Riding out the high tide

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

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

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

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If you happen to like this blog, or want to see how we are doing on this journey along the coast to the way up north in Norway – feel free to follow us by using the buttons at the end of the post. If you’re not the following-kind of person that’s totally alright. You are still welcome to check in once in a while… Sharing!

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

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

Captain Jack

 

Byebye Fredrikstad

The day before we set sail the harbour is covered in ice and all our ropes on deck are due to previous rain frozen to solid blocks of ice. There is a storm heading our direction – so large that it may cover the entire kingdom. The weather-people are staying every one better stay inside. On the bright side; the boat is packed with everything we should need for weeks to come. The deck is prepared, food stoved, dishes washed and all clothes clean. Tomorrow morning we will engine ourselves across the Oslo-fjord to our first port of call on this voyage: Stavern.

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Mother sowing

The map and safety-apps are downloaded, along with games to the PlayStation for lock-down days at port. The mothers have had their chance to speak their minds, the routes have been semi-planned and other thinkable complications have been discussed. We have bought new sailing suits and flares in case shit hits the fan. There was a party on Monday to say farewell to our local friends in Fredrikstad.

We are at the peak of winter and from here on the temperatures should in theory rise. The days has become a lot longer and this is important since we are in need of all the heat we can get from above. Not that we worry too much, there will be plenty of cities and guest harbours for the first half of this journey north. Meaning we’ll have lots of places to get some additional electricity and maybe even a hot shower.

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Last dinner onboard in Fredrikstad

For the first day we have recruited Ibby, an old Mate of Captain Simen, to sail with us to Stavern. It’s going to be his first sail ever and it will be nice to have someone help us out with all our frozen sails and ropes. Tomorrow morning will be the start of a special journey. Wish us luck and feel free to check in on the blog once in a while to get the latest news on the venture.

Byebye Fredrikstad,

Captain Jack

Final port of call

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

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

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

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

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

Captain Jack

 

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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 🙂

€1.00

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.

I would like to give you a tip on how to passively make money out of your pictures. You know the hundreds of pictures you take but never really use again. Easy, sell them as stock-photo! I have done this for 5 years now and have made quite a lot throughout. My most selling picture was of a monarch butterfly and it sold for $170! It’s worth taking a look at dear reader. Follow this link to check it out. They have recently made an app. Making everything super-much more easy then when I got started!

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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 Öland 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

Real pirates will never give up!

There was ice this morning. It has been a very cold night onboard the Harry Louella. The three pirates left onboard to finish up the preparations for our wintering of the ship are sleeping with double covers, hats and jackets to keep out the cold. It is time for us to get moving, but before we can do that – the ship must come out of the water and we need to know where to sleep the next couple of days. Not to forget where in the world will we find our next ship?

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Waking up to slippery deck and frost all over.

Our fourth pirates for peace-pirate has once again taken off to Nynäshamn to take care of some business. We will go there one of the next days. Yesterday we were towed from Fyrudden to Gryt early in the morning and later in the day we detached our beautiful mast and sent it to storage. But for now, we are waiting for the people of the wharf to make the time of lifting our boat ashore so we can cover it up and prepare the engine for winter.

There are times where our adventure seem to be a hard nut to crack. But let it be said that this crew will never give up the journey toward world peace. We are not the first pirates to be temporary without a ship – and even in these dark times our crew is masters of keeping up hope and the fight for our cause and will once again, mark my words, soon be back at the sea!

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Being towed in early rainy mornings.

This said, we have lost the fight against the winter and will have to move ourselves in some other way down to a warmer climate. Where, how and when still has to be determined and this will be done within a few short days. The last of our tasks will be to pack whatever we can carry from Harry Louella but it look like there will be a lot of tools, equipment and other useful things left for the next lucky owners of this amazing boat. Let us know if you are interested in a cheap pirate-ship!

This also means that we will not be able to sail down through Europe in this turn around. This is very sad of course – since we have met a lot of great Europeans this summer that it would be a privilege to meet up with on our way south.

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The last voyage for us onboard Harry Louella.

For now however, feel free to check in on the blog for updates. I will keep you posted on our progress for better or worse, but know that we are pirates with great hope and this adventure will go on for a very long time into the future – until we reach our goal of world peace or longer.

Captain Jack

The pirates homeless-fund

Any contributions is greatly appreciated. If you are unwilling or unable to help out with cash, it is just as valuable for us if you share our blog with your friends and family!

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Problemsolving life

We are getting used to being stuck in random places. I suppose that’s a good thing since the only real plan we have is to get south and to get started on our ‘Pirates for peace-foundation’. It seems that our plan of sailing around the country of Portugal has changed – most likely we will be journeying through the canals of Europe until we hit the Mediterranean. The months we are entering simply don’t go well with us or Harry Louella entering the open water featuring the Atlantic ocean. 

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Entering harbour at night.

We are standing by in Öxelösund, a small industry town with not much going on east in Sweden. We’ve had to stop for some maintenance of our vessel. It was a planned stop, but it doesn’t seem like we’ll be moving for another day. Conny is working hard to repair our jib-sail that took a hit when were sailing against the wind a week ago. This is an easy fix but we have to put the hours into it.

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Conny our very own sailmaker putting in some hours.

Yesterday the fog was so thick that it would be straight out dangerous for us to go out through the waters we are now sailing. I doubt there is many places on earth with this many reefs and tiny islands. Today it is of course raining – making Conny’s sowing-job on deck a bit more uncomfortable. But we’ve got time.. The snow isn’t here yet and we still have to get the engine started.

It looks like we found the problem to why we kept losing the engine all the time. The diesel-filters were all clogged up. I mean for real clogged up. Totally black with cloggy clogging-materials built up through the years. Lucky for us we found a gas-station which was more of a garage and they had in a dark corner of their storage only two filters left that would fit our engine. Of course the guy behind the counter warned us about getting air into the system and the mechanics, being Captain Simen and David, did their best. But this engine is old – and have a hard time being friendly to young pirates. It sucked in whatever air it could handle and here we are. Stranded once again – in a guest harbour of Sweden, forced to push a button every five-minute, hoping that the air will pass through the system.

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Here we are…

It’s not all bad of course. We finally got to wash our clothes and take showers ad lib. David holds the record of almost two hours in the showers. The guest-harbour is closed but we were lucky enough to get the codes and stuff from some other people who had been here earlier this year and can therefore enjoy the liberty of the good life of a washing-room and nice clean toilets.

Well, I have to get back to work. We have talked to a mechanic, the guy that sold us our new diesel-filters, and hopefully we can easily ease ourselves out of this within a couple of hours. If you by any chance have it in you to help us out in this increasingly costly journey feel free to use the paypal-button below or share our blog with some friends around the world!

Will keep you posted!

Captain Jack

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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 some 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

 

 

Starting south

It’s been busy for a few days. We’ve had to train two new crew members onboard, an American and a Swedish man we happen to find while cruising to Turku, Finland. They were going south toward France and were sitting in the cigar-bar debating whether to get airplane-tickets when we got chatting. After 20 minutes of sharing our stories we decided to travel south together. They left all their belongings, only bringing whatever they were carrying, in Stockholm and came along to Spillersboda where we started our venture south the next morning.

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The fleet resting after the first day of the journey south.

There was of course a lot to organize before we were able to actually see if the engine would actually take us anywhere. And then there is the case of our old ship. There was this man came to see the boat an hour before we left the shipyard in Spillersboda, paid for it – but didn’t actually take it.. meaning we are now towing it with us toward the Swedish capital. Today will probably be our last day doing this. Straining our new engine towing another boat seems a bit over the top, but we have the nicest convoy around. We’re trying to give it away to friends of friends we have met from Stockholm.

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Boat for sale, free or cheap!

We did 13 nautical miles yesterday, going pretty slow for about five hours. We are heading for our first port of call; Nyneshavn where will probably stock up, wait out some wind and for another Norwegian pirate that is going to escort us over some parts with open water.

Since the engine started to smoke a lot last night we decided to dock at some Swedish millionaires private island. We needed a place to fix the problem it turned out to be our best solution. It was an easy fix, we just needed to change the totally worn down impeller, but had to wait till the morning for the engine to cool down. The owner of course came speeding toward us, but proved to be a very nice guy and even let us use his bathroom while we were there.

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New crew David showing off a departure gift from Spillersboda.

Today’s mission is to get rid of FF Harry. We have been debating options, but it looks like we will leave it for whoever is in need of a free boat. Contact us if you want the coordinates!

That’s it for this short update. There is too much to learn onboard and we are rising the sails for the first time in a few hours. Write you soon.

Captain Jack