Harry Louella is afloat!

The full moon had just taken over the sky. It was luckily still some daylight to work with for this next critical step. Over the horizon we could make out the planet Mars as we lowered Harry Louella into the murky shipyard-water. There was this magical little moment as we watched our new pirate-ship float by itself for the first time in four years.

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Harry Louella making touchdown.

Earlier in the day we spent hours filling in the cracks in between the boards with a fitting substance. We had the ship lifted from its trailer in the water with the crane of the shipyards rig. In some strange way the trailer had got stuck on the wrong side of the metal boat ramp. This meant we couldn’t just drag the boat back on land – it had to be lifted. So we did. Hasse was nice enough to use his truck as a temporary working-platform for a few hours.

It was a dirty job that just had to be done. And man did it help! We are still on red alert and have to watch the water all the time. We thought there would be a lot more water right now, but it seems fine. Meaning; we only have the two installed bilge-pumps running constantly. The big electric pump we got the other day is set to start by itself if the water-level rises over a certain point. But for now it looks good. We are afloat!

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Harry Louellas last time on the trailer.

 

Now starts a whole new set of stuff to take care of onboard. We need to have another real go-through of the engine, easier said then done when none of us are really born as mechanic-wonderchilds, but I’m sure we can figure out the basics. We also have to install a wind-indicator, a weather-station and run another full check of the older than us-electrical system.

There is also a whole bunch of stuff to take care of regarding the FF Harry. In short – we need to figure out a solution on how to get rid of it in a respectable way. The same goes for the trailer and som excess gear we can’t take with us whenever we are ready to venture on. Then of course, there is the case of rigging the mast, checking the sails and probably learn how to use them.

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Captain Simen giving the tractor a hand.

Yes, there is tons of stuff to do. We have spent two weeks in Spillersboda now, and we are still looking at least on another week before we can be ready. But that is no problem, not when we can optimistically start this week off with our new home tied to the dock.

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Thank you for reading! I challenge you to share our blog on whatever social media you prefer. We would also like to remind you about our fundraiser. As you can imagine this project does not come cheap and we can really use all the help we can get to put this ship back in a respectable shape. If you have the chance, don’t hesitate about supporting us either with a small donation or by sharing our adventures with your friends and family.

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Update you soon!

Captain Jack

 

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Geocatching while waiting to float

Today, I promise, we are lowering the ship to stand on its keel before the waiting makes us totally crazy. This will be our second to last step before our new home is supposedly going to float by itself. It’s sunday and this weekend we had a visit from my geocatching pirate-mother and brother Morten. It’s always nice to have family over, and it was totally great if we’re not counting the fact that all four of us have been feeling a little shabby. 

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Captain Simen feeling sick in the back of a car.

A little regular sickness won’t stop our mission of getting this ship afloat. We will make it happen at any cost, and since we really are spending absolutely every little penny to make it happen, I assure you it will. We are actually being optimistic about getting the whole boat afloat within next sunday. We are still not in a bad position time wise, but the sooner we can get our asses to warmer countries – the easier it will be to make a safe sailing.

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Sorry, but not even I have been allowed to take a decent picture of my mother in all my years of living. Here with my brother checking out the next geocatch to find.

Since we’ve had visitors these last days, we finally got a couple of days off from fixing big and small things on the ship. There was originally a plan of making a the trip to Stockholm, but since all four of us felt a bit sicky – we mostly ate food, drove around our whole new neighbourhood going geocatching instead. They have a great Thai-reataurant in Norrtälje.. If you don’t know about geocatching, you should probably check it out on geocatching.com and get just as hooked as my mother and husband have been for the last five years or so. It’s a great sport with an amazing fan base all around the world. They spend all their free time traveling the world to explore hidden forgotten places. They are actually one of the most active catchers of Norway, and if your into the community you probably know them as Teamvesla. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found their first real old forgotten pirate-treasure before the pirates onboard Harry Louella will.

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My mother going for the ‘catch’ laying on the 60’th latitude on this point in Sweden.

I think all we are going to do today is lifting the ship and seal it up with another layer of Ettan, a grease, fat-like substance in between all the boards below the waterline. We are then going to remove the trailor it now stays on and lower it as much as possible – making all our pumps prove they’ve been worth whatever we paid for them. At the moment we are running two pumps and it’s going just fine. So fine that the next step is imminent within the next few hours. At this moment, either the tide is higher than it has been in all our time here or we are actually, slowly, being dragged toward the ocean. Come on big ship, get your ship together – we are ready!

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This is the case five minutes ago.

It’s about to become a new week. Again. Along with our visit this weekend, we have also had a small storm in the area. The weather has been a hazzle. Having a boat staying on pilars sticking out from a trailer in waves will hurt your boat. We would be better off sailing the open water.

Captain Jack

We made the news!

Time is passing slower for every day we have to wait here in Spillersboda. There is nothing to complain about in this little pearl of a Swedish village – but we are ready to move on, to get this ship sailing and go treasure-hunting southward. There is of course great things happening all the time. Like today, my mother and brother is coming to visit all the way from the distant Norway and before I could wash my face this morning this guy knocked on the window inviting us to dinner next week. 

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Spillersbodas mainstreet.

When I say, ‘before I could wash my face’ (something I don’t usually do every morning) it probably should’ve happened today. You see, yesterday we went to Norrtälje to get an antenna for the new VHF we was gifted this week. And at the same time got a wind-indicator to put at the top of our mast before we put it up. But not stopping there, we got a weather-station and kept our promise of singing karaoke with people met last Wednesday. It seems that Wednesdays are our new Norrtälje-day. Anyways, before we could return safely to the shipyard, after having spent a whole day and night in society – we had some trouble with the wind in the pitch dark and crashed into the dock by accident.

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Damages caused by hitting the dock to hard.

Everything went well of course, not counting the Captains ending up in a brawl over spilt milk. Waiting for something to happen can’t be good for anyone – And let me assure you that although we all love each other, it is for the best if the new ship get’s floating as soon as possible. Apart from the fact that autumn is rapidly approaching, thereby also harder weather – we are still going for our goal of hitting the mediterranean by the time of new year.

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Pirate-lunch.

Also we happened to cover a whole page in the local newspaper yesterday. It seems like the swedes find it extremely interesting that we are stuck, waiting for our new pirate-ship to float. We too, of course, but like we talk to other sailors and previous sailors about – slipping, is the worst part of the cake. We had a reporter visiting us, her name was Britta, which of had been tipped off about pirates being in town. True stories are worth telling I suppose, which is the reason we couldn’t walk through town yesterday without being recognized by many.

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The article in Nortälje Tidning.

The ship is getting there. I don’t dare writing about when we will actually get to sail away from here, but my best guess is within october first. We’ll probably take the chance of lowering the ship another notch or two within the next few days. We did after all get a new pump yesterday, my hope is that we can cover most of the bottom with seawater as soon as possible. It just takes time – and we are no good at waiting.

Captain Jack

We bought a bilge-pump with cash!

Our ship is built in oak. A very hard but sturdy type of wood that takes forever to seal up. It has only been five days, but it seems like a lot longer since all we want to do is continue our journey south before it gets too cold. The last two days have been super windy so we tried to spend the time wisely by hitchhiking into the next town to buy a new bilge-pump. 

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FF Harry enjoyingtime to himself.

Sweden is a wonderful country in many ways. But there is this one thing we have discovered that will most likely and hopefully take this country down. They are slowly ruling out the good old cash-payment method. On more than one occation we have been stopped in our way just because we haven’t had the option of paying with a credit-card. We can’t even go to the bank to top up our accounts – because the banks don’t even accept cash.. what the heck is this? One thing is that this so called EU-country won’t accept Euro, but cash in general? Everything now has to be logged and even more of our freedom is being taken away from us. How and why would you ever want this for your country? Thank all gods that we’re leaving this country and are not Swedish.

That was my morning-rant. I get that way when I haven’t had my morning coffee yet. But seriously, how do the Swedes think this is gonna play out? We had to have the waitor pay our bill with his credit-card, while he got cash from us. I can easily smell how that bill was canceled from the register.

Norrtälje is a nice little city. It’s only about 15 kilometers from here and have absolutely everything you need to live the good life. We are of course very happy here in Spillersboda where they have the local grocery-store accepting cash and a nice small community – but Norrtälje is a city, and we wish we had a whole lot more money to spend on stuff we actually need for the new ship. Instead we spent the day walking around, checking out the stores and in the end got to know some of the local karaoke-singers. We might have promised to give them a show next wednesday.

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But we also got what we came for: a new bilge-pump to take care of 93 liters every single minute. This means that we most likely tomorrow morning will be ready to lift the ship up with a crane, use a tractor to remove the trailer it is now standing on and then lower it down till it sits on the keel and have three pumps taking care of the rivers flowing in trying to drown our engine. But this isn’t the sinking Swedish cash-economy. We will float, because that’s what Harry’s do – Harry Floats.

Captain Jack

Pumping water in Spillersboda

It looks like the backend, the aft, of our new ship is starting to get used to be back in water. The pumps are now only pumping two thirds of the time. This is very good news. And even though there is days before she can be lifted of her trailer and float on her own, things are happening! Of course – We were about to burn down the whole boat last night, when an electrical fire broke out in the waterpump-pedal to our new bathroom sink. 

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Looking at Harry Louella from FF Harry.

I kinda wish we were back in the old days. When boats were built in this shipyard – and more people than the two of us and the shipyard-master, Hasse, is up bright and early like today. A long time before the sun comes up. It’s strange how the long days of painting, wiring, pumping and screwing makes one want to get up in the morning. It is amazing to totally trying to learn how all the previous owners have all put in at least one cable or fix idea on how to solve a problem onboard before us.

This place was built in 1919 and had it’s grand glorious days between the 1930’s and 50’s. Spillersboda, the village itself was first mentioned in history in the year 1535. In the 1970’s there was only one farm in Spillersboda, and tree others in the area. A man named Carl Fridolf Westerblom opened the first filial of a general-store here in 1888. A few years later, there was built a new store that still stands today. This shop is today kept alive by a nice lady named Anna and her husband, Ahmed, who is an pescetarian.

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Spillersboda general store, picture from their site; http://www.spillersbodalanthandel.se

There was also a sawmill started here in 1903, that is still today one of Spillersbodas biggest employers. Today there is 479 registered inhabitants of this little pearl of a place to visit. Because of the short distance to Stockholm, there is well over 1500 people that also use this place for recreation. Even though Ahmed says the numbers are BS, and that most people actually don’t live here most of the year – The population is on the rise and have gained well over a hundred souls since 2005. At least on paper.

Onboard the boats in our newly aqired fleet, we have gone through all of the important tasks needed to be done before having both ships float by themselves. Captain Simen spent a few hours and probably most of the bad words he have ever learned to pump out the old oil and change the oil-filter. We still have to make sure the other dieseltank will actually hold diesel, but I can’t imagine that both tanks are actually broken. The damage is most likely not caused by rust, but rather something caused by friction.

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Captain Simen changing the oilfilter.

The best part so far is to finally have a place to cook decent meals and a functioning cooling-box to keep the food fresh. We can finally eat stuff that doesn’t come out of a tube and use milk that isn’t made to last for two years. In short, things are going great and we are enjoying our peaceful days in sweet little Spillersboda.

There was of course this case of fire.. Because we are taking in a few hundred litres a minute, the waterlevel rose a little too much, but lucky for all of us – we were there, and quick response from a well emergency-trained crew fixed the problem in a swoop.

Captain Jack

The waiting-game

Getting old wooden pirate-ships to float takes all the patience in the world – and at least a week. Lucky for us, there is plenty of work to be done around the ship. Time fly by even if we are desperate to get her sailing. Captain Simen has been working hard to make sure the engine and all the electric cabeling is top-notch. I, myself, have mostly been taking care of the paint-jobs and neccesary detail-tasks. 

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Here is a before-picture, taken last time she was seaborne.

There’s a fine line to how much we want to put the ship in the watet at once. Most important is to make sure the engine stays above water, which we have managed so far. At the moment we are mostly conserned about if the trailer can handle all the weight of a sinking ship at the back end. It would totally be best for all if we could get it further out as soon as possible. There is a chance that the whole trailer will brake.. Not good.

A friend we met earlier in Göta kanal came by today with 12 liters of engine oil. A perfect gift at the perfect time. 400 euro worth of oil is something we didn’t think of untill today. It would be kind of stupid to continue on without changing oil. I thought diesel was expensive, but oil is way, way harder on our accounts. Thank you, Jan!

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One handlebar painted.

If you also feel like helping out somehow, you are more than welcome. There isn’t really room for any more hands on deck at this time (we get several requests from aspiring pirates out there, but at this time it would just be more people waiting in the shipyard) But soon, good people. Soon soon soon… If you do however have spare cash, diesel, a GPS, echo sounder (or whatever it is called in english) or knowledge about wood, bedford-engines or this exact ship, feel free to contact us HERE or check out our fundraiser HERE.

We wish we could be sailing right now. The wind and the sun is just perfect and even though tomorrow is supposed to bring rain – it would be an adventure to rise our sail for the first time. But first things first, let’s make the ship seaworthy. And on the positive side; we are not taling in as much water as last night.

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Me looking into the camera with the ship in the background.

Yesterday, we had a visit from the people we bought the ship from. They brought beer all the way from Åland and a contract for us to sign. Great people that was really sad about letting the boat go before they even had the chance to try her out. But the fact is: it takes a lot of time, love and patience to get her back in the water. Something none of the tree previous owners had, one way or the other. We are getting there. I just hate the wait.

Captain Jack

The Harry Float

Just five months ago we were stranded pirates in suburbia of a midsize city in the Kingdom of Norway. Now, somehow, we have a small fleet of two ships where one of which are halfway actually floating. We started the process of letting our new ship make friends with the salty water of Sweden this morning, we got about two feet deep before the automatic bilge-pumps started working. 

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New ship entering the water.

There is not much we can do about that at the moment, but the list of things to take care of is pretty long. While we wait for the area around the propellar getting used to be back in it’s natural element after having dried for four years we have gotten started at the other stuff that needs to happen before we set sail.

I have preassure-washed the deck – it took forever but it is now as clean as it can get. It will need a coat of paint in not too long but it’s fine for now. One of the dieseltanks was leaking as we transported the ship to the water, and since the boat is pretty much built around the tank it is nearly impossible to fix the problem withoit disembeling the whole thing. We have therefore decided to give the tank a sick-leave until further notice. Lucky for us – we have two tanks onboard. Captain Simen has spent some time making sure that the other one is in working condition.

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Oh you dirty dirty ship..

The first payment for the ship left our account today. The ship is officially ours. This means that as soon as the new one floats by itself, not by being strapped to a trailer on a tractor, we will be ready to pass over FF Harry to some lucky new owners. The marked for used wooden pirate-ships in Sweden is pretty weak, but I’m sure we will find a suitable captain soon enough.

Hasse, the king of the shipyard, has been great help during the last couple of days. His knowledge of boats and equipment has been essential for us. Even though we work from early morning to far beyond the sunset we couldn’t have done this without his support. And speaking of support, thank you to all of you following this journey either on the blog, instagram or other social media. Also to all that have donated – some even by multible occations! If you also feel like contribute – you can check out our donationpage.

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New ship as far out as she can go at the moment. Just waiting for the mast to be attatched.

I should get back to work. By the look of it, we’ll probably be stuck here for at least a week or two more. Lucky for us we got to borrow a key to the local sportsclubs referee-lounge, that by the look of it hasn’t been used for years – But there is a warm shower. We are presentable again.

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Captain Simen lookin extremely presentable at 0800.

Captain Jack

Making her seaworthy

Morning fog is surrounding FF Harry with a thick blanket of white nothingness. Giving me the chance to update you on the progress regarding our new ship. The crew has changed into a gettting-up-with-the-sun routine in order to make the most out of the daylight. We are working as hard and fast as we can to make the new vessel ready to head south before the temperatures around here drop dramatically. 

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This is the first look of the new ship.

The ship is built in 1957, it was originally made to be a fishing-vessel but before they could finnish her, there was allready better suited ships in circulation. It therefore never served as what she was built for. For size she is 30 feet (9,14 meter) long and 3 meter wide. They then put up a mast and made it a leasure-boat instead. Adding sail and other features more suited for her new purpose.

The engine is a 220 Bedford that most likely used to serve as the motor of a car. It has 4 cylinders and 62,5 horsepower to our disposal. Our first big quest was to figure out if it would actually start. If there was no life in the engine, I do believe this would be too much of a task for us non-mechanical pirates to take upon us. There would of course be a chance we could make it happen, but it would take a lot of time and money that we don’t have. But after a lot of testing, checking, going through the whole system several times and adding some fresh diesel to one of the three dieseltanks she wasn’t to hard to ask. The engine started without any big hickups after four years of standing untouched on land. Hurray!

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The new office have more space.

But there is no time to celebrate. Captain Simen started the everlasting work on the electrical system. There is hundreds of meters with cables on a ship this size, and we have to check them all. Lucky for us, most of the gear is working just fine, but we had to install an extra bilge-pump and reattatch some cables, change som fuzes, doublecheck everything and make sure everything do the job they are meant to.

I have spent most of the time sealing up the outside of the ship. It has, as mentioned, been laying drydocked for the past four years. It has however been looked after, or meant to be set in water about three years ago – it never happened. There was still a bunch of cracks where water would flow in like a river if we didn’t seal it up properly. After spemding an entire day of sealing up with stuff like PL-400 and Sikaflex, not to forget adding new woodcapsules on several boltholes – there was a whole lot of space in between the boards still wide upen… We had to go to drastical meassures and repaint the whole ship. We used something called cold-asphalt, which is mostly a tar-based substance that both my hands, face and clothes now have been covered in. It’s how they used to do it economically in the old days. It worked a hundred years back and still does today. Just ask FF Harry, he got a coat just four months ago.

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Left side no paint, right side lots of paint.

It took all of yesterday to do the bottom of the ship. Today is a new layer in between the boards before continue the work above the waterline. It’s a whole lot of work, but man.. There is not many things more beautiful than a freshly painted pirate-ship.

Allright, I think that was it for the update. Spillersboda as a town is perfect for this work. There isn’t too many distractions and they have everything we need. They didn’t have the cold-asphalt in the paintshop – but it only took a few hours from we ordered it until they had gotten it for us anyway. The grocery-store is also good, not too busy they either – but today they are supposed to have gotten fresh bread. They even have laundry-machines for us to use in the basement.. The only thing missing in Spillersboda is a shower. There is no showers here – and I really need a shower.

Captain Jack

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FF Harry sulking by himself.

PS

Don’t forget to help us out on our fundraiser, it is still not over. If you feel like giving us a hand, please go to our donationsite HERE.

 

 

Adventuring forward

Stockholm may be an extremely clean, safe and proud capital city – but like all other crowded places, you pay for what you get. Since the crew left onboard is dying to save every bit of money that comes through our hands; we decided to leave town before the sun went down yesterday. We are located about 6 hours of Harry-speed northwest of the city at a small island called Rävsund. 

We got to do a little sightseeing and all that stuff, there is a lot to see and we had an interesting venture visiting the two museumships laying in front of the Vasa-museum. These are free to visit, well worth the money. I know you are probably supposed to take a bunch of pictures when you are visiting big cities like this, but to be honest I forgot all about the camera and didn’t really take any  during our long walks in the streets and the old town.. except this one:

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The mess onboard the lighthouse-ship in the harbour.

It should be mentioned that our friend in the Wasa guest harbour helped us out a lot by only charging us 50 euro for our whole stay (instead of 120) – and that the nice guy named Fredrick came over to hear our story, and for that gave us 500 kroner. Also the guys that knocked on the ship to order waffles at 11 pm for 490 kroner. All in all we came out of our 3 day visit alot better than feared. Of course we had to bunker up, the Swedish diesel prices are crazy, but the tank is now full and in a few hours we will most likely get to inspect our new pirate ship with our own eyes.

Speaking of our new ship. We are halfway there on the cash side of it. The crew will of course sell more waffles, maybe even some of the gear we have onboard the FF Harry, but feel free to help out on our fundraiser. We have got some major donations lately, and this means a lot!

The link to our donation site is HERE

I do not fear that we won’t be able to make it. But since we just hit september, it is now a race against time before we will freeze in or have to deal with a lot more weather on our way out. The new ship has to be rigged and overhauled, it also need some good soaking days in the water before we can consider it safe. The previous owners are telling us they did a great job taking care of the boat, even though it sits on land at the moment. We will see for ourselves in a couple of hours.

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Found one more picture taken as we sail into Stockholm.

We have gotten a few requests from people that want to join the piratelife with us – and yes! This is possible, but not until the new ship is ready and we have the neccesary bunks. We have learned that setting up camp with tents and all that stuff take away much needed time. Feel free to send us a message, I’m sure we can find solutions.

But for now our minds are set to scrape together the funds. Please check out our fundraiser, I think the lowest you can give is about 5 kroner or 1 usd. But for smaller amounts, feel free to use paypal, every single cent helps out 🙂

Link to donationsite

We are finally at a place where we can make a coffee-fire, and thats exactly what I’m doing after posting this. Varg took off to Copenhagen to meet up with his girlfriend. Captain Simen is still asleep, we watched a movie last night for the first time in months. Oh yeah – the sun is shining! It’s time for coffee.

I wish you all the best for the coming week. Subscribe or check in regulary for updates on this crazy adventure!

Captain Jack

Entering the Baltic

We are currently breaking through the waves of the Baltic sea. Our journey through Göta Canal is over. We have said our goodbyes to our convoy-friends and ended our last night under a full red moon and later on the aft deck of a russian pirate ship that were heading the other way. They came over for a chat, bringing beer while we ended our waffle-sale on the dock in order to pay for our diesel needed to get to the next port of call – Stockholm.

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The view from our office.

Captain Simen is working his skills on navigating through wind, rain and baltic waves. Varg is sleeping, trying to make sense of his stomach after knocked out by Russian pirate alcohol. I thought I would spend a second imforming you about our fundraiser we have started in order to be able to purchase our new pirate ship.

We are at 13.326 Norwegian kroner. This is amazing and we are extremely happy and maybe a little exstatic about the help and support many of you have given us! It warms our hearts to tell people we meet about our journey. We remain positive about reaching our goal on 40.000 kroner, but we still need your help, so if you have the chance to throw some change in our direction – we would be forever thankfull. All you have to do is follow this link.

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A shipshape ship ready for adventure.

We will highly recomend that you consider taking a trip on Göta canal. It was something we had been looking forward to all summer and was well worth the money. Also the fact that got to take the trip during the low season made everything a whole lot better. There was close to no waiting in, before or after the locks and the bridges was waiting openly for us. Riding in a convoy also invited us to get to know some great people and make new friends. Varg actually rode most of the journey with Captain Tommy and his crew. There may be two captains onboard the FF Harry but Captain Tommy was the captain of the whole convoy, which in the end counted five boats.

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One of 64 locks passed.

Taking a boat through a canal is a very special feeling. We are however tired of locks and are looking forward to the next months of boating open waters. I spent a long time last night trying to figure out what the Russian pirates kept in their cargo, but this remain a secret. They did however have a bottomless bottle of Russian alcohol – which have set the paze of today. But we are heading for the Swedish capital and aim to be there Thursday morning. It should go smooth and not considering the weather it should take us about 24 engine hours.

A big shoutout to everyone we met throughout both Dalslandscanal and Göta canal! It was great to meet you all. Also a big thank you to everyone who bought our pirate waffles, postcards and philosophy.

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Please check out our fundraiser, and if you yourself are not able to give – share the link (and this site) with somebody you think will like our story 🙂 Or of course, if we drop anchor somewhere near you, feel free to pop in for a waffle.

Thank you, see you soon,

Captain Jack