Reaching another milestone

We have sailed quite a distance since last post. At the moment we are docked in Erikstad, part of the large port of Gothenburg. First we crossed Laholm bay which was quite a windy adventure with some pretty sharp waves making the passage pretty bumpy – but nothing good old, still unnamed sailboat, couldn’t handle. As for now we still sail her under her original name; ‘Ella’ and I suppose this will do just fine for 2019. When we had crossed the bay we arrived in Halmstad. Here we finally found a shower to cleanse our rather dirty corpus’s. It was a very nice guest harbour along the river to visit and since we got to take a good rest, showers and dealt with some rather cold rainy weather we decided to stay for a few days before continuing north. 

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From Halmstad there is not really any harbors deep enough for a sailboat until Falkenberg. We could of course anchor up on the way, but the landline is basically just one long slope bay unprotected from any wind or weather washing in from the unruly Kattegat. We therefore settled in for a long haul across. This time however we had the chance to wait for great conditions and on the day we sailed the wind was so perfect that we decided to sail throughout the night. When we anchored up in the first suitable place we had covered more than 60 nautical miles in 14 hours, a new personal record for us(!)

Night-sailing is great. We pulled up the laptop and watched an entire season of a Norwegian TV-drama and made great speed along the way. On the open water the dark is no problem at night, you basically just stick out the course and let the wind do the rest. As we however got closer to Gothenburg you’ll have to stay pretty far away from land to avoid the many reefs of the western archipelago of Sweden. Lucky for me I actually paid attention when learning how to navigate by night and even though it’s a bit more work to count seconds between light-flashes and double checking the plotter ever so often we found ourselves a quiet little trench between land and the island of Ockero to sleep through the forecasted morning rain.

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The view during our night-sail.

Next morning I grabbed some breakfast and set sail right away. Since most harbors have prepared for winter we had ran out of fresh water onboard, so I had to kiss my beloved morning coffee goodbye anyway. Besides, the last bit to reach Gothenburg was just a few hours sail. We arrived at about six o clock Friday evening and decided it was time to get a couple of anchor beers to celebrate that we have reached our last milestone before crossing the Norwegian border in a week or two. I guess, if we sailed nonstop from here we would make the trip in just a couple of days. This last bit of the way however, I think we’ll take nice and slow. After all, we don’t have any plans whatsoever when we complete this last bit.

If we had continued up the river toward Trollhettan we would now have cut out the lower part of the country away from the rest of the mainland. This of course counting the part we traveled with FF Harry through the inland canals last year. In a way the circle will be completed anyway when we arrive at our destination in Fredrikstad which is also where we started out in May, one and a half year ago. We then took FF Harry to Halden and loaded it on a truck, making our way through dense forest to reach the Swedish border. There have of course been plenty of distractions and detours, but it feels great to soon have completed this huge adventure. I wonder what comes next.

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For now we are enjoying a weekend in the second largest city of the Swedish kingdom. Our only real mission here is to fill the water tank and to go for a walk in the city center. Both of us have been in the area before, but never really had the time to check out what the city really looks like, so this could be a nice little stop for us.

Captain Jack

X-mas gift

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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