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Swept Ashore

Updated: Jun 22, 2022

A story of infestation.

In the autumn of 2016, while on the trip in which I shot this photo, my good friend Stian Klo and I were asleep in a small cabin overlooking a fjord in the Lofoten Islands of Norway. It was a stormy night, so we were hunkered down inside instead of out hunting the Northern Lights. It had been a tough trip the many days prior with very little sleep, so I was passed out and happily recharging my energy.

With a sudden shock to the system I was woken by Stian, “Dude, wake up. It’s bad.” In my tired stupor I was barely able comprehended what was happening. “What the hell dude, I’m sleeping. What are you talking about?” Stian looked at me dead straight in my half-open eyes “It’s bugs. They’re everywhere. They’re biting the shit out of me.” As I began to gain consciousness, I started to think that maybe I never knew that Stian was a sleep walker and I’d just never seen him have an episode before. There was a long pause that was interrupted by Stian saying “Get the hell up and come look!” Now I was actually concerned.

He walked me into his room of the cabin and instructed me to look closely while pointing at the bed. The sheets were covered in tiny spots of blood. Upon further examination I could see that the wood paneled walls had these small insects crawling around in the cracks. He looked at me, I looked at him, and we mutually realized what we were witnessing... a massive Bed Bug infestation. This turned out to be a very long night.

We called the owner of the facilities who was awesome and immediately came to assist us. Apparently if you’re in the lodging industry, this is an unavoidable occurrence over time. He immediately upgraded Stian and I into an absolutely beautiful five bedroom house, complete with its own huge sauna. It was a very welcome show of generosity. But that was not a cure for the issue.

The problem was that all of our gear, luggage, clothes, everything had been exposed to the infestation and all of it had to be taken and put into the walk-in freezer the owner had in the main lodge. Apparently the freezing temperature kills the bugs after many hours. And when I say everything had to go into the freezer, I mean everything. This includes every article of clothing that we were wearing. What’s left? Just a couple naked dudes at 2:30am trying to make the best of things by enjoying the sauna in our new mansion for the night.

It was only made less awkward because we remembered we had been gifted a very expensive bottle of tequila 5 days prior. Nothing helps you bond with a friend like sitting naked in a sauna together, sipping fine tequila, and laughing your ass off about the absurdity of it all.


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