It’s been a while. Since arriving in Tromsø and leaving the Goddess behind the remaining crew have been in need of getting used to be back on the water and enjoy the way of the seas. It has been quite a journey and as these words are being hammered down we have already sailed south of Lofoten and is setting course for Bodø. Let me take you back a couple of weeks.
We spent a few extra days in the great city of Tromsø. An amazing stranger heard our cries for help and offered us a place to stay while the first storm on this side of summer raged across the country. Before we left we made sure to get ourselves a half day at the city’s new water world. Having had the best five showers of our lives we were ready to set sail again.
As the nomad-sailors we’ve become we had invited ourselves to dinner with our new friend Morten a few miles down the coast. Like many places in the North, finding safe anchorage is not always as easy as it sounds. But after introducing Morten to one of his neighbors that conveniently had a strong mooring we could safely take the small boat ashore and settle in for a great evening with great food, company, and a large collection of out of date beer. We also had a good chance to finally do some laundry. The party was so good we stayed with Morten for a whole extra day. The next day was a good relaxing day where we played instrument, painted pictures, built Lego and played the playstation. Ulf, Morten’s friend came by in the evening to talk about herbs and interview us for the radio-station he works at. New friends made, we once again hoisted our sails.
In our hunt for new places to take a shower we made the long trip to Finnsnes, with a quick stop in Gibostad to let Balto get his wishes fulfilled by hunting some birds and pee. Finnsnes, a town of which we visited on our journey North is a good place to spend a day or two. There is really not much going on, but they do have diesel, showers and NAV, a place good to visit if you need cash for the food and diesel to continue on. After a quick meeting we had once again restocked and bunkered for our journey forward.
We made the long journey to Harstad, a City we skipped on our way North to save time. Now we arrived right in the middle of a boat-party in the guest harbor. We were late for the sale of alcohol, but since my father studied in this city a few years back he pulled some contacts and we had him go to the store for us to secure a few beers to celebrate the weekend. It was a beautiful chaos of a weekend and we are happy to report a great stay in Harstad, so good that we also here stayed an extra day. To complete the stay we treated ourselves to a huge pizza at Milano restaurant and got up early next morning to leave before the harbor-master caught up with our missing port-fees.
We have not been blessed with good sail winds, so far, and on the next leg we also had some major currents against us. For an entire day we engined toward Tjeldsund, making only a few knots with max engine power. A waste of diesel of course but I had been misinformed regarding the direction of the tidal current, and well, it is what it is. We eventually made it to the place we had picked as our next port of call. Too late we realized to have entered a military area, I was in the middle of reefing the Jolly Roger when a couple of uniform came storm in toward us, explaining that we had passed way to close to one of their submarines and were to leave the area at once. Even we, don’t argue with the military, and even though it was already pitch dark outside we had to explain to the dog that his planned land-leave was pulled and it would take another couple of hours before he could get his evening walk.
Making dinner as we went, we had to cross a fjord in order to find a suiting place to stay. On the way there we finally had some good winds, sailing upwards of six knots, harboring for the night in Skarstad. Here however there is not much to see, but it was a nice quiet place with almost no cars on the road and only a couple of visible houses. To let Balto have some more shore-time we played the new norm and stayed an extra night.
Again, we are starting to look for showers, and a place to get coffee and therefore sat course for Korsnes. A small community, once the home of Knut Hamsun, with a nice little artistic village and a store. We were here for a couple of days, but soon enough it was time to go on, since Even the best places don’t always have showers for sailors like us.
That’s about the update I have for you this time. We are once again sailing and as the darkness once again is upon us we have sailed the entire day, and are now passing Steigen. We have found a harbor on the map, and it says there should be a shower there. Only time can tell.
It’s been a few weeks since the Goddess left FF Ella for this part of the journey. These are her words to be shared with our followers. You’ll have to excuse the translation of the text as it is mostly done by Google. We of course know that we will see her soon enough, and the crew would like to thank her for her joining the start of this new adventure south.
The downturn that the journey is over has meant that I have spent an unbelievably long time formulating something this time. I have in many ways gone from one adventure to another. Because on my journey back to the future, I am now in the process of completing 10 weeks of student internship, which I need to get my further education approved. So it’s really forward-looking. It is my springboard into the future and away from Lillehammer.
I have been very aware that I will not be living in Lillehammer, but then there are situations that arise then, which one actually uses as excuses, then one becomes anyway. Be it children, work etc … For my part there are children … But they are big and independent, and not dependent on me in the same way. I have no contact with Yngstemann (the youngest) at the moment….. Therefore, I find the assessments even more difficult. But I’m afraid that it’s perceived as a total rejection if I move to another part of the country, that I make a bigger gap in the relationship than it is… It hurts, I feel sad and sad to feel rejected in this way. At the same time as I know that it is his detachment, his experiences to do, his way and go, with or without me. It helps little, and only comforts a little, because I am still his mother. Therefore, I use what is now difficult between him and me as an excuse not to move away from Lillehammer. Although I feel that there is not a single cell in my body that will be here.
The new is always a bit scary, that I have the opportunity is also something new..
With the last trip, I got the even stronger and stronger confirmed fall. So now there is no way back for me actually, I MUST go north, I MUST get to the sea! I MUST to the light in the dark, I MUST to the northern lights! Easily..
My dear wonderful brothers, you are really bringing new dimensions into my life! To have this honor of being their big sister touches me deep in my heart. You will ALWAYS have your place in my heart! Balto has his own aunt’s heart, no more to say about it.
This anniversary journey back to the future, has been magical simply! It was great to travel to land north, magically to be on water with you again, and now in the air with, by me taking a plane home. To you other travelers who follow Harryfloats.com, I can really recommend this. Start a new trend, a “travel slow trend”. Then you get much more experiences on your travels.
Back to my anniversary tour, 25 years since I moved from Alta and 25 years since I moved to Lillehammer. It was absolutely fantastic to be back in Alta, I have longed for it … Oh now it happened.
It is not possible to pick out one highlight from this trip! Because NONE of them can be measured against each other! They are all unique in their own right, but it was unbelievably funny that I managed to surprise you, by arriving one day earlier than first said. I really should have had their faces and reactions on film. But they are well preserved in the heart.
To be able to join the drydock in Kåfjord, and help maintain FF Ella, I think gives my trip a special twist. Because it is easy to forget that maintenance is important, if you want many more experiences.
Bekkarfjord with its dazzling green mountains and a fantastic large mountain birch, is an experience worth seeking out for anyone who likes nature a little or very much.
Hammerfest with the urban, lots of great people we came in contact with, and in addition meet someone I know from life in the south, drive the light boat across the strait to get me a shower at a hotel, reindeer as a local lawnmower in a garden.. Absolutely wonderful!
On to Vinna, where I was on a summit trip in a life jacket, because that summit trip was only made because I was so in contact with my own flow. MAGICAL! Wonderful experiences with sky in fire and flame literally. Hasvik with skiing on NAV, turquoise sea and a fantastic sunset. Øksfjord where I really became one of the guys, host as close as I can get without surgery.
Personal hygiene and showering in the Barents Sea on the way across the Lopphavet. Sail into the sunset, end up in a harbor the gods know where, to get the most amazing northern lights fireworks no one can dream of after 12 hours at sea.
Then my thoughts suddenly began to swirl around as I began to approach Tromsø. Because there I had an eager soul who wanted to visit. I already had the apps for buses from my trip north. So it was as far as easy to follow. But finding out where the bus stops were in relation to marinas in unknown places, it was not as easy …
Then brother Jack comes out in the cockpit, where I sit at the helm in my wonderful “Tubbie Goddess suit”, “Maybe we should just sail to Tromsø tonight?” I felt it cheering inside me and the suit tingled. We set course and Tromsø became my last port for this time.
Leading FF Ella under the Tromsø Bridge, with strong currents between the buoys and a strong current that pulls southwards, is probably the boat technical highlight of this trip for me. Coordinating that the mast must hit as much as possible in the middle of the middle light of wood in the lower edge under the bridge, as well as following boat one in the currents gave me a level of tension I have rarely felt before. To then also play Kim Larsen’s song “This is my life” on speaker in the cockpit, at the same time as his eager soul sent messages and wanted to follow when we arrived at the port, it was just completely WILD.
I hit with the mast just below the middle light
I managed to feel the boat through first the current between the buoys.
I also felt Ella in the southbound current right after the bridge, at the same time as I had a relatively good overview of depth, because the entrance to Tromsø marina is relatively shallow.
The man with his eager soul came and brought me home to visit him.
I became really ill when I came ashore after 10 hours of sailing which ended in the evening darkness. Dizzy, rocking all the time and the light in the shops was as if you put 1000-meter headlights for a car 5 hm from my eyes … Really disgusting and strange. I felt weird, this is completely normal .. The lights in the shops are normal, the ground, the floor and the ground on land do not rock … It was me who was weird in that context. But I’m generally well used to it, and no one but his eager soul knew who I am, in that part of the country, so that was very fine.
I had some wonderful days visiting, where I literally came back and in contact with Bakkejorda again. Cuddle me! The return to the future was completed on September 18, birthday weekend for my oldest son and change content in the bag to start my internship period of 10 weeks Monday, September 21st.
This is my ticket away from Lillehammer in the form of approved further education after finishing my internship, which allows me to apply for many different jobs and apply north 🤩
My life’s back to the future is now a reality; CHECK ✔
Never give up your dreams, they will be real. I know, I’m living mine 💜
Until we read again; Ship o’hoy from the Tubbie Goddess
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the afternoon of one of these days in history we left Hammerfest behind. We had eaten well, saved up some energy for our journey forward and was ready for new adventures. As we started the engine we had ourselves a nice little picnic in the cockpit. We had no intentions of stressing our leg. And so we sailed into the island of Vinna a few hours later.
At Vinna there is some old ruins, speaking of previous inhabitants. According to our sources in Hammerfest, there used to be plenty of buildings here, even a school at some point. But all that is left now is a few concrete walls and a very well built molo protecting the small little bay where life used to prove it’s worth. I must commend this old time people. They brought back the wood from the houses, shipped them back the way we had just sailed and rebuilt their houses on mainland. Life at Vinna wasn’t sustainable then – but I picked a whole bucket of blueberries. New seafarers had planted a mooring-buoy for visitors as ourselves and besides the ruins, the island can pride itself with a nice rock-beach we spent hours looking for nice shiny rocks between tons of ocean plastic and other trash, way to much for people like us to even start cleaning up.
Our next destination was across Sørøysundet and onto the island of Sørøya where we had set our eyes on a sweet little place called Grunnfjorden. I must admit, when we had checked this place on the map it looked like a much smaller bay, being way more protective for winds other features the world is presenting us these days. It was of course beautiful, but as Captain Simen climbed his mountain and the Goddess hiked to better grounds for internet-services – while this guy was oiling teak and sneezing his ass off, we had silently decided that Grunnfjorden was no place to be anchored in the forcasted gales heading our way.
Balto the great sailor puppy is settling into his new life at sea. He now jumps fearlessly between our ships and have left the curse of seasickness behind (at least on the calm waters we have been journeying lately). He is even starting to accept that the deck is a perfectly acceptable place to take a shit. He doesn’t mind spending hours on the water, but has no problems with running around the wild nature that these part of the Norwegian kingdom offer to the world map. Balto now have a passport, and once his rabies-vaccine is fully operational in about 3 weeks, he can travel anywhere in the world he want as a free pirate puppy!
The Goddess that have just moved into her new pink city apartment, desirable smaller than her previous house, told us proud great stories of how she has rid herself with her many boxes of rocks. I’m happy to report that she has indulged in now creating an entire now collection of shiny rocks of many colors. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she choose to catalog the entire selection of northern Norway’s minerals. Time will show how many rocks the airline will allow her to carry onboard. I’m picturing a hell of a fight at the security check-point, nobody should come between a Goddess and her precious stones of magical powers.
Besides sailing a bit further South to hand the Goddess over to the airline in a week’s time – this ship has no longer any planned route for the future. Sørøya was as far as our planning made it. From here it will be sailing without a destination for many days to come, and in some ways I suppose this is where the adventure can go in any direction (except North).
I’m happy and a bit scared. Mostly scared about not having completed the installation of our diesel heater that is our only real source of heat when winter comes around. I believe the problem is how to get the exhaust out of the boat. In short we need a longer exhaust-pipe which is not to be found amoung trash on any amazing beaches, as it need to be metal and fairly bendable, and yes it would sink. Once this part is in place, and as far as I know everything should be working just fine. Captain Simen has done a great job installing the whole escapades of cables, machinery and pipes. May I remind you that FF Ella was already a hot mess of things, stuff, cables and wiring in all and every direction.
That would be it for this little update, I wish you a pleasent day and would appreciate if you shared our travles with one or two of your amazing friends!|
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While we are prepping the boat for sustainable life throughout the winter, by drying meat and fruit, cleaning and repairing – we are also awaiting the arrival of the Goddess, our deckhand for the next few weeks. We have asked her to treat this part of her voyage as part of this excursion and to document her travels for the blog in the name of holistic research. I took the liberty of translating the text from Norwegian but with this I leave the keyboard to Goddess for the remaining of this post.
First Travel Letter
My journey from Lillehammer to Alta takes place on land. First stage Lillehammer-Trondheim, completed by train on Wednesday 26.08.2020.
It is very special, good and a little mixed with joy. I have never in my 45-year-old life made such a journey. It feels a bit like “the child’s first journey”, as the saying goes. Never traveled so far over several days neither domestically nor abroad. I have dreamed of doing that. Heard about long flights to Asia, America and Australia. Told about inter-rail with long train journeys, but always only been a distant dream for me.
NOW IT’S HAPPENING! Now it’s finally my turn to complete my journey in my own way and fulfill a dream. For many years I have dreamed of having a driver and car with me, taking the Hurtigruten one way and driving the other way. That Hurtigruten has been replaced with FF Ella, only gives the dream the last touch I myself had NEVER dared to dream of.
To have the opportunity to join from Trondheim to Finnsnes in March-April together with “my brothers from another mothers”, was something special. Even though they both invited me, and we had and have had the bond we have. I did not really think so, and did not dare to trust that I actually mean so much to them as it is now clear that I do. Something I am unbelievably happy about, and will appreciate until the day I no longer leave my mark on the earth’s surface.
This is also an anniversary trip for me, in June it was 25 years since I moved to Alta and in September it is 25 years since I moved to Lillehammer. Have not been back to Alta at any point during the passed 25 years, I have longed and dreamed, to experience what now finally becomes a reality. In ’95 I flew north, making this my first flight ever. I flew to Alta.
The first flight of my life was then; A flight from Værnes (Trondheim), stopover in Bodø, on to Tromsø, change planes in Tromsø and so on to Alta. Had of course heard a lot about how damn easy it was to take off … Oh I was going to take off 3 times and change planes. There was no problem.
I knew no one had heard of anyone ever, who had never been to Alta before moving there. Oh, the feeling I had when I stood at the luggage belt at Alta Airport on day in September 1994. I was 19 years old, and the feelings they should have really been felt by everyone. Did not know which direction I was going out of the airport, so small I have never felt either before or since then. Orienting oneself alone in a completely foreign part of the world should really be felt by everyone.
So today the journey started back, from the inland’s deep and narrow valleys with mountain ranges, as the only county in Norway without connection to the sea and coast, to my childhood county via Dovrefjell with majestic Snøhetta, Trøndelag. Accommodation with a fantastic friend and her family, in historic Trondheim, in one of the city’s oldest and best-preserved apartment buildings in Holstveita on Hosptitalsløkka. Here you can find the only intersection with Trondheims / Nidaros’ oldest cobblestones laid in this way, the oldest electric street lights. In other words; Lots and lots of old history.
It is very special to travel in this way, you get to see the cultural landscape and nature in Norway in a close way, while you actually get there quickly. In Gudbrandsdalen, the patching of houses is the old building tradition, but we do not see much of that further north. In Trøndelag, we have a very special type type called “Trønderlånn”, this is often a long narrow house, which was most often built as a farmhouse on medium-sized and large farms. See pictures of different Trønder loans I saw on my trip.
Oppdal is known for producing slate for the whole world, and has its own hotel built in Oppdalsskifer.
I have been holding a turtle for the first time in my life, despite the fact that I have always been very fascinated by the creatures of these times, who have been similar in evolution after evolution. The turtle is physically living proof that one can endure age after age, as long as one is true to oneself and one’s flock. So it means a little extra to enjoy a turtle on my own time travel.
The next stage will be the longest of the trip from 07.15 to kl. 22.55, but then I will not continue until 13.10 on Friday 28, so I look forward to it.
The Tubbie Goddess fulfills dreams in her own unusual, weird, quirky way; But it’s my way and my life, I love it!
You’re Blessed, The Tubbie Goddess
Second Travel Letter
Stage 2; Trondheim – Fauske by train. Starting at. 07.48-16.52 and bussing on to Narvik from kl. 18.09 to 23.30.
This is a stage I would describe as spectacular! Starting with a coastal landscape, then the agricultural landscape is followed by the coastal landscape on Helgeland, then the whole thing is topped with raw and harsh Saltfjellet before it again turns into a coastal landscape.
These physical changes in the landscape, gave me physical images of life, now on the time travel of my life. My life has at times been experienced raw and harsh as Saltfjellet, beautiful and lush as the agricultural landscape emotionally charged and chaotic as the coastal landscape.
Getting this from nature’s changing landscape does something to me. There is no doubt that this is a time travel in one’s own life. Feels the title “Back to the Future” is very descriptive. I physically travel back to a place that have meant a lot and given me a lot during the time I lived there. Then to be part of something new in the present that gives me new energy and memories to build the future on.
It’s big, it’s amazing, it’s great, simply.
Well ahead in Fauske, there was dinner at Jernbanekaffeen, the dinner of all time bought from the menu: old salt saithe with carrot stew and bacon. A dish I grew up with, and have lots of childhood memories with. Absolutely fantastic to buy from the menu for the first time in my life. I grew up with my grandfather fishing for saithe and making salted saithe from it myself. Grandpa fished and made lutefisk himself for Christmas as well.
Here my original plan has changed, because I wanted to visit mother-Alta Iris, in Målselv on this trip as well. But there are no buses from Bardu/Målselv to Alta on Saturdays, otherwise the arrival of Alta would be on Sunday evening at 22.15. Too late, and too little time for me to see Alta again. That’s why I continued to Narvik by bus when I was so well underway.
Went off the train at 16.52 and the bus continued at. 18.09 toward Narvik. On this trip we took the ferry between Skarberget and Lødingen. I got on this trip’s first boatride. I could not then just sit in the bus, neida, I was the only passenger on the ferry who was on deck during the entire crossing. Should have arrived in Narvik at 22.55, but 30 min delay made the arrival time to 23.30, 17.5 hour after departure from Trondheim.
Very happy I had rented an AirBnB room, and hailed a taxi from the bus-terminal to the address. A great teen boys’ room with fantastic bed, access to shower, toilet and kitchen. Happy and delighted that the bus from Narvik to Alta would not run until 13.10. Plenty of time to sleep long and relax.
Went out take a walk to get lea on the body to get some fresh air. As soon as she fell asleep, her head hit the pillow, and she slept like a rock all night.
The next travel letter will be the stage Narvik-Alta and the reunion and surprise when Captain Jack and Captain Simen discover that I arrive at FF Ella one day before the appointment. Fortunately, Jack has told they would just be in the boat and relax. Hehe…
To be continuous!
You’re Blessed, The Tubbie Goddess.
Third Travel Letter
Narvik – Alta
In the old days, Narvik was called Victoriahavn, after Crown Princess Victoria who visited the place in 1887. Personally, I think Victoriahavn is nicer than Narvik, because I think it testifies to Narvik’s long history.
Woke up at 11 in Narvik, after a fantastic night, rested and ready for another race, and the last stage of this part of the journey. A good cup of coffee and a mårras-smoke on the stairs of the AirBnB apartment.
Captain Simen and Captain Jack still knew NOTHING about me arriving. Thought to myself; “Do I manage to keep it a secret until I arrive? The host must be careful and notice details in what I share on Facebook!” This was challenging, because of course I had to keep the others informed… A good shower and a calm start to the day was absolutely fantastic, after 2 relatively intense travel days with an early start.
It was piss rain in Narvik this day, I, the Goddess who wanted to wander around a bit to look around, had never been there before. But it was quickly replaced with breakfast at Steinovnsbaker’n at the Amfi center, which is the nearest neighbor to the bus terminal. A wise and good choice.
Here I found another culinary edible thing with a nostalgic twist, namely what we in Trøndelag call ‘Laupe’. In Narvik it is called for; Aniseed bun, something I must admit is more descriptive than the Trøndelag name. Aniseed bun with brown cheese is the best pastry I can get, preferably with another cup of coffee. So two aniseed buns with brown cheese and the thermos filled with coffee, became the way I should have on the last leg of this wonderfully spectacular journey of mine.
Over the magical Gratangfjellet I was once again captured by magnificent nature. A fantastic party that really lures me back for mountain hiking on a later occasion. But it may be stored in memory, then we will see what the future brings me.
The bus was a so-called double-decker, so I strategically placed myself on the second floor. Very wise choice for several reasons. Firstly I had a first class view and secondly I had fantastic company. My fellow passenger was a very nice lady from Germany who was living with family in Norway. She became very interested in what I was going to do and my choice of travel ways to get me North. She really enjoyed “traveling slowly” herself, whenever she could, and enjoyed it every single time. I think her description is very good, to “travel slowly”. Thinking that more people could have benefited from this. To just enjoy being on the go, no matter where you go. Then the whole journey will also be an experience. It is environmentally friendly both for us and our planet as well. For us simply to calm down, and we save the environment from extra emissions free.
This lovely lady lives on Tranøy in Hamarøy municipality. She gave me her contact information, so I could contact if I wanted in connection with the realization of “my islet dream”. She was also very fascinated by it; -Living all alone on an island between old northern Trøndelag and Finnmark, in the period October to March to get stormy, the light that actually exists in the dark and the possibility of northern lights.
The first bus change took place in Nordkjosbotn after a short stop, from here it was the same bus to the ferry quay at Lyngseidet. This trip also took place in spectacular nature with “Fjords and mountains” as tourists refer to Norway. Now there was a new crossing by ferry to Olderdalen. The most amazing ferry ride I have ever done. A surpass surrounded by the Lyngen Alps, Norway’s response to the Alps in Switzerland, Austria and northern Italy.
Oh who was the only passenger on the ferry who was on deck during the entire crossing do you think? – Yes, The Tubbie Goddess.
The bus trip from there became very special to me, my time travel was coming to an end, and I suddenly found myself on roads I had traveled on 25 years ago. Kvænangsfjellet, the last mountain pass before Alta, mighty and wonderfully beautiful nature! It was a quarter of an hour break in Burfjord, where Captain Simen and Captain Jack had lived since the last time we were on a trip together, 6 days after they left I was there. I began to feel the excitement by surprising them.
But where is the marina in Alta? I found the post on FF Ella, with a picture of the shipdog Balto. Where he lies with his snout on top of the note with the tip number to pay port fees. It said “Alta boat association”. Entered Google maps and searched, quickly found out that it was in Malmveien 18. Incidentally my near the center when I moved from Alta.
Got off the bus right at Bunnpris gourmet, went shopping with me a bit, then I ordered a taxi.
The taxi driver drove me to the guest harbor of the Alta boat association. I made an agreement with him that he was not allowed to drive until I had found the boat.
Went out on the first gangway, and there at the end on the left I discovered Ella. Went over and thought I should knock. But no, because out in the cockpit there they sat, together with two others they had a visit from. Captain Jack was eager to say anything, and in the middle of the story I shot “Yes, it seems so”.
They were just as surprised as I had hoped and wanted! Great and cordial reunion joy! I FINALLY got to surprise them, it felt really good!
The visit trudged home to their boat, my stout brothers joined me in the taxi and picked up my luggage, then there was a welcome beer in the cockpit of the dancing northern lights in the sky.
It is certainly unusual with the Northern Lights as early as the end of August, so then it was probably the universe that welcomed me back to Alta, for the last time I saw dancing the Northern Lights was just in Alta, of course.
Thank you dear past for all the experience I have gained, now I will live in the present and create my future on the wisdom of the past.
Remember; Enjoy the moments, they are the ones that are actually life. Sail safe through the stormy parts and life, where ever when ever.
It has been a long summer and it is obvious that FF Ella have missed seeking out new waters. Its also honest to say that the Captain’s may or may not have accumulated too many things (again) during the course of this summer. Lucky for us we have been prepared for something like this to happen and have made all storage-space onboard dry and secure for all our belongings. When practising holistic research it’s hard to know ahead what kind of equipment will be needed, we are therefore stocked up on most of it. What research vessel wouldn’t require a soapbubble-machine, a heavy mineral sluice for gold prospecting or a gastronomic fruitdryer? Getting all things in order is how we will spend the coming week. As for right now we hav concluded the 85 nautical mile relocation voyage from Burfjord to Alta.
We left Burfjord with the winds in our favour. Most of the time. The area offer some pretty chaotic crosswinds due to the high mountains surrounding the fjord. No big problem for avid seafarers as ourselves, and we made a nice long passing to our first planned stop; Sandland. However it proved that this harbour had not finished their guest harbour yet. The harbour master himself explained that their plans of completong the masterpiece was stoppe by a certain pandemic virus and wished us welcome back next year.
Instead of dwelling on this problem, and to Balto’s frustration we fired up the good old Penta and spun off to the other side of the fjord where we arrived in Bergsfjord just as the darkness started to swallow the surrounding nature, and the glacier raging high above us.
We agreed on a bit slower pace for the good of our belowed puppy and ourselves. We had a bit of a realization on how much you use the muscles in your legs swaying back and forth all day long. Allthough we had not lost our sealegs and only reqruit puppy Balto had a tiny issue with seasickness, we felt pretty nackered and fell easily to sleep after a nice bowl of pasta with creamy homemade mushroomsaus.
The next morning was fairly wet. It had been raining all night and the fog was heavy as I sipped my morning coffee, waiting for Balto to do his morning business. Despite the weather we decided on a go-ahead for the 25 NM passage to Øksfjord which would place us in a great position for the last part of the relocation. The weather people had promised that the wind would bring us all the way where we needed to go and as the goodhearted people we are, we believed them.
It actually wasn’t that bad. But we had hoped for a tad stronger winds so we could let the poor quick fix we have made on the prop rest for the remaining voyage of this part to Alta where we will be awaiting the new parts and our imported crew that will start her voyage North from Lillehammer on Wednesday.
As for us, we will be enjoying the ammenities of Alta Guest harbour while we get the rest of Ella ship shape. A few things are still in need of completion before we leave civilisation behind and set off the explore the arctic wilderness.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve had the most amazing crossing over Vestfjorden, the fjord between the mainland and famous Lofoten. For the first day in weeks and right after a night filled with harsh winds from the North we woke up to a sunny morning, close to no wind and the most silent water I’ve seen since the port of Trondheim. We were in the middle of a larger storm-system but only idiots wouldn’t make use of a whole day of blue skies to Explorer some of the most stunning nature the kingdom of Norway has to offer.
First we tried to tank up in Hellsundnes, but of some reason they had removed the automate for paying so we had to resort to our very last dunk of diesel. We truly haven’t been this low since leaving Fredrikstad way back in February. Shit let go, we filled her up and sat course West toward the City of Svolvær.
The cruising across was a day to remember. We saw some great sea eagles, and tons of other big birds, the small islands and reefs made up the first couple of hours before we surfed on lazy waves across the fjord, enjoying a warm cup of coffee as our destinations grew lager in front of us. Of course, this was the perfect opportunity for the Goddess to take her topless picture – flashing all of Lofoten in one go.
Now, Svolvær is a pretty popular place for travelers whenever there is no corona-virus going on, but so is Bergen and Stockholm, and none of these big cities charge as much for a night as the guest harbour of Svolvær. I won’t even tell you the price in case you end up in an anaphylectic shock.
The city itself was as quiet as the rest of the world this time of life but back in Mandal we met this bartender that knew a guy living here and how can you not follow up on such a lead. By the help of social media I had tracked the guy down weeks ago and invited him over for a beer. He arrived just as we had finished our meal of potatoes in souse with economy fishcakes made by the Goddess. It turned out to be a great welcome from a guy actually born and escaped from Fredrikstad years ago. It’s a small world.
Other than this, we stayed an extra day yet another time to get a bit bored onboard. The first morning I made my way over to the harbour office and purchased tree gold coins, buying us each seven minutes of hot water. Nice and clean for the first time in a while we could lean back an relax for a while.
A neighbor fisherman knocked on the boat and asked for some help to thread a cable. I willingly got dressed and five minutes later I took home a huge kod in reward. This will be a nice little future meal for the crew.
Tomorrow we’ll be leaving. But first the tanks will have to be bunkered and we will be on our way toward Tromsø. I believe we have picked the nicest route there. It will take an extra couple of days, but this is also one of the most amazing parts of the adventure.