Making our way to Ale’s Stones

We have made our longest passage so far in this boat. With an average of 4 knots we crossed the Hano-bay in about ten hours. The voyage was totally great and we had great conditions. I will admit that the last hour was one of the harder type. Mostly due to pitch-dark, fog with subtle rain and meter-high waves from the side and wind in an awkward direction. But our skill set is building quickly and we pulled through and found a safe harbour 3 nautical miles north of Simrishamn. We spent the night in this small village and got some good rest. The next day we only completed the journey southward to Simrishamn and found a dock to tie the boat safely enough to stay the two days of forecasted gale passing through the area. 

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Simrishamn is a beautiful little town. They obviously have a high-rise ban because all the houses are small and tightly packed together only separated by brick-laid streets. It’s history go back to the year 1123 and was in the hundreds of years after an important city for the connection between the mainland and the island of Bornholm which is today governed by Denmark. At the time, up until 1658 the mainland was also part of Denmark – but this changed with the visit of Frederik the 3rd the year ahead.

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We spent the days mostly onboard. There is plenty of stuff to take care of in the boat. We are battling things like moist and ways to stay warm on cold nights. The last not being a big problem since we are often connected to shore-power. Condensation is however becoming a bit of a fight. We are looking to keep mold away, but since we are often tightly packed it has become a job to air out the areas and then especially under mattresses and pillows. This have forced Captain Simen to start the everlasting job of drilling hundreds of holes in the bed-boards. Not an easy task when what we have to work with is a manual hand-drill. We have also installed netting in the ceiling to store all of our vegetables and secure other fresh food.

When the winds calmed down we could safely journey on. We made our way 20 miles down the coast to the harbour of Kåseberga. This is the mystical and historic site of Ale’s Stones. This being a powerful symbol of power and faith. The rocks on top of the cliffs was probably raised somewhere between of 1000 and 1500 years ago and was described by travelers in the 1600’s. Today the formation called a stone ship consist of 58 standing stones and one horizontal block. The formation represent a type of grave built during the late Iron age. It is the largest known Swedish stone ship, measuring 67 meters long and 19 meters wide.

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Ale’s Stones may have been a cult-center for sun-worshipers and we had the joy of having the best sun in weeks upon our visit. At midsummer the sun sets at the north-western apex and and at midwinter the opposite. Why and how it has gotten it’s name is unknown. There is no record of anyone named Ale, and many researchers claim that Ale is an ancient word for temple or sacred place.

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We are setting course for the southernmost point of Sweden today. It is a bit of a milestone for me. By the end of the week we are will with all luck be crossing over to the Kingdom of Denmark. We are also getting ready for some live-streaming and did our first test-run yesterday! Until next time, have a safe ride!

Captain Jack

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A Captain’s reflections

Sailing these waters at this time of year offer some exciting problems for our journey to the south of Sweden. We studied the same winds on our previous attempt last year and it’s a hard route to sail due to wind directions on days where it’s no rain or strong winds. For these reasons we ended up using the engine for an entire day down from Kristianopel to Sandhamn, the first small village on the mainland for boats going north toward Kalmar. Our plan was to get to Sandhamn before the rain came in from southeast, and although Captain Simen got soaking wet on his shift – we’ve made it to shore. 

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Sailing in rain is not the most pleasurable experience in October. We therefore decided to stand our grounds for two nights before proceeding. In a way this is great, since the guest-harbour here offer showers and free bikes. It was also time for us to clean up the ship again. A couple of miscalculations on the waves have tossed things around a bit, this is not the first time this happens, but we have not figured out all the solutions for where to put everything onboard yet. I suppose I’ve learned now, and will consequently pack stuff away before going out sailing in the future.

A stop like this also give some time to reflect and drink tons of coffee. We are basically sailing through three of the Scandinavian capital areas; Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Without all the tacking and jibing this calculates to about 1300 kilometers or 700 nautical miles. In other measurements that’s about the same distance as vertically sailing USA on it’s slimmest or a little shorter than the Sahara desert. Of course, we are enjoying our time and is really starting to get back into living on a boat again. That said; this wonderful boat is a whole different story than our previous ones. Here we can actually keep warm, dry and store all our belongings safely, unlike our previous I can now drink my morning coffee in my boxers.

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We don’t have to work everyday to make sure we don’t sink or actually have a functioning engine. Before we purchased this adventure of an home, we had some beautiful boats in wood, but life was more a struggle and the upkeep of an old wooden boat would no doubt eat our entire non-existing budget. Having steel presents its own set of tasks to take care of but none of these have so far been critical. I must applaud Kaj who built this boat for his excellent care and craftsmanship.

qrfOur adventures doesn’t come free and we are always looking for ways to make some quick cash. We are extremely flexible and will be searching out small jobs around, let me know if you need a fence painted or your boat washed. We can do just about anything! If you want to support us, there is plenty of ways to do this. Take a look at our support-page in the menu or click here

We are very lucky to be able to be able to live our lives as free as we are. Having you read and follow our journey is making me feel proud of the choices we have made. There is nothing I’ve experienced that have offered me this kind of peace with myself. Maybe only backpacking, but then you always have to carry your stuff around and you know that it eventually have to come to an end. Slow-traveling by water, with sails and without an end-date, offer the most unique ways to see and have time to experience the world around us.

If I’m to be totally honest – my mental health need this freedom. It need to be experiencing new things and to be moving in order to be healthy. I don’t mind being ‘stuck’ somewhere for a while or even take a job, but in the long run and talking from experience my happiness and love for life disintegrate over time when I feel locked in. I’m sure people probably have thousands of ways to deal with these feelings, this is just the one that works for me at this point in time. Some people ask if this is about running away, and not take responsibility and I can assure you it is not. It’s about the freedom I personally need to do in order to make myself feel that life is valuable.

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Freedom is relative, of course. We have things we need to do onboard a boat as well. But when it comes down to it; Being your own Captain, almost always being able to make the choices that shape your day and at the same time being able to do absolutely nothing is the best life-enhancing recipe I’ve ever know. I will not speak for Captain Simen, but I suppose there is a reason to why we stick together. Having someone like him to share these experiences and this life with make life at the moment just perfect.

When we are ready to leave this place, I hope we can get a good run down the coast. The bay-area ahead of us could get us a long way if the winds are with us. There is also a chance that we might have to back down and turn north, but so far the forecast for tomorrow is very promising.

Captain Jack

Our sail broke in open water

Västervik is a cozy small city. It is home to about twenty thousands citizens and in the summer there is hundreds of boats visiting every day. It is also home and birthplace to both men from the a famous little group called ABBA. We were told by an old sailor, that is now retired from sailing for sixteen years in a boat much like ours, that one of them have basically bought the whole harbor-area and with this have build a floating hotel in town.

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In other news, we’ve got diesel! With some good winds we are now fully able to reach the southernmost point of Sweden without too much hassle. We’ll take our time, no worry and according to our logs we had just put our last boat in the water up in Spillersboda this time last year, so in a way we are way ahead of schedule. Except this time, of course, we are not really heading for the Mediterranean this time around. It’s too damn hot down there.

Speaking of hot. It’s not. The weatherman have promised us nights averaging about 5 degrees Celsius. It’s getting close to that time where we need to buy covers for our beds. We made a great hot vegetable-soup for dinner after the two trips to the gas-station. It was a great day of exercise and for the first time in along time I walked twenty thousands steps in one day.

 

The next morning, at about eleven, as I was enjoying my coffee our old retired sailor from the day before pulled up next to our boat on the dock and asked what we thought about some food. And food it was. He took us to a great restaurant serving real Swedish food, buffé-style. It was great and he told us some good stores from his time at sea. After the meal he showed us around town a bit before returning us to our sweet darling home.

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We the proceed ed with our plan, refiled the tank and motored out of the bay. Byebye Västervik. It was a wonderful day and we had a jolly time going 2,8 knots out toward the open sea. We wanted to find a well protected anchorage where we would be ready to ride the wind from north the next morning.

On the way out we had the time to make a pit-stop on one of the small Islands we passe. From distance we could see that the good old swedes had made an lighthouse there back in the 1777’s. Earlier too, but the building now triumphing the landscape was build only 246 years ago. They used to hang cages with burning coal for ships to make somewhat safer passages.

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We proceeded to find ourselves a good place to anchor up for the night. With a forecast of 10ms cold wind from north we found a good place on the south side of an Island called Händelöp, which was locate perfect ly for our coming passage to Öland the next day. We went on a walk around the island to fin a great little summer town that was now basically closed for the season. Only a couple of houses had light in them but I’m sure whoever lived there did it happily.

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We woke up bright and early at 10 in the morning and lighted some candles to heat up the boat a bit before breakfast. Without hanging around too much we sat course for today destinations at Öland. Faith wanted today to be another hard-ass day for the pirates onboard. We got about half an hour out before the foresail ripped in the seem. Not a big danger – this can easily be sowed in less than an hour. Our problem didn’t start until half an hour later as in when the old mainsail ripped all the way over. We had no choice but to motor back into shore. No Öland for us today. Instead we was kind of washed in by what the weather-people said would be 1,5 meter waves but in reality was 4, to a small bay with a settlement called Kråkelund.

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There really wasn’t too many places we could go ashore but one dock that was deep enough for our beloved troublesome ship of the day. We were met by a girl named Olivia and Lucky for us she was not hard to ask when we explained our troubles. She invited us in for coffee an later for dinner as we were figuring out what sails we had available in our collection. We learned that instead of being equipped with two mainsail and two genoas, we had three genoas and only our ripped main. In horror we discussed our options until the solution appeared to us. All we had to do was cut away the bottom reef of the sail and tie it down. We are now officially sailing a much smaller sail. But we are coming into the wind season, so it’s probably for the better anyways.

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For dinner Olivia also invited her twin-sister Lisa and we had a great conversation and a vegetarian meal. Both of us struggled a bit with the land-sickness but survived perfectly. We are very Lucky when all comes to all. There is really great people everywhere and we are very happy that our broken sail was kind of fixable. Tonight we get to stay in a warm boat since the sisters happily helped out with land-power for the night. What a day..

Captain Jack

Hard days at sea

The nice old couple that let us use their dock proved not to be as nice after all the next morning. The old man was cool enough, but his wife was screaming something in Swedish about calling the police in the background. So I told her we would move the boat. After breakfast. “That’s a late breakfast!” she yelled back – I didn’t bother explaining to her that her husband had given us permission the night before, something he obviously hadn’t informed her of. Or maybe he did and she just wouldn’t listen. I started the engine and powered about 150 meters down-shore and anchored there, making sure we were clearly visible from the dock. Take that – you xenophobic hag.

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There was still no wind. Not a breeze – and the forecast was scattered rain, so we settle in for another night in the area. Luckily for us this was an area with an OK internet coverage, read; we got to catch up on some visual entertainment. We also have plenty of books to read and yours truly was in the mood to get some writing done. The deck seem to be a perfect nurturing ground for moss and algae so I have done my best to scrub it with saltwater. This is supposed to do the job but I have a feeling that the problem is growing a bit deeper. We will have to sand down everything and coat it well with some sort of natural oil, but that’s a long term project as it at the moment is way too wet to do any good sanding.

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Captain Simen climbed the mast again. This time it was to make an attempt on switching the VHF antenna with the one we had on our last boat. When I say he climbed the mast that mean I winched him up in a harness and of course he forgot the antenna on the boat, but it didn’t matter since it wouldn’t fit the connection after all.

We had a nice evening and went pretty early to bed in order to be well rested for the day to come. According to the weather Gods the wind was supposed to be in our favor and we were looking forward to get moving south.

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We woke up to a tiny breeze. Once again we were forced to make use of the engine. It’s not like it use a ton of diesel, but we are at the moment in a situation where every drop counts. This is of course part of the reason for us to start up our Patreon which you are welcome to support us at if you feel like it. You can do so by following this link. Simen is still working on making it pretty and up to date, but it’s otherwise fully operational 🙂

As the day progressed the wind picked up to something at least sailable, the problem was that whatever course we sat the wind turned with us so we always had to sail straight into the wind.

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Not a happy Captain

The good old engine had to take over and I was in my worst mood so far on this journey. It didn’t get much better as we anchored up just outside Västervik. Because we can’t really pay any marina, we found a nice spot just outside of one. Because the weather was supposed to pick up much more this evening we secured ourselves by also stretching a line into the rocky shore. Pulling our boat with my teeth while rowing our tiny dinghy toward land was not my favorite moment either.

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With the boat finally secure we decided to take the boat into land again. This time to spend the very rest of our cash on a box of snus. As we sat down in the dinghy it started pouring down. We were wet within the minute, but nothing stops us when there is snus on the line. First we went ashore in an area that was strictly fenced in and secured by Securitas and barb-wire. Our next try led us right into a dense forest-area with thorns and bushes everywhere. We tried for a bit, but after plenty of scratches and slippery rocks and whatnot we were forced to turn around again. As the rain came down heavy with full force we finally found a place with clear access to the road.

After about twenty minutes we found a store, did our business and our mood lightened. Life is not a dance on roses, but my hands and legs are full of their thorns at the moment. Tomorrow will be a new day, a new month. September ends here in Västervik and I can’t wait to see what October holds for us. Hopefully a more cooperating wind. Good night.

Captain Jack

A visit in Valdemarsvik

It took us of course forever to figure out what was wrong with the starter. We tried charging the start-battery and then jump-start it with equipment borrowed from the wharf. In the end we didn’t see any other option but to invite one of the resident mechanics onboard. He had told us to knock on the starter with a hammer, cause these types of starter-engines had a tendency to get stuck sometimes. The knocking didn’t work. But then, very well hidden behind the batteries we found an 80 amp blown fuse.

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Pew! We could get going. The journey from the wharf to Valdemarsvik is not really one for sailing. Instead we made the engine do the work while my new best friend, the autopilot, made the four hour passage a pleasant one. We had decided to come to this little town due to a cheap guest harbor and washing facilities we had been wanting for a long time. Our last shower was actually back on Malta, it was time to get ourselves cleaned up and somewhat presentable again.

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My father came around. It was actually pretty great, I hadn’t seen him in about two years. No hard feeling of course, we have just been riding different horses. While in harbor we caught 3 fishes and they played the part of an amazing little snack later that evening, served with a box of red wine.

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The next morning there was another 16 fishes in the cage. Since we were going out sailing we let them back in the water and went for a short morning walk downtown Valdemarsvik before we went on a mini-trip for the following night. We made a deal with the tourist office that we could extend our stay with an extra day. I also got the short version of the towns history by the nice lady in the tourist office.

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Valdemarsvik has a long history dating all the way back to the year 1500bc, This era was part of the bronze-age and the Town and it’s surrounding have throughout time been heavily invested in mining for metals in the surrounding landscape. It was established a marketplace in the bay already in the year 1630 and have also a very long tradition for leather production. Back in the good old days this industry employed over 700 people. Today there is about 3000 people that call this very nice little town for home.

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This is the kind of town where people say hi to each other. Walking down the streets here you can’t help but feeling welcomed. They are genuinely interested in you and this was a welcome change from how we’ve been living since we left our earlier boats. People will be people everywhere, but when they have the time it takes to get to know new people it is very easily taken into the calculations on how we feel about the places we live or visit. Valdemarsvik is a great place to live out your years on this planet, I don’t know if I can give it a higher praise.

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We took the time to bring my father the 3-4 hours out the fjord. A great opportunity to learn how the other berths onboard works. We tacked 12 times, of which two of them could’ve been done much smoother, but in the end we found a perfectly secluded bay for the night.

This morning we returned to town. We have laundry to take care of and a boat to clean. There is also some minor projects we would like to fix. Because of this we will hang around for a couple of days before we continue southward in direction of our next port of call; Kalmar. We’ll of course visit plenty of other places on the way. It’s kind of exciting since the waters ahead of us represent places we have never seen before. We won’t be back in familiar waters until we hit the border of Norway – whenever that may be.

Captain Jack

Real pirates will never give up!

There was ice this morning. It has been a very cold night onboard the Harry Louella. The three pirates left onboard to finnish up the preparations for our wintering of the ship are sleeping with double covers, hats and jackets to keep out the cold. It is time for us to get moving, but before we can do that – the ship must come out of the water and we need to know where to sleep the next couple of days. Not to forget where in the world will we find our next ship?

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Waking up to slippery deck and frost all over.

Our fourth pirates for peace-pirate has once again taken off to Nynäshamn to take care of some business. We will go there one of the next days. Yesterday we were towed from Fyrudden to Gryt early in the morning and later in the day we detached our beautiful mast and sent it to storage. But for now, we are waiting for the people of the wharf to make the time of lifting our boat ashore so we can cover it up and prepare the engine for winter.

There are times where our adventure seem to be a hard nut to crack. But let it be said that this crew will never give up the journey toward world peace. We are not the first pirates to be temporary without a ship – and even in these dark times our crew is masters of keeping up hope and the fight for our cause and will once again, mark my words, soon be back at the sea!

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Being towed in early rainy mornings.

This said, we have lost the fight against the winter and will have to move ourselves in some other way down to a warmer climate. Where, how and when still has to be determined and this will be done within a few short days. The last of our tasks will be to pack whatever we can carry from Harry Louella but it look like there will be a lot of tools, equipment and other useful things left for the next lucky owners of this amazing boat. Let us know if you are interested in a cheap pirate-ship!

This also means that we will not be able to sail down through Europe in this turn around. This is very sad of course – since we have met a lot of great Europeans this summer that it would be a privilege to meet up with on our way south.

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The last voyage for us onboard Harry Louella.

For now however, feel free to check in on the blog for updates. I will keep you posted on our progress for better or worse, but know that we are pirates with great hope and this adventure will go on for a very long time into the future – until we reach our goal of world peace or longer.

Captain Jack

The pirates homeless-fund

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Abandon ship!

When your pirate-ship is under attack, in waters toward warmer climates and undiscovered treasures, by enemies and dangers you can’t even imagine – All Captains onboard will have to work as the perfect team we are in order to make it south. 

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A normal sight onboard Harry Louella

A few days ago we were attacked by the gruesome Transition-monster about five nautical miles out from our current safe harbour. It came out of nowhere – probably as the natural result of our previous two sinkings last week in the harbour of Nynäshamn. We suddenly lost all power of the engine and had to rise the jib with what I would like to refer to as no-wind-whatsoever to sail ourselves into safe shore on an abandoned island.

After having been rescued for the third time on this amazing ship we got into Fyrudden harbour where we are currently located. After having checked and rechecked, gone through all of our scenarios we have collectively among the Captains given the order of abandon ship. Harry Louella is being towed from here to Gryts Varv in 24 hours where it will most likely be spending it’s time until someone in this world have the time to fix this relative simple problem, which we simply don’t have time for if we want to get south before winter arrives.

Dear reader, do not fear! We are not by any chance giving up. I must admit that we have kind of gotten of course the last few weeks and should by the plan have already entered the Kiel-kanal. But as the temperature is pushing for snow we are simply not taking any chances and have decided to skip a few chapters ahead head south on friday morning. Check in at next post to see where our adventures has taken us!

Captain Jack

Game over

Yes. This ship has had it’s better days, we knew that when we got it. We’ve had a great run – but it seems like the current harbour is the final stop for us on this ship. After having been rescued 3 times, sunk twise, countless fixes and weeks of gentle care has not even gotten us out of the kingdom of Sweden.

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Sea rescue to the rescue.

Harry Louella isn’t working anymore. Transmission is totally scrucked and we are stuck in yet another harbour, and this time it seems final. There is of course a chance that we can get it running, but the time and cost of this fix might just be what pull us out of the game with this ship.

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Harry Louella at what might be her last stop.

This do not mean that we are giving up. We need a few days to reconfigure the plan – but I can promise you that we are not of those who give up. We have made some sort of plan, as we spent a few hours on a deserted island about an our tow out in nowhere yesterday. The sea rescue pulled us in to Fyrudden where we now are tied up to the guest harbour.

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Towed by sea rescue.

Lucky for us, there is a grocery-store here and the bus comes several times a day. We should be able to survive in this village for the time being. We even made a friend here allready. Felix, a island-owner across the bay that came over last night, bringing champagne and beer from his fathers brewery up north.

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The colors of a great morning.

In short – it’s hard to say what to say at this point. We are once again stranded fighting for a plan to make this work for all of us. I suppose this is a turn for the worse. But we are pirates, we never give up!

Captain Jack

 

Problemsolving life

We are getting used to being stuck in random places. I suppose that’s a good thing since the only real plan we have is to get south and to get started on our ‘Pirates for peace-fundation’. It seems that our plan of sailing around the country of Portugal has changed – most likely we will be journeying through the canals of Europe until we hit the Mediterranean. The months we are entering simply don’t go well with us or Harry Louella entering the open water featuring the Atlantic ocean. 

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Entering harbour at night.

We are standing by in Öxelösund, a small industry town with not much going on east in Sweden. We’ve had to stop for some maintainance of our vessel. It was a planned stop, but it doesn’t seem like we’ll be moving for another day. Conny is working hard to repair our jib-sail that took a hit when were sailing against the wind a week ago. This is an easy fix but we have to put the hours into it.

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Conny our very own sailmaker putting in some hours.

Yesterday the fog was so thick that it would be straight out dangerous for us to go out through the waters we are now sailing. I doubt there is many places on earth with this many reefs and tiny islands. Today it is of course raining – making Conny’s sowing-job on deck a bit more uncomfortable. But we’ve got time.. The snow isn’t here yet and we still have to get the engine started.

It looks like we found the problem to why we kept losing the engine all the time. The diesel-filters were all clogged up. I mean for real clogged up. Totally black with cloggy clogging-materials built up through the years. Lucky for us we found a gas-station wich was more of a garage and they had in a dark corner of their storage only two filters left that would fit our engine. Of course the guy behind the counter warned us about getting air into the system and the mechanics, being Captain Simen and David, did their best. But this engine is old – and have a hard time being friendly to young pirates. It sucked in whatever air it could handle and here we are. Stranded once again – in a guest harbour of Sweden, forced to push a button every five-minute, hoping that the air will pass through the system.

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Here we are…

It’s not all bad of course. We finally got to wash our clothes and take showers ad lib. David holds the record of almost two hours in the showers. The guest-harbour is closed but we were lucky enough to get the codes and stuff from some other people who had been here earlier this year and can therefore enjoy the liberty of the good life of a washing-room and nice clean toilets.

Well, I have to get back to work. We have talked to a mechanic, the guy that sold us our new diesel-filters, and hopefully we can easily ease ourselves out of this within a couple of hours. If you by any chance have it in you to help us out in this increasingly costly journey feel free to use the paypal-button below or share our blog with some friends around the world!

Will keep you posted!

Captain Jack

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Sinking twice in one day

We were just about to maneuver our very much smoking ship into the guest harbour of Nynäshamn when then engine stopped working again. The newly fixed exhaust pipe, that new crew member David spent hours to fix, had totally stopped sending the exhaust through the system and filled the whole ship with headache-bringing thick smog into the cockpit instead.

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If it wasn’t for the floorboards and the cold water, this would be a nice hot-tub.

The last two hours we had spent driving through darkness, navigating by the help of costal lighthouses and flashing red and green lights. We had calculated our journey down to the last nautical mile when it came to diesel. But then, 40 meters from the dock, we ran out and had to drift the last bit. We waited in silence all begging not to hit other boats in the harbour. But with the skills of experienced Captain Simen we docked perfectly in between two other sleeping ships.

At the dock we met up with our fourth crew-member that had went ahead to make some private arrangements, leaving us with the task of fixing up the newly rescued ship in Dalarö. Conny was in good health waiting for us at the dock. We hadn’t had the chance of speaking too much with him about our arrival since David dropped his cellphone in the only puddle onboard the boat a few hours earlier while we rode the waves between our destinations. There was of course only one thing to do – celebrate the crew-reunion.

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Tha magnificent ship “Tre Kronor” of Sweden as next-door neighbours.

I woke up the next morning hearing Conny scream something about water. A short look around the ship was all that was needed to activate the general alarm onboard. We were knee-high in water. The ship was sinking. We quickly got the big pump and both bilges running and managed to drain a few ton of water within ten-fifteen minutes. Now, everything was wet and miserable. We saved what we could and left the rest to dry while we spent a few hours away from our very much problematic floating home.

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Changing oil after flooding the engine twice.

When we got back in the afternoon the same freaking shit had happened again. The water was high above the maximum waterlevel the engine can take. Still below the air-vents but the oil was once again compromised. This time it was our own fault, we had turned of the power without thinking about tha fact that our pumps where running. But what can we do.. Life must go on, we turned the big pump back on and started the work of draining the oil for salty water.

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Captain Jack wIting in Nynäshamn.

Captain Simen and Conny took the long ride into a place with cheaper stores to get new impellers and a new exhaust-pipe. We simply can’t continue breathing diesel-smog as we continue down the coast. Everything should be in order now, we will keep moving on our journey south tomorrow morning. If we can find the money for diesel.

Captain Jack

Harry Louellas dieselfund

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