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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Reaching another milestone

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

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

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

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The view during our night-sail.

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

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

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

Captain Jack

X-mas gift

A small donation is always greatly appreciated. One unit buys one liter of fuel 🙂

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Copenhagen here we come!

Yes, we are taking a break from Sweden. The time has come for us to visit our next country on the list. Denmark, you have been deeply missed and even though the forecast is rain, even snow and plenty of degrees in the blue – we are truly looking forward to hang around for a week or so. I must admit I’m excited to actually have a place to stay this time around, our last few visits have been deeply colored by our tendencies to live in a mix of couch-surfing and tents on all sort of illegal sites. 

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The south of Sweden have been conquered. We arrived in Smygehamn at the perfect moment after having live-streamed the passage there. The sun was just about to go down in the distance and after securing the boat to the dock we walked to the very tip of the guest harbour. This point marked the tip of mainland-Scandinavia and to us the halfway-point. Even though this is halfway, the first half also represent the hardest and slowest part of this trip to Norway. From now on, everything should in theory go smooth and much faster from here on.

Smygehamn smells bad, very bad. there’s a strong stench of rotten eggs or something much worse in the whole area. This make the place a bit unpleasant, but the guest harbour was free(!) and we got to enjoy the peace of an ended summer season by ourselves. Not counting the smell, I’m sure the people running the place could do much more to advertise this place.

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Next morning we aimed for Trelleborg. They do however not have a guest harbour at all, so we ended up stopping in the harbour before, in Gislövs läge. This is a small little village with not too much going on, the little grocery store had some light-beers for sale and this somehow inspired us to take the bus in to Trelleborg to check out the nightlife. We grabbed a great IPA at a nice restaurant in the city center, and when they closed we were sent to the only bar that was still open where we had a few more. This would have to do for our Halloween celebration. We are doing perfectly well by ourselves, and that’s good when except from an elderly couple and a bartender that didn’t look like she wanted to be there at all – we had a blast.

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We are of course setting course for the King’s city, Copenhagen. I’m a bit concerned about finding a free place to anchor up, but surly there will be a place for people like us. Our lovely ship can take just about any harbour but as our budget once again is running low, we’ll have to do this the pirate-way.

Captain Jack

Harry’s Shop is online!

It seem we might have landed in ‘the bay of silent weather’, also used for a huge military exercise these days. Since the last post we have only moved about 30 nautical miles. We cut the first day short due to a certain Captain Simen being a bit hungover as we happened to be invited to ‘Sail Inn’ – the local waterhole in Sandhamn the night before. We are not the ones to say no to free drinks and happily joined the party. But the next day was a hard one to deal with the waves created in 10 meter wind coming in from Poland. After a nice bumpy day we settled in at a ferry-stop on Drottningskar only 25 nautical miles from Sandhamn.

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The next morning woke me up with no wind at all. It was as quiet as it can get and super-foggy. The day before we noticed that we might be in the middle of a huge military thing as well, I mean, signs were pretty clear. There was scatter on the VHF of ships setting off explosives and a variation of camouflage vessels of all sorts and sizes surrounding us at any time. As basically the only boat still on the water at this time of the year, I suppose we were quite visible. But we are sailing a Norwegian flag, we’re friends of the enemy.

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Since the weather wasn’t supposed to clear up we decided it was no point in just basically wasting diesel for a whole day and settled in for a quiet day in the boat. But after a long day with no real good opportunity to enjoy the outside we had emptied our batteries using the laptop, and besides having no fresh water left we figured out it would be better to move over to the next islands guest-harbour so we could get a bit charged up and maybe even some heat. The journey over to Hasselø took only about half an hour, and we passed no less than 17 different military speedboats and ships on the way.

Despite the rain we went for a walk on the island. It is connected to land by a bridge so for once we found an island where people are actually living all year around. I believe it is a nice little place to visit for anyone traveling around these parts of the world, but since we were basically already swallowed by the darkness there was not much to see and we returned to the warm safety of our floating home. Of course also here, in the harbour, we were accompanied by 6 military boats.

It was during this slow day that we decided to finally go through with one of our plans. I am proud to inform that we have now launched our own online store! Harry’s Shop is open for business and you are free to start shopping! This of course come at an extremely convenient time for you since you of course are about to get some christmas presents going!

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In Harry’s Shop you can find a fine assortment of clothing and accessories that is of great quality and serve multiple purposes. You get clothing in all shapes or sizes, either you are of any gender or age. Our catalog may change in the future, but for now you’ll find plenty of good stuff for your whole crew and yourself! Please take a look at our store, it may just be the best store online. You don’t have to worry, it is not all pirate and sailor-stuff we have some pretty cute motives, even suited for toddlers and office workers. For the next two weeks you get 15% off on everything in the store!

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Sorry to say, but it seems that our beloved American followers will have to wait a bit to access these very fine pieces of merch, but for all of Europe you should be good to go! Just make sure you pick your country so you don’t pay for international shipping. Follow this link or use the one in the menu and get your stuff today!

Well, I’m off to prepare today’s sail. Hopefully we’ll get a bit further today and put some nautical miles behind us. We only have two months left to get to Norway, at this speed we better get moving.

Captain Jack

First nights below zero

Upon leaving our safe harbor in Kråkelund we started the last bit of the eastern Swedish archipelago. It is an amazing piece of the world but in a sailboat sometimes a bit too much to maneuver through. It would probably be easier to sail on the outside but the weather have told us to stay on the recommended tracks inside the outer islands. We had a long trip in between hundreds of red and and green boyes and barely managed not to hit any hidden rocks. Kind of fun of course, but since the total fail with the day before we decided to ride safe.

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It seems that the cold weather and constant activity we are in make us in need of more and longer rests. It has not been unusual for us to sleep ten hour nights a couple of times a week. And at least once a week we’ve had to take an extra night to catch up with ourselves. We still have about two and a half month to get to my mother before x-mas so we should have plenty of time, but it also get clear er for every day passing that we will have to consider the weather very carefully to get there.

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Putting down a carpet to keep our feets warm and happy

We actually ended up staying three nights in Oskarshamn. It is a good place to catch your breath and to divert some electrical energy from the dock. I tell you, this was very much needed as we had some really cold nights. I read – 4 degrees Celsius, but with the cold breeze down by the water it is good to be well protected from strong winds too. We are working on finding ways to stay even warmer whenever we are not connected to shorepower, but this will probably be a work in progress for the coming weeks. For now we are doing just fine, but we feel that getting prepared for the coming cold is a vice choice. This said, we’ve lived in colder conditions before without the protection the ship already offer. So this should be piece of cake, it’s all about making it comfortable and who ever liked to wake up cold?

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Drying the duvets we found in a dumpster

We had visitors! One of the Germans to whom we sold pirate brew and other goods last summer came around with her buddy to finish off their Scandinavian road trip of the year. Although a short visit it was nice to catch up a bit.

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Other than that we have been preparing the boat for another jump South. The wind are supposed to be pretty calm, but since we are now protected by the island of Ă–land we are not expecting the hardest of days anyway. All I got to do before we set off, besides to finish my cup of coffee, is to fill the water-tank and possibly get Captain Simen out of bed.

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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Harry Louella is afloat!

The full moon had just taken over the sky. It was luckily still some daylight to work with for this next critical step. Over the horizon we could make out the planet Mars as we lowered Harry Louella into the murky shipyard-water. There was this magical little moment as we watched our new pirate-ship float by itself for the first time in four years.

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Harry Louella making touchdown.

Earlier in the day we spent hours filling in the cracks in between the boards with a fitting substance. We had the ship lifted from its trailer in the water with the crane of the shipyards rig. In some strange way the trailer had got stuck on the wrong side of the metal boat ramp. This meant we couldn’t just drag the boat back on land – it had to be lifted. So we did. Hasse was nice enough to use his truck as a temporary working-platform for a few hours.

It was a dirty job that just had to be done. And man did it help! We are still on red alert and have to watch the water all the time. We thought there would be a lot more water right now, but it seems fine. Meaning; we only have the two installed bilge-pumps running constantly. The big electric pump we got the other day is set to start by itself if the water-level rises over a certain point. But for now it looks good. We are afloat!

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Harry Louellas last time on the trailer.

 

Now starts a whole new set of stuff to take care of onboard. We need to have another real go-through of the engine, easier said then done when none of us are really born as mechanic-wonderchilds, but I’m sure we can figure out the basics. We also have to install a wind-indicator, a weather-station and run another full check of the older than us-electrical system.

There is also a whole bunch of stuff to take care of regarding the FF Harry. In short – we need to figure out a solution on how to get rid of it in a respectable way. The same goes for the trailer and som excess gear we can’t take with us whenever we are ready to venture on. Then of course, there is the case of rigging the mast, checking the sails and probably learn how to use them.

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Captain Simen giving the tractor a hand.

Yes, there is tons of stuff to do. We have spent two weeks in Spillersboda now, and we are still looking at least on another week before we can be ready. But that is no problem, not when we can optimistically start this week off with our new home tied to the dock.

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Thank you for reading! I challenge you to share our blog on whatever social media you prefer. We would also like to remind you about our fundraiser. As you can imagine this project does not come cheap and we can really use all the help we can get to put this ship back in a respectable shape. If you have the chance, don’t hesitate about supporting us either with a small donation or by sharing our adventures with your friends and family.

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Update you soon!

Captain Jack

 

Geocaching while waiting to float

Today, I promise, we are lowering the ship to stand on its keel before the waiting makes us totally crazy. This will be our second to last step before our new home is supposedly going to float by itself. It’s Sunday and this weekend we had a visit from my geocaching pirate-mother and brother Morten. It’s always nice to have family over, and it was totally great if we’re not counting the fact that all four of us have been feeling a little shabby. 

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Captain Simen feeling sick in the back of a car.

A little regular sickness won’t stop our mission of getting this ship afloat. We will make it happen at any cost, and since we really are spending absolutely every little penny to make it happen, I assure you it will. We are actually being optimistic about getting the whole boat afloat within next Sunday. We are still not in a bad position time wise, but the sooner we can get our asses to warmer countries – the easier it will be to make a safe sailing.

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Sorry, but not even I have been allowed to take a decent picture of my mother in all my years of living. Here with my brother checking out the next geocatch to find.

Since we’ve had visitors these last days, we finally got a couple of days off from fixing big and small things on the ship. There was originally a plan of making a the trip to Stockholm, but since all four of us felt a bit sicky – we mostly ate food, drove around our whole new neighborhood going geocaching instead. They have a great Thai-restaurant in Norrtälje.. If you don’t know about geocaching, you should probably check it out on geocatching.com and get just as hooked as my mother and husband have been for the last five years or so. It’s a great sport with an amazing fan base all around the world. They spend all their free time traveling the world to explore hidden forgotten places. They are actually one of the most active catchers of Norway, and if your into the community you probably know them as Teamvesla. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found their first real old forgotten pirate-treasure before the pirates onboard Harry Louella will.

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My mother going for the ‘catch’ laying on the 60’th latitude on this point in Sweden.

I think all we are going to do today is lifting the ship and seal it up with another layer of Ettan, a grease, fat-like substance in between all the boards below the waterline. We are then going to remove the trailer it now stays on and lower it as much as possible – making all our pumps prove they’ve been worth whatever we paid for them. At the moment we are running two pumps and it’s going just fine. So fine that the next step is imminent within the next few hours. At this moment, either the tide is higher than it has been in all our time here or we are actually, slowly, being dragged toward the ocean. Come on big ship, get your ship together – we are ready!

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This is the case five minutes ago.

It’s about to become a new week. Again. Along with our visit this weekend, we have also had a small storm in the area. The weather has been a hazzle. Having a boat staying on pillars sticking out from a trailer in waves will hurt your boat. We would be better off sailing the open water.

Captain Jack

We bought a bilge-pump with cash!

Our ship is built in oak. A very hard but sturdy type of wood that takes forever to seal up. It has only been five days, but it seems like a lot longer since all we want to do is continue our journey south before it gets too cold. The last two days have been super windy so we tried to spend the time wisely by hitchhiking into the next town to buy a new bilge-pump. 

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FF Harry enjoyingtime to himself.

Sweden is a wonderful country in many ways. But there is this one thing we have discovered that will most likely and hopefully take this country down. They are slowly ruling out the good old cash-payment method. On more than one occasion we have been stopped in our way just because we haven’t had the option of paying with a credit-card. We can’t even go to the bank to top up our accounts – because the banks don’t even accept cash.. what the heck is this? One thing is that this so called EU-country won’t accept Euro, but cash in general? Everything now has to be logged and even more of our freedom is being taken away from us. How and why would you ever want this for your country? Thank all gods that we’re leaving this country and are not Swedish.

That was my morning-rant. I get that way when I haven’t had my morning coffee yet. But seriously, how do the Swedes think this is gonna play out? We had to have the waiter pay our bill with his credit-card, while he got cash from us. I can easily smell how that bill was canceled from the register.

Norrtälje is a nice little city. It’s only about 15 kilometers from here and have absolutely everything you need to live the good life. We are of course very happy here in Spillersboda where they have the local grocery-store accepting cash and a nice small community – but Norrtälje is a city, and we wish we had a whole lot more money to spend on stuff we actually need for the new ship. Instead we spent the day walking around, checking out the stores and in the end got to know some of the local karaoke-singers. We might have promised to give them a show next Wednesday.

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But we also got what we came for: a new bilge-pump to take care of 93 liters every single minute. This means that we most likely tomorrow morning will be ready to lift the ship up with a crane, use a tractor to remove the trailer it is now standing on and then lower it down till it sits on the keel and have three pumps taking care of the rivers flowing in trying to drown our engine. But this isn’t the sinking Swedish cash-economy. We will float, because that’s what Harry’s do – Harry Floats.

Captain Jack

The Masterplan

There is no simple explanation for our choice of moving onto Harry. Or to set up camp on undisclosed locations. No explanation needed! Living outdoors is something we both want. This is not new to us, even though there is limited experience evolving being boat-owners. We are nature men and travelers by heart and the thought of slow-travel, with the chance of not having to actually carry our luggage, is what we are aiming for. Like a phlegmatic snail over troubled water.. 🙂 The ultimate goal is to find the way to continue our journey before winter once again rain upon us.

The weather is no longer a problem. We have our dry home in the boat! On board we can find all the tools needed, I guess we could build a small house if we wanted to. All the clothes, the food, the cat and the heat. We have two tents, sleeping bags and not to forget each other. Our only real concern was this:

What about the cash?!

We could probably get around the whole money-problem. And without boring you with our economical details, there shouldn’t be any problems – If our calculations are correct. But – in order for us to evolve and grow and let’s say invest in our future instead of paying bills – we’ve had to be creative with ideas on how to make our money. We also wanted replacements for the commodities we otherwise would waste money on.

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In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to consider this aspect of economics. Nor is it a goal of ours to become wealthy, if so; Just for the convenience of having someone take care of the manual-starting trouble we seem to have with Harry. The world is however not perfect. Fair enough, let’s deal with it. Best bet would be to follow this blog. You don’t need to ask about exactly how all these things are going to happen. We don’t know yet.

Lead the way

Even though we both find the activity of planning amusing, there is no real reason for spending hours of planning out our journey. We have tried to plan the content before without much luck. When traveling slow – like we want to (and are used to from our days with heavy backpacks in 26-degree shade) the plan quickly change. Whenever navigating uncharted terrain we prefer to take it slow and let the road, now also water, lead the way. What we however do spend time focusing on; our freedom, creativity and the amazing opportunity this journey represent. We want ourselves to play around with new and exciting ideas. In short: There is no master-plan.

Yes, we are making our own luck. We also want to learn how to get a closer relationship with nature, how to live more responsible considering waste and ecological footprint. We know we are dreamers. We also know that doing nothing about our dreams is not an option.