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 tought 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 amongst 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 neighbour 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 theatre in the world.

Captain Jack

 

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Abandon ship!

When your pirate-ship is under attack, in waters toward warmer climates and undiscovered treasures, by enemies and dangers you can’t even imagine – All Captains onboard will have to work as the perfect team we are in order to make it south. 

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A normal sight onboard Harry Louella

A few days ago we were attacked by the gruesome Transition-monster about five nautical miles out from our current safe harbour. It came out of nowhere – probably as the natural result of our previous two sinkings last week in the harbour of Nynäshamn. We suddenly lost all power of the engine and had to rise the jib with what I would like to refer to as no-wind-whatsoever to sail ourselves into safe shore on an abandoned island.

After having been rescued for the third time on this amazing ship we got into Fyrudden harbour where we are currently located. After having checked and rechecked, gone through all of our scenarios we have collectively among the Captains given the order of abandon ship. Harry Louella is being towed from here to Gryts Varv in 24 hours where it will most likely be spending it’s time until someone in this world have the time to fix this relative simple problem, which we simply don’t have time for if we want to get south before winter arrives.

Dear reader, do not fear! We are not by any chance giving up. I must admit that we have kind of gotten of course the last few weeks and should by the plan have already entered the Kiel-kanal. But as the temperature is pushing for snow we are simply not taking any chances and have decided to skip a few chapters ahead head south on friday morning. Check in at next post to see where our adventures has taken us!

Captain Jack

Game over

Yes. This ship has had it’s better days, we knew that when we got it. We’ve had a great run – but it seems like the current harbour is the final stop for us on this ship. After having been rescued 3 times, sunk twise, countless fixes and weeks of gentle care has not even gotten us out of the kingdom of Sweden.

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Sea rescue to the rescue.

Harry Louella isn’t working anymore. Transmission is totally scrucked and we are stuck in yet another harbour, and this time it seems final. There is of course a chance that we can get it running, but the time and cost of this fix might just be what pull us out of the game with this ship.

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Harry Louella at what might be her last stop.

This do not mean that we are giving up. We need a few days to reconfigure the plan – but I can promise you that we are not of those who give up. We have made some sort of plan, as we spent a few hours on a deserted island about an our tow out in nowhere yesterday. The sea rescue pulled us in to Fyrudden where we now are tied up to the guest harbour.

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Towed by sea rescue.

Lucky for us, there is a grocery-store here and the bus comes several times a day. We should be able to survive in this village for the time being. We even made a friend here allready. Felix, a island-owner across the bay that came over last night, bringing champagne and beer from his fathers brewery up north.

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The colors of a great morning.

In short – it’s hard to say what to say at this point. We are once again stranded fighting for a plan to make this work for all of us. I suppose this is a turn for the worse. But we are pirates, we never give up!

Captain Jack

 

The day everything went according to plan

We have just experienced our first day with no noticeable problems. There was that one point were the engine cut out just as the wind picked up making us sail instead – that was just awesome. The reason was that we are still running on our old diesel-filters – but apart from this tiny winy problem and the hour were the bilge-pump stopped working because of our very much dirty bilge.

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The wonderful view on deck.

We are of course counting on having a fair deal of problems with a wooden boat from 1957, and an engine even older. The old Bedford has been dry-docked for years, so no wonders that it require som love and care from four inexperienced sailors on their journey south. Apart from these two problems and the fact that I couldn’t catch anything but a nice pile of sea-weed – the day started with some of the calmest waters we’ve experienced, warm sunny weather and perfect conditions for anything but sailing. It was so calm that the engine was the only way to go.

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Conny on watch while David maneuver us graciously.

Lucky for us the fix we had been working on to stop exhaust filling up the cockpit proved to be working. For the first day in forever we reached our goal and have transported ourselves a fair bit south of Nynäshamn and into the guest harbour of Öxelösund.

The day has been as perfect as perfect can be on the water this time of the year. When the engine stopped and we raised the sail we made a whole 3,5 knots in only 3 ms wind. That was awesome. Starting at 10, we arrived at our destination exactly at the time we had planned out.

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Captain Simen writing the text for our first message in a bottle.

Last week felt mostly like a training-week with all the crap that happened but I am proud to say that this crew stood positive through the whole thing. We are really coming together as the crew we set out to be – which of course is essential for our mission for the coming months.

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Captain Simen practising his amazing guitar-skills.

Right now it’s so foggy around us that we can’t see the other boat around us, this is the weather for the night – but tomorrow is supposed to be just as good as what we’ve seen today. We feel we are finally making progress. Captain Simen has even got the diesel-heater that caught on fire the other day back in order. There was quite i bit of water there going into the system when we flooded the engine. We are waiting for dinner made by first-mate David tonight, enjoying some rest after a completely perfect day in the beginning of this adventure. We have officially left Stockholm county.

Captain Jack

 

 

Sinking twice in one day

We were just about to maneuver our very much smoking ship into the guest harbour of Nynäshamn when then engine stopped working again. The newly fixed exhaust pipe, that new crew member David spent hours to fix, had totally stopped sending the exhaust through the system and filled the whole ship with headache-bringing thick smog into the cockpit instead.

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If it wasn’t for the floorboards and the cold water, this would be a nice hot-tub.

The last two hours we had spent driving through darkness, navigating by the help of costal lighthouses and flashing red and green lights. We had calculated our journey down to the last nautical mile when it came to diesel. But then, 40 meters from the dock, we ran out and had to drift the last bit. We waited in silence all begging not to hit other boats in the harbour. But with the skills of experienced Captain Simen we docked perfectly in between two other sleeping ships.

At the dock we met up with our fourth crew-member that had went ahead to make some private arrangements, leaving us with the task of fixing up the newly rescued ship in Dalarö. Conny was in good health waiting for us at the dock. We hadn’t had the chance of speaking too much with him about our arrival since David dropped his cellphone in the only puddle onboard the boat a few hours earlier while we rode the waves between our destinations. There was of course only one thing to do – celebrate the crew-reunion.

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Tha magnificent ship “Tre Kronor” of Sweden as next-door neighbours.

I woke up the next morning hearing Conny scream something about water. A short look around the ship was all that was needed to activate the general alarm onboard. We were knee-high in water. The ship was sinking. We quickly got the big pump and both bilges running and managed to drain a few ton of water within ten-fifteen minutes. Now, everything was wet and miserable. We saved what we could and left the rest to dry while we spent a few hours away from our very much problematic floating home.

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Changing oil after flooding the engine twice.

When we got back in the afternoon the same freaking shit had happened again. The water was high above the maximum waterlevel the engine can take. Still below the air-vents but the oil was once again compromised. This time it was our own fault, we had turned of the power without thinking about tha fact that our pumps where running. But what can we do.. Life must go on, we turned the big pump back on and started the work of draining the oil for salty water.

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Captain Jack wIting in Nynäshamn.

Captain Simen and Conny took the long ride into a place with cheaper stores to get new impellers and a new exhaust-pipe. We simply can’t continue breathing diesel-smog as we continue down the coast. Everything should be in order now, we will keep moving on our journey south tomorrow morning. If we can find the money for diesel.

Captain Jack

Harry Louellas dieselfund

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What a great life we have!

The weight of towing FF Harry was a bit too much for poor Harry Louella. The engine overheated and stopped about fifty meters from a guest harbour, the winds slowly took us the rest of the way and in a mysterious way FF Harry found his own little pocket by crashing gently into his own space right next to our new ship. We decided that this would have to be his last stop on our journey with him and took a walk to see if we could find someone who wanted him for free. We had just given up and had decided to just let him rest in his place when a father with two kids parked next to us. After a few minutes of convincing we signed a contract of giving it to him for free and took off before he would change his mind. Besides, we left them a case of chocolate sticks under the bed.

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Our first rescue of the day.

Not having a tow made our new ship behave in a totally different way. We made a pleasant sailing rehearsal by rising the sails for the first time ever – a first for all of us! Learning by doing has gotten a whole new meaning so far on this journey. Once again we have found ourselves in a position of a steep learning-curve. At the end of the day we found ourselves in a very nice marina where we got to have dinner and rest out for a while. According to the weather the next day should be some piece of work for all of us.

The lines and cables from the hundreds of sailboats around us in the marina were smashing and singing through the night and as we woke up I could swear they were singing to us about storms and hard weather to come. We packed our stuff and set out to sea with our heads high and ready for anything.

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Captain Simen doing his own thing.

When the winds hit 15 meters a second and the waves are trying to reach higher than my own hight, there is no better feeling of being alive. Harry Louella is squeaking and dancing over every top and smacking down flushing water – taking care of the ship-cleaning we were planning to do the same night. This is also of course a bit hard for our mind and body to take like this the first day in rough sea. We therefore made it short day and found our own little nature harbour where we spent about half an hour figuring how the freaking anchor actually works.

Since we took to harbour early in the day, we made time to make a nice big fire to grill our giant marshmallows and have both lunch and dinner. We also made an attempt on fishing but weren’t lucky cause there was this sea-lion that superswam into the bay and scared away all the fishy’s.

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Having a great fire!

Today when we woke up, we decided to get an early start, packed everything and waited for Simen to top off the hydraulic oil. As we got ready we tried to start the engine, it snarled for a second and went dead. We were all out of power. Battery: Dead. We tried everything and we do of course have our solar panels, but there was no way the sun was going to show up anytime soon. Besides, our ship is still taking in water and we need power to run the pumps. Of course, somehow the exhoust-pipe had burned a hole or five in the pipe for the hand pump (explaining the smoke we’ve had in the cockpit the last few days)… In other words, we needed help as we were kind of stranded out in nowhere.

We somehow got a hold of the sea rescue and they promised to send a boat within a few hours. And so they did! We spent the time trying to fix the hand-pump in case the power went all out. It was of course quick-fix for the guys who had the right equipment and we were leaving within minutes of them taking of into the horizon.

The seas were good, only a few waves splashing over deck as we navigated perfectly in direction of our first actually planned port of call, Nyneshamn. We didn’t get that far. About an hour before we could reach our destination, after having had a great lunch of potatoes and macaronies with sild, just as the wind was starting to peak – the engined stopped.

Drifting toward a reef and with only forty meters to go before crashing badly, the anchor finally got hold to something down at the bottom. We were safe for the time being. But as we saw no way out and with the chain being the most rusty pile of shit I’ve seen in a long time we made use of our VHF and called out our first Mayday. The four crew members onboard worked as best as we could as the sea rescue sent out not only one ship, but two, and then another military vessel from further south. Ten minute later we could see they come toward us and without too much trouble got a rope tied too our slightly non-cooperative ship. Problem was, the anchor was stuck. Problems seldom come alone I guess, we had of course in the middle of everything got ourselves stuck to one of those cables you are not supposed to anchor close to. Only option was to lose the anchor and in the try of giving us the tool needed their ship crashed into our ship cracking our handrail and breaking the Norwegian flag, we all watched it disappear into nothing in the waves.

But we were at least free and they took us into the guest harbour to fix our engine and sleep through the little storm that was building. Little did they know that we were about to start a fire in our boat creating another crisis when first at it. But since great teamwork was already established this day – we ended the fire within minutes and spent half an hour airing out smoke and cleaning up the crap from the fire-extinguisher.

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The last picture I took of Harry.

That’s all. I don’t remember where we are, but we are connected to land-power and will not need help to get started tomorrow.

Captain Jack

Let the winds take us south!

Around midnight last night we had an alarm go off in the ship. It beeped for a whole minute – notifying us that we have reached the point of zero degree celsius outside. Lucky for us there was no ice but it’s really getting a bit to cold for us around here. There will still be another week before we can actually start our journey, it all depends on the engine, if it runs smoothly you will most likely see us head south within next saturday.

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Our wind-engine!

 

One of the neighbours, a couple with two kids invited us over for dinner the other night. It was a warming experience spending an evening with them. He is a former world traveller, now a carpenter with a side job of marking baby eagles in the area. She was until the end of December a stay-at-home mom with their two adorable kids, one at the age of three, the other just learning to walk at the age of one. A very nice little family focusing on living sustainable in a modern Sweden. We were served self-shot Bambi with creamed potatoes from the garden. Thank you for a perfect evening!

Yesterday we took the time needed to install our sails. We hadn’t actually checked them out yet, just taking for good that they were both in a sailing condition. Since none of us had even touched a sail in our lives until yesterday, there was a need to scratch our heads a few times before we could figure out the basics. But in a couple of hours we had made up a pretty good understanding of how they’re supposed to work and I’m proud to announce that the ship is now able to sail. In theory.

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Never touched a sail before, it will be fine.

There is no way to steer this ship without having to run the engines. The steering is sadly running on a hydraulic system, which we are hoping also is in a working condition. We will have to find a solution for this little problem. But if we could do it on FF Harry we can do it with Harry Louella. First step now is either way to fuel up with oil and make sure the engine is running. We haven’t had it started in the water yet, only on land, so this should be interesting. We should all have our little projects for the weekends!

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Laundry is a nice activity in the rain.

FF Harry and the trailer is still out for sale. We’ve had no luck so far getting them sold, can you imagine? The old boat is selling to the highest bidder, you can litterary get a perfectly working pirate-ship for nada..! What we did get sold was the pile of free materials used to hold Harry Louella dry during the last four years. Not much cash in those though, we sold them for a six-pack of light beer. If you don’t feel like buying a ship but still feel like supporting our mission you can use the paypal-function below.

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That will be the blog of the day! Thank you for reading, keep following our journey and please share with your friends using the icons below! We appreciate all our new and old readers and can happily annonce that since this blog started we have surpassed the previous number of readers every single month! 10 points for sharing!

Captain Jack

Rise the mast!

It’s storming again. I woke up this morning to strong winds stretching the ropes and hard rain drumming on deck. The plan of the day was actually to flush the teak-decks before giving it the first of many coats with varnish. Seems like nature took care of the washing and left for me to wait out the storm. Things are suddenly moving forward in a much more satisfying manner, it looks like we are actually getting out of Spillersboda before the snow arrives. 

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The mast has found its place. We are getting there!

The rivers of water have stopped using our new pirate-ship as an amusement ride. When upon checking status this morning, it is my pleasure to announce that Harry Louella is close to completely sealed up! I did throw some sawdust into the water around the ship yesterday, and in combination with what’s coming up on three weeks of soaking have made some magic happen. One of the biggest challenges about buying this ship is overcome.

The next big challenge is of course the engine. We have had it started a couple of minutes, but not had it drive the propeller yet. Captain Simen have spent some time the last days making sure that at least one of our dieseltanks are clean and in working condition. He have hand-pumped out the rest of the old oil and changed all the filters. The electric systems seem to be working fine. We should be able to power our three batteries between a combination of two solar panels and a generator.

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Yesterday we put FF Harry out for sale. It will sell to the highest bidder on blocket.se. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in bidding. We are also selling the old trailer that Harry Louella have been sitting on. These two things is what we have to get rid of, somehow, before we leave town.

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The amazing FF Harry is for sale to the highest bidder!

Another magical thing happened last night. I had spent a few hours prepping the mast. It needed to be fitted with spreaders and to have installed a world-famous Windex wind direction indicator. When Hasse had finished his dinner he was ready to help us lifting the mast into place – and hurray! Our built-to-be a fishing boat, made over to be a motor-boat, is now ready to have it’s sails attached. This of course is impossible to do today due to the wind, but the mast is ready!

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Hasse extended his crane to it fullest to make the magic happen.

This must be the most positive update on our fleet of ships in a long time. It feels great when things are moving forward in the right direction. As soon as the winds calm down – and the rain gives us a break, we’ll make a try on the sails and to varnish the deck. No one likes a grey teak-deck especially when it lets water sink through and fill up the boat. Our goal must be to have no water what so ever coming in unless we want it to. There’s no worries about bad weather when everything else blows in our direction.

Captain Jack

 

 

 

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

 

Geocatching 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 geocatching 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 neighbourhood going geocatching instead. They have a great Thai-reataurant in Norrtälje.. If you don’t know about geocatching, 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 trailor 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 pilars sticking out from a trailer in waves will hurt your boat. We would be better off sailing the open water.

Captain Jack