Riding out the high tide

After the boat got scratched and badly manhandled by “Elsa”, the storm, we sat course south-west – away from Stavern. The winds blew into our faces the entire day and for the first few hours we were busy securing stuff on deck and getting resettled in the boat after the few days spent in Stavern. The waves came down a bit after a while and we only had to deal with those in the area of four meters or 13 feet at the highest – But out on deep water this was almost pleasant. What was no fun at all however was the last part into the harbour of Portør, which was one of the hardest tackles I’ve ever attempted. For future reference; Going in to Portør in any form of bad-ass weather is hereby not advised. 

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But this crew made it, and inside we found a winter-abandoned village with plenty of space. There was no guest harbour as anticipated, but we made use of the side ferry dock that we guessed would not be in use for another couple of months. The port itself has been in use for as long as we can tell. In 1981 there was found a boat out here that dates back to the 1500’s. Portør have always been an important safe and emergency harbour for ships passing by.

We took a short walk in the last bit of daylight. There is really just one tiny road that run from our dock and across the bay passing a small shop that sell extremely expensive ice cream. The only person we saw during our stay was a kayaking man in a red jacket. The early evening was spent refilling engine oil and cooking potatoes with fishcakes for an already sleeping Captain Simen.

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Arendal welcomed us with calm waters. The largest waves we tumbled over today must have been 7 meters high. It’s a total rush, but good old Ella get the job done. The average height of the waves was probably somewhere in between 3-5 meters, but it’s always a special feeling having a mountain of water coming toward you. We drank some sea-spray for a few hours but there was no problem out there at all. Except to maybe make the coffee, that turned out to be quite a hazzle. Since we had a whole night with no electricity in Portør, it was good to get back the heat here in Arendal.

We are currently prepping for tomorrows sail. Actually; tomorrow is supposed to bring close to no wind, no weather at all actually… No wind, no rain no centigrade’s – I guess we’ll have to make use of the engine again. Our hopes are high to go fast enough ahead of the bad weather coming in this weekend to see Lindesnes in daylight, this is the most southern point of Norway. If not tomorrow, maybe we’ll be there the day after. It’s extremely hard to say with all this global warming going on – it makes planning your day almost impossible.

Captain Jack

 

Final port of call

We have arrived! Our beloved ship is safely tied to the dock up river from down town Fredrikstad. Our journey of somewhere around 1400 kilometers or just about 755 nautical miles have been completed. Some may say that we have won the prize for slowest passing of this distance ever. And that might just be, but we are extremely pleased with the trip in all aspects. Also, we are back in the exact spot where this blog was started a long long time ago. We are now settling in for a few slow weeks to plan out our future projects and let winter get a real grip on both us and the Norwegian landscape.

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In the days to come we are planning to see some good snow and maybe even climb some mountains, see friends and family. It has taken somewhere in the area of 3 months to complete this first journey with this wonderful boat – Ella, the boats name for now have really proven her value to us, she’s a solid ship and we’ll take great care of her in the months and years to come. We’ve had the pleasure of basically having the whole coastline to ourselves, Captain Simen say we have seen possibly 10 leisure boats throughout this adventure, the rest have been commercial ships and that sort. We have met some great people and seen the amazing landscape surrounding the Swedish Kingdom.

The engine drank 200 Euro worth of fuel and about 1 liter oil, we have spent 180 Euro on harbour fees. I have sown and mended the sails 5 times but other than that there have been amazingly few repairs and fixes. No fish has been caught since Valdemarsvik, we’ve ran through a whole box of salt and pepper. The statistics are endless, but the sum equals one of my life’s most interesting adventures. Including a few investments into equipment, a computer, a metal detector, a new battery, tools, food, drinks and everything that should now keep us afloat throughout the winter – The total amount spent is just over 3200 Euro, this results in about 15 Euro a day for each of us.

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We have many thank you’s to send. Thank you for the support and thank you for following our blog, reading and kind words on our way. Thanks for help, water, food, laughs and gifts. It’s all greatly appreciated. We will now go into hibernation for some time. We need to charge our batteries and get the boat ship shape – ready for our next adventure!

I have decided to make this post short and sweet. Thank you again for following the blog, I hope we’ve at least inspired you to be tiny-bit adventures in the future. Until next time – stay cool, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and I can’t wait to see you again in 2020!

Captain Jack

 

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In the path of a dragon

Many years ago, a dragon lived on Hanö, the island we are currently located. The story tell that the dragon every day flew between this island and another one placed about 20 kilometers away, just about where we started this morning. This was a short distance for the dragon and it only had to swing his enormous wings twice in order to make the trip. Then one day the humans had build a lighthouse and the dragon was blended by the strong light and crashed into the hard rock on the east side of the island. Today the same lighthouse has the strongest light of all lighthouse in the Baltic sea and is raging 74 meters above sea-level.

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Our voyage from Hasselö to Karlshamn was a great one. We enjoyed setting off in the morning with a perfect breeze and almost no waves to rock us around. This presented a great opportunity to get some scrubbing done in the cockpit. The old teak is going to take a while to get in perfect shape, but we have started the process and is so far very happy with the result. With time it shall look good as new and the value of the whole boat will have changed drastically. The cockpit is now pretty much scrubbed clean of all algae and moss and is ready to be sanded down before we coat it with a couple of nice coats with oil.

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It was pitch dark as we made our way the last hour into the harbour of Karlshamn, but we arrived just in time to search out a large supermarket for us to do some necessary shopping to restock. You’ll be amazed of how many potatoes a hungry sailor can eat after a long day at sea. We’ve had no luck with fishing and I’ll be the first to admit that this is mostly due to our lack of trying. But to fish in the Baltic has been no fun at all. The fish won’t bite, at least not where ever we are passing through. This is something we’ll have to pick up, but there is always so much else to do and take care of that when the evenings come we are either too tired, cold or in the middle of a marina where it’s strictly speaking not allowed to fish. Our diet have therefore been a bit differently than we had originally planned. For now we are sticking to pasta and stew.

Karlshamn was not my favorite town. It’s fairly small and the whole city area is brick-laid, grey, pretty square and a bit dull. I suppose there is nothing wrong with the place, but it didn’t offer me any good vibes. My favorite part was the one street that had four or five second hand stores next to each other. My view on the city may be colored by the fact that the guest harbour sucked. The showers were dirty and the heat was turned off, it was expensive and the only other amenity offered was a free washing-machine with a broken handle and a dryer that spewed dust all around the room when you turned it on. On top of this the boat was rocking constantly because they had placed the births at the run-out from the river so the stream constantly got hold of our keel. Oh, did I forget to mention that the harbor’s closest neighbor was the main gate of a huge factory that smelled bad and had trucks coming and leaving without breaks? I guess we can’t like all the places we visit of course and hopefully other travelers have a better experience than us.

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Despite all of this we decided to stay an extra night to make sure we had some good wind the next few days. It has become a huge part of our week to plan ahead according to the weather. If we stayed an extra night in Karlshamn this would in theory give us the best winds for the coming four days so it was an easy choice in order for us to save on diesel and get the most out of our sails.

Today has been much better. I got up early in order to catch the morning breeze out of town. The plan was simply to re position ourselves by sailing to Hanö and be ready for tomorrows wind to take us all across the Hanö Bay. It was a fairly short sail of only 10 nautical miles and it took about two and a half hour.

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The island is beautiful. Surrounding the harbour is the little village where now only 8 people have their permanent addresses, according to the internet. The village is fenced in to keep out the hundreds of deer living here. We went for a pretty good walk and could enjoy both forests and open landscape. The lighthouse was a treat and so were the many colors of the leafs preparing for winter.

Back in the boat I had to sew the foresail again, the poor old sail is living a hard life in retirement but it still have lots of life left in it. Later we both could settle in for a relaxing evening of Swedish meatballs and finally a boat that enjoy not being tossed around by a river twenty-four seven. Tonight we’ll sleep great, cause that’s what potatoes and gravy does to a man. I’m sure the dragon would agree.

Captain Jack

Waiting for wind

Sailing out of Valdemarsvik is close to impossible due to the wind constantly working against you in between narrow mountains. We ended up motoring half the way and then tacking like crazy to get out toward more open water. Due to this 2 step forward 1,5 backward tactic it took us the whole day. But what won’t we do to save the little we have left in our tiny tank of diesel.

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We didn’t get far that day, but didn’t plan for it either. The plan was just to get out of the fjord so we could start sailing south the next morning. However as we checked the weather it promised both rain and close to no wind for a couple of days. Half an hour before it got dark outside we pulled up in a nature harbor shielded for the worst of the rolling waves coming in from the open sea and settle nicely in between the anchor and a rope tied to land. As the rain hammered on the boat we cooked up the catch from last nights dumpster-dive and settled in for a pretty early night whilst the waves rocked us gently like a cradle. 

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The next morning we slept in. Since there was no wind to speak of anyway we decided to only move an hour or two down the coast in order to find ourselves a more suited place to wait for some better conditions. Later in the day the wind disappeared almost completely. Meaning for the first time we were stuck due to nice weather. It took us a while to find a good place to stay. Luck would have it that we found a small dock actually big enough for our somewhat larger specimen of a home. The place is called Meta, and the property was owned by an older couple that used the place as a summer-home and luckily let us use their charming harbor area until the weather would let us continue. 

There will of course be many more of these unforeseen little stops on our way – so we better get used to them. The good thing is that it give us time to fix all the stuff onboard that we would like to get in order. But since the boat is still new to us, we haven’t really gotten a good overview over what all these things are yet. To complete stuff there is also some things like paint, brushes, sanding machines and certain ropes that we still need to find or purchase in order to complete. Other things come down to us getting used to be back at this rutine of living on a boat. The last part is going pretty well and we have now stored most of the basic food like rice, pasta, onions and potato.

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Captain Simen has been sanding down the port side of the cockpit.

One of the main things we have to get used to is keeping enough fresh water in store. I would personally like to add another big tank for this purpose, but then again, here in Scandinavia it is pretty easy to find fresh water – at least now before all the marinas turn off their faucets completely in preparation of the winter season catch up for real.

Captain Simen have been working on our Patreon-account. This is a great way to follow our journey and be part of what we do. We would very much appreciated your support on the way. Going back in time we have been very lucky and had many people support our adventure. Like the great elderly couple letting us use their dock this weekend, a few great invitations for dinner and story time, a jug of diesel or oil or just a good conversation and advice on weather and culture. Patron alkow you to help out in the long run, and included thousands of creators and People like us that is presenting their lives and projects. We would appreciated if you take the time to check out our Patreon by following this link.

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We will also be looking for small jobs on the way. So if you are in need of help for a day or two and you discover our presence to where you live – please don’t hesitate to contact us!

The rain is back and so is Captain Simen from his walk in the forest. I will put on some tea and get out a good read from our growing library onboard. A warm cup of tea and a perifere plan of dinner is the next step this Saturday afternoon.

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

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 thought 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 among 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 neighbor 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 theater in the world.

Captain Jack

 

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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-foundation’. 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 maintenance 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 which 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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We made the news!

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

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Spillersbodas mainstreet.

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

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Damages caused by hitting the dock to hard.

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

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Pirate-lunch.

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

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The article in Nortälje Tidning.

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

Captain Jack

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 precious new pirate-ship. Adding to our mix of ecstatic joy and rumbling 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 impatient 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 some online classes in Arabic at the university 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 pressure-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 motor-oil 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 souse – 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