Our own time

Although this expedition don’t run on an harsh schedule compromising our enjoyment of it, we will be hoisting sails into the hands of the Arctic weather Gods. The tide up here frequently hit a difference of 2,5 meters and the cold northern wind gusts will put extreme pressure that could break our old sails if we are not playing it careful. Adding this to us not having the correct parts to fasten our propeller (yet) our first week back at sea will have to be a careful one. First port of call will be Alta, about 80 nautical miles from here.

Don’t worry, we won’t use Google Maps for navigation. Swedish sea rescue taught us that was an not so good idea.

Balto, our newest family member, will have his first real run onboard on this leg. We are still working out the details of his bathroom situation, but I think we have researched our way to a viable solution, more about that later. But due to this being his first long trip we will take it slow and steady. Lucky for Balto, all measures are being taken, and there is no reason why our water-loving puppy won’t find his place onboard. In fact, we are very excited to present him for his new home.

Apart from being the bestest puppy ever, he is growing superfast and just hit the 14 kilo mark. This of course hurts our little baby in muscles and bones but he is a great sport about it. I believe basically running the entire Norwegian coastline will be exactly what will build his pirate character.

Balto enjoying Captain Simen’s side of the bed.

Another issue we are focusing on is how in bell we’ll be able to fit all of our old and new gear in the boat. We are in for some serious packing logistics. Got to admit that the task is not proving to get easier with me stocking up on long lasting food like the worlds going to end in a few weeks, which very well may be the case according to the internet. If it’s not, we should be safe for another couple of months.

Because of the gear, the food and an over all comfort we are planning some minor rebuilds to the inside of the boat. This will be taken care of as soon as possible after departure. At latest before we leave Alta. In short we are in for some busy days starting on our departure the day after tomorrow.

Captain Simen checking out our new speaker.

Summer in the North is over, we do have hopes for an extra warm autumn month of September. The signs are good, and with any luck we will get to experience the great North that we hoped for when we sailed Northbound in the first place. As you might understand, I’m pretty excited! I’m ready for my freedom, and to exploit our time on the planet as our own.

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

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

The new pirate-ship

The fog is cold and wet, it makes getting up in the morning only bearable with hot coffee and the feel of the morning sun creeping over the top of the trees. Everything is damp and soggy – But there is no sleeping in for pirates that has to get their new ship ready for adventures. 

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Morning sun.

It took us a couple of days to decide about the ship after arrival in Spillersboda. The town is quiet now that most of the summer-guests have gone back to Stockholm or wherever. But there is still a grocery-store, a hardware and woodshop, not to forget the shipyard we are currently located at. It took almost two days to go through the state of the vessel, but it is verified; the engine starts, the ship from 1957 is in good shape, it looks amazing – we bought it.

There is of course a maze of things to take care of even before we can get her on the water. The most important thing was that the engine would start and with a little help from Hasse, the man of the shipyard, we managed to put together the information needed for us to turn the key. None of us is actual mechanics, and there is a total mess of cables, pipes and stuff no one actually know why is there. The ship has been on land for the last 4 years. Lucky for us the people before us have been taking good care of it, and we remain very positive about getting her seaworthy. It looks like we might have to stay in Spillesboda for a couple of weeks to make it happen, but it’s totally worth it. The ship is beautiful!

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Wrapped pirate ship.

This would not be possible without the help from all of you that have donated to our fundraiser. The new pirate-ship is still on a lease-contract, meaning that if you are able to help us out, there is still a chance! Every little krone, euro, dollar or whatever your country have decided is good enough for your people is very much appreciated. Please, don’t feel bad about donating to our ship-cause. It is already in our hands, but not fully paid for, and the actual fixing up of the ship shouldn’t cost much more than hard labor from the crew.

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Under the tarp.

I should get going, there is way too much to do and I’ve already finished my coffee. First point of the agenda is to unwrap the rest of our new ship. I can’t wait to see the whole thing without wrapping – and to show all you good readers of the blog, and all contributors what we’ve got to work with in the future! I’ll make sure to update you all as soon as possible.

Captain Jack