In 1700, it is on record that a group of nomads came from Northern Russia and inhabited the most northerly islands in Norway. They were Laplanders. They weren’t the first Laplanders to come over by any means, but this group came over in 1700. Two sister workers were working in a town about 300 – 400 kms north of the Arctic Circle; they were from the States. Their name was Sylvason. They had a mission in this place. There was an old lady interested. She received the message well. She had been waiting for it, for the gospel. She said, “I have a friend who lives on an island, a bit further north from here, and I know that she will be very glad to meet you.” The girls got on a freight boat at 9 o’clock at night, and they arrived on the island at 9 in the morning. There was nothing between them and the North Pole. The island was covered with snow, really deep, several metres deep. When they arrived at the harbour that morning, some men had cleared a path and they could walk alongside the boat.
This is all very possible! I have driven hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle in Norway myself. The Gulf Stream coming up from the Caribbean keeps the whole coast of Norway much warmer than it should be, considering its high latitude. The winters on the northernmost islands are actually warmer than in the capital Oslo, way down in the south of the country.
The Hurtigruten is the famous line of freight boats (they take passengers too) that go up and down the coast all year round, they are the only way to get to most of the towns up north in the winter, when planes can’t even get through sometimes. And yes, there is nothing between the islands and the North Pole, though it is still 1500 miles away… except the large islands of Svalbard which is also part of Norway, 600 miles to the north. A few people live there, but only in recent times, and the climate is pretty awful.
People have lived in this area as far back as 10,300 years ago. The sea was probably the main food supplier for this prehistoric settlement. Indeed, the ice-free ocean (southwestern part of the Barents Sea) provides rich fisheries even today, and tourism is also important. Even at 71 °N, many private gardens in Honningsvåg have trees, although rarely more than 3 [or] 4 m tall.
Hurtigruten has one of its main stops in Honningsvåg on its lengthy route along the Norwegian coast from Kirkenes in the north to Bergen the south. From 11:45 am to 03:15 pm the ships dock in the port of Honningsvåg, generating heavy tourist activity in the city.
Even though Honningsvåg is located at the northernmost extreme of Europe, it has a subarctic climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream. Also, there is no permafrost as the mean annual temperature is 2°C. The July 24-hr average is just over 10°C (50°F). Weather in winter is softened by the ice-free ocean, and the average temperature is not as low as that of other locations around this latitude. In fact, winters of Honningsvåg are warmer than that of Oslo. Summers are cool and short.