A stormy week in Tromsø

We have been storm-locked in Tromsø for over a week. It has been a great experience and even though the snow has fallen on the peaks surrounding us we are far from tired of this city, it is still time for the crew of FF Ella to head in the southern direction. On our northbound journey we didn’t have near as a great experience of Tromsø. Back then it was snow everywhere, the harbor here is crazy expensive and everything was closed due to the corona situation.

Sailing here, was close to impossible due to the growing finds featured by the leftover from the storm Sally far far away from here. Therefore we engined our way through the fjords enclosing Tromsø city. We had put an add online to beg any good soul to provide a safe harbor for us to ride out the coming storm and within hours we had a great offer from a good guy. He had a spot in the down-down bay that was sitting unused for the coming weeks. We realize that these kind of harbor-lets don’t have the most positive recognition among harbor-masters but he obviously must have accepted cause we are still here a week and a half later.

The winds have calmed down and today is the last supposed day of rain for as long as the forecast can tell, meaning we will have some great sailing weather for the coming week. But firstly it is time to reflect on our visit in town.

Arriving, the Goddess left us straight away. She had arranged a few days on solid ground before flying south to start her new job inland. We were however offered a ride to the bar where her friend works and was offered a couple of beers to celebrate some pretty great weeks at sea. On our way back we got to experience walking in Tromsø by night and although not the biggest city on earth it do offer most of the perks of larger nests. A great variety of shops and bars, hotels, university, walking streets parks and restaurants.

The people we have met has proved to be very friendly and helpful. A week ago we met the Captain, Captain Per, of a catamaran and was offered a daylong hire to crew on a tour with five fishing-tourists. It, of course, sucked for recruit Balto to stay back in the boat all day, but he managed well as we navigated an 8 meter wide catamaran safely for the first time in our lives. It was a our second great experience of our stay.

We have of course, walked the streets a whole bunch. It is a nice place to just walk around, despite also offering some elevation whenever your turn your no out of the city center. We went back to that bar we visited the first night one evening and what do you know, another round of beers headed our way. To top it off we met the sister (and father) of previous recruit Morten back on FF Harry a couple of years ago and Gin&Tonic was a fact. Morten’s sister invited us to share two entire bottles of Sake back in the boat and what-do-you know – we had to spend the entire next day ridding ourselves of a pretty numbing hungover.

Skipping ahead a couple of days the storm really hit Tromsø for real. We were still a few nautical miles north of where the worst of the storm hit, but we had to deal with quite a few strong winds and some heavy rain. FF Ella handled it as a queen and we had no problems, except starting to run out of movies to watch. Another problem was starting to rise; the crew was for real starting to need a deep cleaning and we settled around the problem solving table once again.

Balto loving to wait out storms.

The solution proved to be found on the internet. We discovered that aside from a whole bunch of gyms and other sportly facilities, Tromsø have recently built their very own miniature water-world. Despite its compact size the place offered everything from saunas and steam-baths to hot tubs, slides, an outdoor pool and a full Olympic sized pool. Once again we had to leave recruit Balto behind to watch the ship while we went on adventure, but we have never returned cleaner to the boat, ever. I believe the last time I was swimming anywhere was back on Malta over a year ago. A bit strange maybe for someone living their life onboard a boat. This is however Arctic waters and I think I can speak for both Captains when saying that we prefer warmer waters.

See you later Tromsø!

As mentioned, the snow has started to cover the mountains around us, meaning we are sort of running out of time if our goal is to escape the worst of winter. But is it? We’ll see. For now we are recharging all batteries and getting FF Ella shipshape for departure. All I know is that there is no other storms in the horizon, but they tend to come quickly. Let’s just find out where we end up next.

Captain Jack

Under the Northern Lights

We topped our tanks of diesel and had a great evening with visiting recruit Marirus and his Juliet in Øksfjord. Next morning while Captain Simen was still sound asleep we started on our voyage toward Tromsø where the Goddess is supposed to fly out from sometime this week. The day was among the best we’ve ever had onboard. The sun required t-shirts, sunglasses and happy faces. Although there was no wind and we had to engine our way, passing the island of Loppa and the infamous Lopphavet, which supposedly offer some hard to handle weather at times. We know nothing of this which the Goddess can swear to as she took a bath in the dinghy, towed behind the mother ship.

By the time sunset was on the schedule, we had anchored in a small bay with an open view to the Barents Sea outside. Dinner was made and also the decision to continue due to an uncertain weather-report of strong winds both to our North and South. We don’t kid around when it comes to weather, besides the crossing we had to do wouldn’t be much pleasant in rain. Therefore, once we had re-attached the anchor, we set course into the night. The moon is skinny these days, and offered an amazing view of a starlit sky above us as we made our way through plankton-sparkling water. Then, out of the darkness around us, the most amazing Northern lights set fire to the sky in green, purple and all in between. It continued into the night as we found a small harbor, and we could rest after a 13 hour voyage, leaning into the Troms part of Troms and Finnmark county.

We made the choice to sail directly to Tromsø. The forecast for the coming week is building up toward some serious indoor-time. According to the weather gods we are welcoming a new great flood this week, and needless to say this do not comply with great enjoyment at sea. As we sailed toward town, or engined, I should say, as we had headwinds and currents against us the entire day – we got a message from a great guy named Rikard, offering us a place to put our ship since his boat would be gone for the coming weeks. We gladly accepted since we, to be honest, is on the super-budget part of this journey.

This is our second visit to Tromsø, and the city is proving to be much better without snow and everything closed down due to pandemics. When we arrived, we were met by Morten, the doorman that has offered to take the Goddess to the airport, also offered the two Captains a couple of brews at the bar he makes his living. We like beer and let Balto stay behind to contemplate by himself for an hour or two.

We have already had time to do a bit of sightseeing and are rapidly approaching the coming days of rest onboard. There is also a few plans to clean up the ship, ourselves and get some new fixes in order before we continue. But I am also looking forward to reset and prepare for the continuation of the expedition next week.

Captain Jack

Leaving a Goddess behind

We are getting dangerously close to our destination. In just a couple of  days we’ll be in Burfjord. The place we’re going to spend the next chapter of our lives. But not all of us is going that far and today the Goddess left us in Finnsnes. She found a friend she hadn’t spoken to for 25 years and we sent her off with our blessings. The time we’ve spent together since Trondheim will never be forgotten. The moments are endless and the adventures has been what most people in this world dream about. 

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After leaving Maurnes we tried to follow the meteorologists advice of cutting our days short by half the day, but once again they were far off with no chance of redemption. They said storm – we got sunny beautiful silent water all the way. Way off, they should be ashamed of themselves for making us listen to this crap everyday. Do they think that people on land just believe all the crap they spew out every day? Let me tell you this, it’s correct about 25 percent of the time, meaning it’s pure guessing all the way. I understand weather can be hard to predict, but please stop hiring people with no experience in weather whatsoever. Ask the fishermen, they are way more accurate.

I’m sorry, had to rant about the weather again, but I always get disappointed when people I trust repeatedly lie to me. Point is: We’ve had the most beautiful days at sea. The sun has been shining and life has been absolutely great! The Norwegian landscape is constantly amazing, even for us people that have lived here forever. I can only recommend this journey for anyone that is searching for something else. Something you can remember forever and probably also be the only one to understand.

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A letter from the Goddess

Thanks a lot.

This is my big thank you to the guys I’ve adopted as my brothers from another mothers.
Our journey begins with me and Jack being colleagues in Lillehammer autumn 2016.
Jack moved his caravan from Lillehammer camping to my garden when the snow melted. Simen moved from Alta to Lillehammer in may 2017, and their life together started as couple started.

This two pirate-brothers of mine is the most lovely, caring, funny, blood sugar hunkers in my life. But the three of us together makes the best life three people can have in a sailboat for three weeks. No one where killed because we makes the best of every situation, respect and love each other enough to make personal space in deep understanding for each others personality. This is the deep reason in my heart why i love you.

This three weeks made the journey of my life! 13th of march i traveled by train from Lillehammer to Trondheim to get onboard Ella, and set sail for the northern coastline of Norway. This is a journey I’ve been dreaming for many years . But never could i dreamed that it would be in a sailboat with my brothers . Never could i dream that it would be like this at all. This came out to be much better that i ever could dream about.

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The first stretch from Trondheim to Rørvik we spent 22 hours on sea. The longest stretch we did. I got seasick, I puked, and puked and puked till the hole sea was spinning around with me, i felt so cold that i thought i was going to freeze to death, but i survived, and three weeks of magic started.

At this point after three weeks in magic, i’m not able to pick one moment because I’m stunning for the first time in life i think..

In the blogs that Jack has written while i have been onboard, hi has written about the goddess, my name is Line Gudinne, Gudinne means Goddess in English, and it is my middle name. Onboard I made myself a nickname Tubbie Goddess. Because the color of my sailing-suit was red, the shape of my body is more round than thin, i felt like the red Teletubbie and my middle name is Goddess and so we got the Tubbie Goddess.

Tomorrow, Monday 6th of April, three weeks and one day after we met in Trondheim, i am leaving you guys in Finnsnes. I am sad because it is over, but i am very happy that you gave me this journey for life.

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From the deepest of my heart i will thank you, wish you all the best in your new life on land in a part of Norway you two haven’t lived together before. New adventures, new journey and new beginnings.

Don’t forget to feel free to be the best of you, og with the flow in the name of love.

Blessings from the Tubbie-Goddess

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Tomorrow we’ll be hitting Tromsø gently. Probably. And then just a couple of days more and we’ll be at our final destination. It’s not over until it’s over, and we’ll be fighting till the end. The currents we are facing tomorrow is some of the strongest of the nation. We’ll have to be careful to hit the at the perfect timing with the tides. Let’s see how that turns out.

Captain Jack

Anchoring in Trollfjord

It’s snowing again. Hard and relentless. But it’s okay cause we are in the magical land of Lofoten and Vesterålen where the mountains are heavily surrounding our boat at any time. Like a tall amazing backdrop that stretch for the sky – we just had to explore this further, so we did! But first we had a nice long break-day in the city of Svolvær. The journey ahead wasn’t very long, but our goal was set, we headed for the even more magical place of Trollfjord. 

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On our way we streamed our voyage live on twitch. Because of this we sailed much slower than we would otherwise. But had a whole bunch of fun on our way! Lucky as we are the sun followed us most of the way and a bunch of people got to corona-watch our journey for a few hours.

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In the tourist season many big ships go here. It’s a tiny fjord on the fjord-scale but hot damn is it nice. As you enter you are imitatively swallowed by tall and taller mountain on each side. The side of the mountain go straight up and this time of the year big ships are prohibited entrance due to heavy rock-slides. We made a slow but certain entrance ourselves by pushing aside flakes of ice, screaming for echoes and flashing boobs to the trolls living in the valleys within.

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We had decided to spend the night. Although the fjord doesn’t offer much of places to anchor or any electricity for our frozen bodies despite being home to an entire power-station that steal away plenty of the charm by being exceptionally loud all day and night long. In the south end however there was a place and it was perfect for spending the night. We dropped anchor and for the first time ever the Goddess had a real anchor-beer to celebrate.

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It was then time to slay our fish. Another first for the Goddess. She had slayed fish before but nothing as big as this one. After hacking her way through the large bones it was cooked and eaten along with potato, carrots with an overload of melted butter. We are after all in the waters of fishing season numero uno in Norway, the Skrei is in town. After a meal like this any healthy sailor will fall to pieces if they don’t go visit lala-land shortly after, and since we didn’t have any heat to speak of except the flame from the stove, we did.

The next morning we got a start on the engine pretty fast. It was time to leave the Trolls behind and set course for “the blue city” of Sortland. To get there we had to pass through Trangstrømmen, which translate to ‘the narrow current’ and in order to make it through we had to hit the tide as the current was going North. And we did just in time, good thing we didn’t sleep in further. The alternative would have made for an extremely slow passage.

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In Sortland the Goddess invested in kebabs for the crew before she ran of to buy some new warm underwear. Not long after, we were off to cross the fjord to Maurnes were they supposedly had a better guest harbour. Captain Simen spent the time watering down the deck with salt water to melt the snow. Little did we know that a storm ha taken out the electricity but we made ourselves feel at home by borrowing a private dock and settled in for the night.

Captain Jack

Make the most of it

Aside from all the amazing experiences life on a boat gives you – there are basically two types of days onboard. Of course there are variations of all sorts like crew, location, mood or weather. Being liveaboards on a sailboat is probably still the best thing I’ve ever done. Ever. As we only have a few weeks left of this two and a half year adventure, or to divide it further; since packing our bags and leaving our shitty apartment on Malta, the time has come to start contemplating. In a few weeks we will likely be back on solid ground for who knows how long, and I can’t help but to feel a bit uneasy about it.

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A minor storm, hopefully the last one of the winter, is raging outside. It woke me up at six this morning. Of course, this is something you will get coming when sailing arctic waters in the cold season and we have been prepared for this. It does however slow us down and present us with some extra days at port. Except from being a bit more costly due to our hang to cook interesting meals and maybe even get a beer or two, we are far more tied to the boat because of the shitty weather and the ongoing pandemic.

Along our way, since we acquired our first boat a few years back we’ve had plenty of different people traveling with us. Putting the right people together is essential and not everyone turned out to be right ones for us. We believe in giving people chances, some was fit for a while, others not at all. Some I will always welcome back. To live and travel on a boat you need to be open, true and honest. You need to give your crew-mates the space they need and be respectful to all the differences. You better also have the ability to forgive, laugh and play. The hardest crew we’ve had to work with is those who have not been pulling their weight. Onboard with us we try not to order people around, but want each crew to find their own tasks and in that way find their place. There are always things to be done and unless you have been in situations like this before you better get settled fast.

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I imagine it hasn’t always been easy for our recruits to find their place. Since we already have our routines and tasks in automatic place, the only thing they could do in the beginning was to follow orders. Because – even though we let the democracy have it’s say, that’s not really how it works. On a ship there is a hierarchy where the Captain have the final word – And this boat have two.

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The tasks comes down to a few very important things. There is the planning of the route, stops and destinations. We have navigation, weather, fuel and maintainance-planning. We need to think about safety, food, storage, cleaning, crew-scheduling, budget, health and electricity. Many of the things that on land fall into place pretty naturally, changes everyday onboard a boat.

Still I would think we have been very lucky with the people we have brought onboard. And I believe that most have been having a great time, just like us. Travelers are after all usually up for the action. Friends have become better friends and new friendships have been made. We can’t forget the reason for our choice to sail in the beginning; We wanted to travel. Both Captain’s have great experience on the subject, but we have usually been tied to our backpacks. After years of backpacking I suppose most travelers would be looking for a door to close behind them, not just the zipper of a tent. The urge to travel is still there, but in order to get anything out of it you need to get your rest, to have the time to take a brake.

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Imagine yourself traveling constantly for ten years of your life, but not had a good chance to step back and reflect over your experiences. Ten years of life is a long time to contemplate in one sitting. I would think that such a situation could put any healthy mind into depression. Many a traveler before us have trapped themselves in a loop of traveling for too long, where stepping out of it can brake a person or damage the soul. I’ve met many such people and they are no longer happy, they’ve lost touch of sort. In order to travel for real you also need to pull it together once it’s over. When traveling like we do however, although you still have to think through the experience as a whole when it ends, the defragmentation is done as you go. I truly believe that on long adventures such as this, you will benefit much more by travelling slowly. It’s important to remember that any journey, no matter how long, eventually comes to an end.

Back to our different types of days onboard. The first one being the days we are on the move. Our sailing days. I wake up bright and early and get the coffee going. Now as we are three onboard, the Goddess also get up and we have a quick snack and get going. The days route was planned the night before so it’s easy to just smack on the electronics, start the plotter, start the engine and leave the dock. Captain Simen need to sleep a bit longer in order to function so he’ll take the next shift. Then there is the morning shit-chat over the coffee or me talking to the seagulls when we are two-handed. Depending on wind we try to sail as much as possible but we can’t get around a pretty hard use of the engine as long as we have a goal in the end. As the day go on we are enjoying the mountains, fjords, birds and more coffee.

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When it’s time for lunch, Captain Simen is usually up and we eat in turns. This way everyone can get some time inside where it’s much warmer and in case of rain you can get changed and dry off. Unless there is something special going on, we plan to spend about 6-8 hours on the water. That gives us another 30 nautical miles or so under our belts. Once again we take our sailing suits off and go inside to heat up and maybe have another snack. Then there is time for exploring if the weather is good, showers if the marina is open (which it rarely is due to the pandemic) or, if it has been a hard day – pure relaxation.

Then there is time to fix things on the boat, do some shopping and prepare for dinner. To wind off we can watch a movie or a show, play a game or read a book. We have to plan the route for the next day but sooner or later it’s time for bed.

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The second type of days is the the ones at port or resting days. In these instances it is mostly due to weather. We have a certain limit for how much wind we like to sail in. Many of these days we would still go out if we could sit inside to steer or I guess, if it was summer. We don’t care too much about light rain or snow, but when the wind hits more than 10 meter/second, it’s raining or snowing hard and when the waves surpass 3 meters in height we find it more comfortable to wait. Today is such a day.

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Some days we have some work to do, either online or on the boat. Many times the weather is not so bad in port even though it’s raging outside so we often have the chance to explore or go for walks. Usually there is an internet-connection that let us watch series, movies, play games or just plain out go online exploring. It’s alright to have these days once in a while, but if there is more than one in a row things tend to tense up. If the reason for our stop was purely because we wanted, I guess it would be different, but the case is that this usually happen because there is no reason to be outdoors. It get’s good old boring, very fast.

The variations of our days are as everywhere else endless. But the basics are the same. A good cup of coffee in the morning, some type of action during the day, at least one home-cooked meal, some entertainment and sleep. All I can think I would want different was a better mattress. The one we have is typical boat – foamy, way too thin and not really made for long time use. But it’s way better than sleeping in a tent, it’s the price I have to pay. Especially since I no longer have to carry all my stuff in a backpack every morning.

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Everyone should travel. Everyone should have the experience in life of exploring culture and to see how close but different our cultures actually are to each other. I cannot stress enough how important I believe it is to actually feel this difference. There are people in this world that never leave their village, people that never get to discover anything outside their country. But how are you supposed to make sense of a world you only know from a distance? I’m not sure if I believe that seeing is believing, but to recognize that what you get presented as the true world through a screen in your living room – is only a part of the whole picture. It’s not necessarily wrong or fake news, but a picture that do not satisfy all of your senses, instead it gives your brain a chance to fabricate the rest of the story (like human brains like to do) and this will never give you the full picture of the world you are part of. In order to really understand – you have to get out there. To feel and to understand that you are in symbiosis with it all.

Going ashore in a few weeks will be another adventure. It’s been a long time since I had to consider everyday-things and that will be an adjustment. It is however something I know I can handle. Even though I’m moving to a part of the world where I have never had any roots, that’s nothing new either. I and all of you are very able to adapt remarkably to any moves or changes. My experience make me sure that I have nothing to fear. Changes may feel unsafe or scary, but they don’t have to be. We are humans and our instinct for survival is extremely well developed. Sometimes we just have to be pushed over the edge to realize it.

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It’s not over yet. Let the storms come. It’s time for breakfast. I’ll take a slice of week old bread with egg. Sunny side up. And coffee.

Captain Jack

Crossing the arctic circle

This adventure is going a lot faster than we had anticipated. Based on our previous experience from our voyage between Stockholm and Norway we had calculated much more time spent in the country with the longest coastline anywhere. We still have a bit to go, but have arrived in Bodø, about halfway from Trondheim. Truth is that we most likely will complete the journey a whole month ahead of schedule.  We could of course have taken more time, gone sightseeing and all that but it is winter and cold, the world has closed down due to a pandemic, and somehow the world is not as big as we might have thought a few months ago. 

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From the beach in Tonnes

We are seeing magnificent mountains and are constantly surprised to see where people have built their houses. Some on remote islands, other in places I would never dare to live seeing the highest of mountains looks like it’s going to crush a whole village at any time. Unlike the Swedish coast, the people of Norway are still very much settled and live their lives here. The fishing industry is well established, although the few fishermen we have spoken to tell a story of having to go dangerously further and further out at sea with their small boats due to less fish.

The Goddess, having spent the last twenty years in the inland of the kingdom, are enjoying the view of the horizon of the Norwegian sea. While the two Captains are more focused on the mountains surrounding us, having spent the better part of the last few years in flat lands.

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From Sandnessjøen we have made two stops. The first in Tonnes, in a marina looking like it would be a popular destination for pleasure boats in the summer. A little further out they have a wonderful small little village with a store and minor businesses. Clamped in between high mountains it felt like a wonderful little place to live for those interested.

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Next stop was Ørnes. A bit larger than Tonnes, with several stores and plenty of more houses. Also this place was restricted by the pandemic but we took a walk and got some cheap canned tuna for the journey. Once again we settled in for a nice meal and an early evening. The next day we continued to Bodø, the so called capital for this part of Norway.  On the way there we passed the Arctic Circle – we have officially sailed to the arctic latitudes of the planet. To me this was a huge feat, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I humbly feel like I’ve earned the bragging-rights by crossing this line during the cold winter months in snow with frostbitten fingers.

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Once again we will take a few breather-days and continue after the weekend. It’s supposed to snow quite a bit for a couple of days and the wind will make it hard crossing a couple of the fjords needing to be crossed before we enter the protected waters of Lofoten.

Captain Jack

Self-Quarantined

The Norwegian winter is acting up again. Once again we have been forced to take a brake-day due to extreme rain. The forecast for today is 44 mm rain and a moderate gale from southeast. Even though we could probably press through, we have decided not to for the sake of the Goddess and the ship. This nasty weather is supposed to continue for a few days longer, but we are crossing our fingers that we’ll be able to make a move within a day or two. We are after all not going out to open water for a while. Then there is this pandemic going on, also making things a bit more difficult. We are very much in one of the safest places anyone can be, but it is proving hard to find both showers, bathrooms and specific stores. Lucky for us, we are a great crew together and enjoy good food, homey evenings and time to read. On Captain’s order we are self-quarantined and are avoiding contact with humans. 

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After leaving the magical island we had a long nice sail to Brønnøysund. On the way there we sailed pass “Torghatten” a mountain and beloved tourist-treasure known for it’s specific shape. We passed on the east side and from here it is hard to get a good picture, but I have found you a stock-photo for show.

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The city of Brønnøysund is exactly in the middle of the kingdom. 840 kilometer from each cape. We had a chance to visit the mall by the dock and get some supplies. With bags full of food, beer and a brand new board-game we settled in for a nice Saturday evening onboard. Next day we slept in, and this combined with not the best of weathers made us decide to stay an extra day. Taking extra days in towns and cities these corona-times totally sucks since there is absolutely nothing to do except taking strolls and walking big circles around other people.

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On our last passage between Brønnøysund and Sandnessjøen, where we are currently docked, we had a few minor setbacks. A sudden gust had our mainsail kiss the waves to the panicked screams from the Goddess steering the vessel. Although nothing was broken, except maybe a bit of the Goddess’s confidence, we suffered the loss of our newly acquired red ten meter mooring rope. With both sails hoisted, no engine started, and the weather acting up we risked far more danger than a rope is worth and decided the rope had to be an offer to the sea.

No more than half an hour later another gust triggered another scream from the Goddess, and another kiss of the waves – but sadly we were not that lucky. By this time had however lowered our main and was only sailing the foresail, but in return the foresail ripped apart from the headstay and a lose foresail in hard gust can potentially break your mast. It didn’t go that far, but the Windex on top of the mast snapped right off as the mast was brutally taking some major twitches before Captain Simen could get his safety-clip on, attach it to the fairlead and climb toward the bow to pull down the sail. In this crazy mayhem onboard we somehow also managed to break one of the windows in our sprayhood, but this was a quick but not so beautiful fix done as soon as we arrived in Sandnessjøen harbour.

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We also retreaded the foresail and made our way to yet another mall where the Goddess got to spend some money for food and necessaries. Tired from a long and partly stressful sail we took an early evening after a very enjoyable burger and independent studies.

Yesterday we passed the 66 degree North mark – only 4 to go. A couple of more days sailing and we’ll be in Bodø. Whenever these rainy days have passed we are looking to see some really nice days of the sunny Lofoten.

Captain Jack

The Magical island

I let the crew sleep in this morning. Shoveling snow on deck and the cockpit in the morning is not on the top of my list, and it’s supposed to keep snowing for the pressing 18 hours. This combined with what was supposed to be fairly strong winds from West is not the best start for a day at sea, no matter how much coffee you drink. If it clears during the day we may still make the trip toward Brønnøysund where they at least will have a flash of internet. However, while I was asleep the winds have turned a bit more from the North making the coming passage a bit longer than anticipated time wise, and since there is parts of the coast North of here we would like to visit – we are settling in for an early start tomorrow instead.

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We are docked on Leka, an island loaded with geological history and plenty of culture. Minutes after our arrival, while looking for signal on my cell to pay the harbour-fee I stumbled upon Gjermund, the on-guard ambulance-driver of the island. A very nice man with an instant invitation to show us his magical island, as long as he was in reach for for his response time being the only ambulance and all. Saying that health–care providers would gift us their presence in these corona times felt just amazing, but we made sure to keep the governmental recommended distance at all times.

Gjermund is born on the island, he probably know every name and story there is and was willingly sharing with the three of us. First he showed us the second largest tumulus in Norway. It is of course massive, but was plundered a few hundred years back and once stood much larger than what you will see today. We then continued on to a high point on the East side of the island where an old sailor that had to leave his profession already at the age of 16, came back to Leka after spending a year of sickness in Australia. He then started to build his paradise that has since entertained visitors ever since. Today there is a bunch of rock-huts now available for tourists. There is even a small hotel slash bed and breakfast and plenty of space for caravans.

The ride went on with him telling the story of a 3 year old girl that back in 1932, during a baptism was picked up by a flying eagle and taken away.  The whole island came together to look for the little girl. Gjermund took us to the city hall and introduced us to the mayor. And there in the hallway in an install, the little girls dress was hanging next to her little shoe. The dress was ripped by the eagle’s claws. The other shoe was the first trace they found of the girl. It was hours before tree men climbed the mountain and luckily found a cliff where the eagle had taken the little girl. She was alive and lived a long life on the island until she died just 3 years ago.

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Continuing our drive to the west side of the island he showed us a whole mountain of extremely rear stone. At least on the surface of the planet, this type of rock belong far down in the earth and is only present on the surface two other places in the world. Here at Leka you’ll find the largest occurrence of this family in stones. The freshest of the Norwegian occurrence is as old as ten thousand years. Interesting enough, that’s also how long humans have lived on this island. It’s called Olivin and is part of the Serpentine-family in the geological family.

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Gjermund let us off by the local grocery-shop where we got some essentials before making the walk back to the guest harbour. When we got back Gjermund had ended his shift, but his colleague invited us in for some coffee and chocolate sticks. The lady was telling us about a life as an ambulance driver and despite the restrictions with the virus going on we were invited to use the facilities. Which is very good since we are practically out of fresh water, also the restroom came in handy along with the access to the world wide web.

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This morning’s first view

I can only recommend you make your own visit when you come around this area. We will be go on direction North tomorrow. Today we have spent cleaning up the boat and de-ice the ship. An ice-heavy ship is slippery and unpractical for both crew and Captains.

I wonder what tomorrows mysteries will be.

Captain Jack

Memoires of a puking Goddess

The darkness swallowed our ship as we sailed into whatever was left of the cold clear night. I had spent hours planning our longest passage ever. To stay ahead of the coming storm we had to sail hard for the coming 24 hours, or risk being land-bound for as long as a week. Further up the coast we would be much more likely to keep sailing protected from the raging Norwegian sea. For the journey we had recruited a new crew-member; Line, the goddess traveled through our virus-infected country and arrived just hours before we left the port i Trondheim.

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We have, as everyone else been very much restricted in our movements due to a certain virus that is currently taking over the world. Walking down empty streets in the third largest city of Norway on a Saturday night feels strange and at the same time somewhat calming. At the moment the borders to our country is closed for visitors and even within the country many quarantined zones make it hard for people to move around. So it was with the outmost luck that we got The Goddess onboard before all ways of traveling are closed down further.

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As for our own protection we have gone into what we would refer to as a half-ass-quarantine, meaning we avoid contact with as many as possible and try to keep distance to everyone. This do not help us however when we are no longer allowed to use public spaces like showers and such, but the rules/laws are different everywhere and we’ll do our best to comply, but a sailor got to do what a sailor got to do.

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Leaving Trondheim Captain Simen went to sleep while myself had my hands full teaching the Goddess the ways of the sea. Even they have to know the most important rules of the coast, the buoys and how to make out a safe lead-way. We had the basics down before sunrise and as later everyone was awake we spent a long and wonderful day at sea. I don’t think anyone could ask for a better first day in a sailboat than what the Goddess got served this morning. The winds were great, the scenery just amazing. None of us had any knowledge on anything this part of coastal Norway had to offer.

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Then, of course, as the darkness once again rained upon us the storm started to catch us from West. The wind picked up quite a bit and so did the waves. Once the Goddess lost her inner compass the curse of the first sail got hold of her and she fed the fishes quite generously on multiple occasions. Hanging over the railing in between with certain sea-spray every minute or so – it went on for hours before she finally collapsed in her cabin a few nautical miles from our destination. We didn’t see her until next morning.

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The Captains made sure the boat were safely in the guest harbour of Rørvik before we also went to bed. We had no rush, the slushy weather for the next couple of days gave us more than enough time to get back to our normal selves. Big kudos to Rørvik, this is the first harbour since Mandal with actual working showers and facilities. We all showered, did our laundry and the Goddess had fun with the dishes. We also got oil for the engine and talked the virus-closed pizza restaurant into serving us each a great good old burger. Even though this was probably a law-breaking meal according to a very frustrated owner, we had a good time – also probably the last dinner out in a while.

As this is being typed we have left Rørvik. We are fighting a 6 on the Beaufort’s, a strong breeze from the North making our planned daily sail about double in time. No problem for a ship like ours and tonight we’ll be docking at Leka, an island where people have been living for ten thousand years.

Captain Jack

Halfway point

The fjords are still giving is protection from the open Norwegian sea. There have been parts that made us sail in unprotected waters but once again the weather-man has given us great days and we have made some good progress. Passing Stadt, one of the more ‘dangerous’ passages on the Norwegian coast went smooth. We had about 1,5 meter waves a little wind and it was all over and done within a couple of hours. Any other day of these crazy winters it could’ve gotten pretty adventurous out there. We sailed in to Ålesund the same day looking for a much needed, nice hot shower. 

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The guest harbour in Ålesund doesn’t have any shower. No toilet, no service house. Shame on them. But there wasn’t much we could do. Can’t fight the system. Instead we got to take a walk in town and get back in touch with ourselves. Due to rain and tiredness from the long day before we stayed an extra day. Both of us have been to Ålesund before. it’s a nice city with lot’s of rich fishermen and tourists hanging around. Sadly our budget was low, but we got to share a kebab and walk around the down town area.

We had no plans for going to Molde, but since there was no showers in Ålesund we wanted to give it a try. This time I researched it upfront and they had showers! When you haven’t had a real wash since Bergen and long warm and cold days at sea a good shower and maybe a shave is all you want. But Molde gave us a cold one. First of all they had the most expensive showers since Stockholm, then when you were all undressed and soaped in and give the stupid machine your money – no hot water is coming. The water was so cold I could have made you ice-cubes in ten minutes. Now broke until payday we left town bright and early next morning.

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Between Molde and Kristiansund there is also a stretch of open water. We weren’t really worried since the reports said we would have the winds in our back, along with the waves. So it was smooth sailing, though a bit cold it turned out to be a long day but we finally got into the sheltered waters of Kristiansund and with only a few drops left on our tank we could safely pull into the fuel-station as the darkness slowly started to surround us. As we then found our spot in the guest harbour it started to rain and did so for 30 hours, hence we once again decided to stay over an extra day. By coincidence my good old colleague from a few years back was also in town for a job interview and we ended up catching up over a cup of coffee in one of the city’s many places to hang out. The rest of the day went quickly as we relaxed onboard with games and computers.

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This morning I could smell the winter outside. It was so cold that I let the autopilot take care of the job while I watched the monitors inside with my coffee. Lucky the sun came out and heated the air a bit. We are staying in a small place called Vihalsen, 60 nautical miles from Trondheim, where they most definitely should have showers. It’s a bit much to do in one day, but due to some bad weather approaching we might try for it tomorrow. If we’re lucky we’ll continue to stay just ahead of the snow.

Captain Jack