri. We’re getting the impression that lobster is an important catch here.
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Fish Boats
Commercial fishing boats at Osterby Havn, the eastern harbour on Laeso.
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Marine Ways
Marine ways at Osterby Havn, with track radiating out, allowing a multiple ships to be ashore at the same time from a single lift point by turning the lift point to match up with a particular set of tracks.
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Sailors Pub
Enjoying a drink at Sailors Pub overlooking the marina at Osterby Havn.
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Vestero Havn
Looking across Vestero Havn. We’re glad they could find a berth for us in the harbour :).
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Havnebakken Restaurant
A delicious fresh lobster meal at Havnebakken Restaurant overlooking our berth.
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Dirona
Dirona at night in tranquil Vestero Havn.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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4 comments on “Laeso
  1. Doug Miller says:

    “Our Car”…..Sacre Bleu! The good people at Peugeot will be none too pleased that you called
    their Ion electric car a Renault!!! Off with his head!

  2. John S. says:

    Interesting post as always. Seaweed may work for roofs in Laeso, but for some reason the seaweed that washes ashore in vast quantities near our house in RI really reeks. It makes swimming a nauseating experience, and I can’t imagine how awful it would be to live in a house covered in the smelly stuff.

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