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Much rain, a steep drop and nearness to Bergen meant that the power-making potential of the Samnanger water system was exploited early. Samnanger was thus one of the first power-producing municipalities in western Norway. With its subsequent expansion and new power stations, about 400 gigawatts of electricity per hour were produced on average each year. This is enough to meet the energy needs of 25,000 households.
The fishnet shed at Notaholmen stands as a reminder of the days when people used to row out on the fjord to set their nets. On Notaholmen the nets were dried, repaired and tanned. And it was a great advantage to store them in a place inaccessible for rats and mice.
Ådland, innermost in the Samnanger Fjord is an old church centre and transport centre; a nodal point in the transport from sea to land. The white painted church standing today, was built in 1851, but there were two older churches here in former centuries.
"One of the big scientific sensations", was the title in the Bergens Times newspaper on the 22nd of November, 1941. It was the geologist Isal Undås who had been interviewed by the newspaper. He thought that he had discovered a 120 000 year old whale bone, remains of life from before the last Ice Age.
On the farm Hjelmo, furthest north in Øygarden, in the innermost part of a long bay, there is a fine boatshed collection with a church beside it. From times immemorial this has probably been the fish-shed location for these farm units and this was also the landing place for the churchgoers.
The large coastal waves that crash down on the islands west in the sea gather their energy from storms and winds all the way out in the North Atlantic Ocean. The most common place of origin is nonetheless the North Sea. When these waves break over the skerries and islets along the shore, or on the rocky outermost islands, their energy is released. This takes the form of turbulence in the water and sea spray up on land. Can the enormous energy contained in the waves be exploited?
Herdlevær lies on one of the small islands west of Hjeltefjorden, facing the North Sea and the big ocean. Today you may arrive there by car. The numerous islands are linked together by elegant bridge spans made of concrete. Fifty years ago it was half a day’s journey to get to Herdlevær from the mainland by your own rowing boat or ferry.