The pirates go to Athens

We have been walking around Athens for a few days. This city is huge – and wherever we go is a new adventure waiting around the corner. Exploring this capital and it’s sites has once again tought me to be humble in humanity. We have celebrated David’s birthday, climbed a mountain, bought fruit at markets, looked for new shoes without finding any, been living comfortable in a very cheap apartment and had amazing greek food for every meal consumed.

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David having a moment.

Coming from living on a budget in Sweden, Athens have been the ultimate upgrade. Of course we can speak about the temperature and the climate – but this have only been the necessary change for us. The culture around here, the people, the history and the food have given us a whole new perspective of the pirate life.

The first day here we walked down to the marina to look for a new pirate ship. There was many options and a whole culture in itself to take in. We were of course tired from having spent four whole days at airports but got caught in the excitement of being stranded in the birthplace of our western culture. The tree of us is a great team, we have the respect, patience and love for each other to actually make this journey together. We have built a strong friendship between us on our way to this point and I have great belief in us as the crew, working ourselves toward our next pirate ship.

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Human history was changed here. Forever.

Walking in Athens is a huge adventure. You have all the traits of an European capital amongst some of the best known historical sites in human history. Combine this with friendly people, no snow and great food and you get an atmosphere worth visiting. I have had no chance but to surpass my goal of ten thousand steps a day, seen architecture transfer moved from the ancient greek to the modern time of my life and discussed life-changing philosophy with my two best friends in this world.

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The place we got David’s birthday ice-cream.

Last night we spent the whole evening selling waffles under our neighbour highway. We had got to know an artist that have his studio there, next to refurnishing-shop, and he was kind enough to let us use his electricity for our waffle-iron. Sadly we was not able to make all the money back for our expenses, but thinking about it – it would probably be far more expensive for us to walk around the city on a friday night without any purpose to speak of.

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Norwegian pirate waffles for sale!

We are not going to stay in Athens. On monday we’ll catch a bus to the west-coast and the city of Patra. According to people we have met – everything is cheaper there. It’s still Greece’s third largest city and we hope to make a home there for the next couple of months while we regroup and get our plans together for our pirates-for-peace movement. It makes me happy that we have plans to work towards and short-term goals to hit in order for us to get ourselves back on a boat to roam the world. This short week in Athens have given me perspective on my life and I feel strengthened and ready to go.

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Let security make sure we are safe.

We still have a couple of days left in Athens. Today is Saturday and if I’m right, whenever the other two awakens to this beautiful warm day, we will have breakfast and go venture into new parts of the city. Tomorrow is Sunday, meaning that all historical sites have free entrance. I will fulfill a life-long dream and finally get to see the first theatre in the world.

Captain Jack

 

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The day everything went according to plan

We have just experienced our first day with no noticeable problems. There was that one point were the engine cut out just as the wind picked up making us sail instead – that was just awesome. The reason was that we are still running on our old diesel-filters – but apart from this tiny winy problem and the hour were the bilge-pump stopped working because of our very much dirty bilge.

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The wonderful view on deck.

We are of course counting on having a fair deal of problems with a wooden boat from 1957, and an engine even older. The old Bedford has been dry-docked for years, so no wonders that it require som love and care from four inexperienced sailors on their journey south. Apart from these two problems and the fact that I couldn’t catch anything but a nice pile of sea-weed – the day started with some of the calmest waters we’ve experienced, warm sunny weather and perfect conditions for anything but sailing. It was so calm that the engine was the only way to go.

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Conny on watch while David maneuver us graciously.

Lucky for us the fix we had been working on to stop exhaust filling up the cockpit proved to be working. For the first day in forever we reached our goal and have transported ourselves a fair bit south of Nynäshamn and into the guest harbour of Öxelösund.

The day has been as perfect as perfect can be on the water this time of the year. When the engine stopped and we raised the sail we made a whole 3,5 knots in only 3 ms wind. That was awesome. Starting at 10, we arrived at our destination exactly at the time we had planned out.

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Captain Simen writing the text for our first message in a bottle.

Last week felt mostly like a training-week with all the crap that happened but I am proud to say that this crew stood positive through the whole thing. We are really coming together as the crew we set out to be – which of course is essential for our mission for the coming months.

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Captain Simen practising his amazing guitar-skills.

Right now it’s so foggy around us that we can’t see the other boat around us, this is the weather for the night – but tomorrow is supposed to be just as good as what we’ve seen today. We feel we are finally making progress. Captain Simen has even got the diesel-heater that caught on fire the other day back in order. There was quite i bit of water there going into the system when we flooded the engine. We are waiting for dinner made by first-mate David tonight, enjoying some rest after a completely perfect day in the beginning of this adventure. We have officially left Stockholm county.

Captain Jack

 

 

Starting south

It’s been busy for a few days. We’ve had to train two new crewmembers onboard, an American and a Swedish man we happend to find while cruising to Turku, Finland. They were going south toward France and were sitting in the cigar-bar debating wether to get airplane-tickets when we got chatting. After 20 minutes of sharing our stories we decided to travel south together. They left all their belongings, only bringing whatever they were carrying, in Stockholm and came along to Spillersboda where we started our venture south the next morning.

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The fleet resting after the first day of the journey south.

There was of course a lot to organize before we were able to actually see if the engine would actually take us anywhere. And then there is the case of our old ship. There was this man came to see the boat an hour before we left the shipyard in Spillersboda, paid for it – but didn’t actually take it.. meaning we are now towing it with us toward the Swedish capital. Today will probably be our last day doing this. Straining our new engine towing another boat seems a bit over the top, but we have the nicest convoy around. We’re trying to give it away to friends of friends we have met from Stockholm.

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Boat for sale, free or cheap!

We did 13 nautical miles yesterday, going pretty slow for about five hours. We are heading for our first port of call; Nyneshavn where will probably stock up, wait out some wind and for another Norwegian pirate that is going to escort us over some parts with open water.

Since the engine started to smoke a lot last night we decided to dock at some Swedish millionairs private island. We needed a place to fix the problem it turned out to be our best solution. It was an easy fix, we just needed to change the totally worn down impeller, but had to wait till the morning for the engine to cool down. The owner of course came speeding toward us, but proved to be a very nice guy and even let us use his bathroom while we were there.

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New crew David showing off a departure gift from Spillersboda.

Todays mission is to get rid of FF Harry. We have been debating options, but it looks like we will leave it for whoever is in need of a free boat. Contact us if you want the coordinates!

That’s it for this short update. There is too much to learn onboard and we are rising the sails for the first time in a few hours. Write you soon.

Captain Jack

Let the winds take us south!

Around midnight last night we had an alarm go off in the ship. It beeped for a whole minute – notifying us that we have reached the point of zero degree celsius outside. Lucky for us there was no ice but it’s really getting a bit to cold for us around here. There will still be another week before we can actually start our journey, it all depends on the engine, if it runs smoothly you will most likely see us head south within next saturday.

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Our wind-engine!

 

One of the neighbours, a couple with two kids invited us over for dinner the other night. It was a warming experience spending an evening with them. He is a former world traveller, now a carpenter with a side job of marking baby eagles in the area. She was until the end of December a stay-at-home mom with their two adorable kids, one at the age of three, the other just learning to walk at the age of one. A very nice little family focusing on living sustainable in a modern Sweden. We were served self-shot Bambi with creamed potatoes from the garden. Thank you for a perfect evening!

Yesterday we took the time needed to install our sails. We hadn’t actually checked them out yet, just taking for good that they were both in a sailing condition. Since none of us had even touched a sail in our lives until yesterday, there was a need to scratch our heads a few times before we could figure out the basics. But in a couple of hours we had made up a pretty good understanding of how they’re supposed to work and I’m proud to announce that the ship is now able to sail. In theory.

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Never touched a sail before, it will be fine.

There is no way to steer this ship without having to run the engines. The steering is sadly running on a hydraulic system, which we are hoping also is in a working condition. We will have to find a solution for this little problem. But if we could do it on FF Harry we can do it with Harry Louella. First step now is either way to fuel up with oil and make sure the engine is running. We haven’t had it started in the water yet, only on land, so this should be interesting. We should all have our little projects for the weekends!

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Laundry is a nice activity in the rain.

FF Harry and the trailer is still out for sale. We’ve had no luck so far getting them sold, can you imagine? The old boat is selling to the highest bidder, you can litterary get a perfectly working pirate-ship for nada..! What we did get sold was the pile of free materials used to hold Harry Louella dry during the last four years. Not much cash in those though, we sold them for a six-pack of light beer. If you don’t feel like buying a ship but still feel like supporting our mission you can use the paypal-function below.

A little gift

Just choose the amounts of money and click the button!

€1.00

That will be the blog of the day! Thank you for reading, keep following our journey and please share with your friends using the icons below! We appreciate all our new and old readers and can happily annonce that since this blog started we have surpassed the previous number of readers every single month! 10 points for sharing!

Captain Jack

Slipping, eating, waiting and living life

I was optimistic enough in our last post about getting the ship to the next step – lower in the water by the next day. Well, that didn’t happen and Harry Louella is still sitting in the exact same spot as before. Last time I checked – the water seemed to keep a steady pace forcing itself into our presious new pirate-ship. Adding to our mix of exstatic joy and rumbeling anticipation – the weather do a great job being ambivalent enough for us to keep ourselves mostly indoor. But as the weather-gods keep sending us miniature storms, we do for the first time have a great ship to make sure to keep us warm and dry.

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Patiently making falafel for dinner.

We must be patient. After all, we have gotten a lot further than what we thought was possible when we first arrived in Spillersboda, exactly one week ago. It’s just that time has a funny way of following it’s own rules in these situations.. To slow down like for kids waiting before christmas, or waiting for the school-bell to ring on friday afternoons – And I should say; this is the first time ever I see Captain Simen being impatiant about anything.

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Anna in her office.

Spillersboda keep being nice to us. Anna, at the store, have employed Captain Simen as her personal IT-consultant and pays us by letting us use the laundry-room in the basement. I believe she is taking som online classes in Arabic at the universety or something. She’s a funny lady, the other day she decided out of nowhere to only talk to us in English. In the meanwhile her husband left to remove a smelling dead creature from the loft in their summer-cabin, that they haven’t been using. There is always a smile on her face – our new best friend.

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Hasse in his office.

In the shipyard, poor Hasse have no choice but to watch the fleet of Harry ships out the window from his breakfast-table every morning. He’s a very friendly guy nice enough to borrow us any tools we may not have ourselves. At the same time – I’m sure he’ll be a happy camper the day the pirate-ship won’t sink any more. Meaning; he can get his boat-ramp and his amazing preassure-washer pump back. For now, we are all stuck sharing our life together.

We have spent the most wonderful saturday in a very long time with Per, the guy whom brought us 12 liters of motoroil last week, and his wife. They had invited us over and man are we happy they did! Their weekend-house, which are spend all the time they have to spare on, is about an hour away from our shipyard (in FF Harry-speed). I can hardly describe our visit, other than it being very giving in many ways. It’s amazing how we can learn from each other and be part of peoples life by being open enough to share our time with new and interesting friends.

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Captain Simen in deep conversation with Per about something.

We had talked about us coming over to look at an VHF-radio. Something we have been wanting to get in order for a long time. When we arrived it was clear that we were in for a whole lot more. We got to take a look at their amazing home, which they have put a whole lot of love into – before being invited for dinner. It was home-made Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes fresh from the garden with saus – a traditional Swedish meal made just perfect. Gordon Ramsay would have bent over squealing. In short, we had a perfect night with new friends, great conversations and great sharing of life-experiences.

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The two Captains getting ready for dinner.

This is exactly why we are traveling! To learn from each other, listen and share our stories. To share great meals, knowledge and experience. Thank you for having two pirates for dinner! We are very happy about making new friends.

Thank you for reading our blog! We are starting to build up a nice group of followers and more people read about our journey every single week! Feel free to share the posts with your friends and family on social media by using the buttons below. Tell everyone – Sharing is caring!

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

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

In the waterways of Baltzar

For a hundred years, starting in 1832 and all the way through the 1930’s and 40’s, this canal-system was Swedens most important route and way of transport. The system is 190 kilometers long, 87 kilometres of these was dug out by hand by 58.000 Swedish Soldiers during the 22 years it took to create us this wonderfull journey, and also the shortest way for us, to Stockholm.

If you entered this site by a mistake and actually tried to find our fundraiser CLICK HERE and it will open in a new tab so you can keep reading.

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FF Harry gloding through the water.

A visionary by the name of Baltzar von Platen trumped through his plan of these waterways. At the time they used bulls to pull boats through the canals – boaters paid 8 cents every thosand alen or about 594 meters. Sadly he died in 1829 and never got to make this journey by himself. We are therefore taking it upon us to make this trip for him a 186 years since it’s opening. Tonight we docked in Motala – the city of which Mr. Baltzar was burried.

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Red line for the distance traveled. We are basically half way there, but tons of water has to be moved for us to hit the sea.

We are driving a convoy with two sailboats. Great people in both of them. The first is brother and sister on their way back home, after having ventured since May (just like us) The other two musicians and a real sailor of 72. Having sailed for 60 of them we feel safe about pimping out Varg this afternoon since the Musicians have to make their living. This ship is also going to Stockholm to be used for a temporary home this winter.

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Varg is steerinng narrow canals for the first time.

The weather could of course be more willing, but as hard as it is to admit – the summer is over. We are looking for ways to make enough money. We have come a good way and have a lot of supporters all the way from Spain, Germany and the US, maybe a couple in Norway and hundreds in Sweden. After finishing this blog I’m heading out to track down a used waffle-iron. Maybe pirate-waffles can be a good way to attract people to buy our amazing pirate-postcards (that you’ll get for free in the mail if you suppoŕt our fundraiser HERE)

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Making our way forward.

I think that must be it for this little update. There is laundry to take care of, dishes to wash, a ship to clean, and garbage recycled before we leave town this afternoon.

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Juno has made a habit of passing by.

Ship O’hoy,

Captain Jack