It’s now exactly a year since we decided to sail north in favor of following our actual plan to become part of the Kingdom of Sweden. I suppose it’s all cooking down to grabbing the opportunities and for our sake we acted on an impulse, hence doing this sail that most sailors would swear belong to the summer. Somewhere inside of us I guess there was a dream to sail the entirety of the Norwegian coast and as we are now a whole year in, and only a few weeks out from completing the return. There is still quite a stretch left, and according to the forecast we will have to take our time for the journey around the southern part of our country. But as we are awaiting our third crew to return from her job tomorrow we have had time to reflect on our adventure.
The hardest part of sailing during the winter is of course the icy cold and the unpredictable weather. I have a feeling that this notion have been reflected in the blog, but it does for sure demand a great deal of extra planning and care for every day of sailing. It has never really been a problem, but in many cases it has torn on our patience, whenever we’ve had to wait for storms to pass or winds to pick up. Winter also calls for shorter days, both due the lack of daylight and to the fact that it’s hard for the body in general to work through long, cold and sometimes wet days onboard.
One day at the time, and by keeping up a good spirit has done the trick. Despite sometimes waiting weeks for a good warm shower and having to carry fresh water on the back since all the guest harbors close down their faucets from mid-October we have stayed warm and cozy inside FF Ella, who on her part have proved to be a stable and reliable ship. The only things we really miss onboard is to have our own shower, a cockpit-tent and of course more space, of which you can never get enough.
But then there is the people, the Norwegians. They have been great the entire way. We have met a whole bunch of them – and maybe it helps to be a Norwegian in Norway but they have all been extremely welcoming and easy to deal with. As everywhere it is somewhat harder to meet the people of big cities, they tend to be a bit colder until you get under their skin, but once they warm up to you, they explode into the roots we all have.
Then the nature; Norway and the Norwegian coast is famous all over the world. And although we have not tapped into the deepest of the fjords, but the rough and almighty coastline has shown us it’s best.
All the experiences counted I am so happy we did this journey. I suppose I’ve learned a thing or two about myself, and also a great deal about the country that have given me my life and culture. Having been lucky enough to have made some travels around the world I can vouch that although cold and seemingly self-centered, Norway offer something very special. It’s a deep culture unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. Also, in a way, one of the richest.
By the end of this journey, by the time we return to Fredrikstad we will have completed somewhere in the neighborhood of 2800 nautical miles along the coast of Norway. That equals to about 5200 kilometres. It didn’t really break the bank either, but it has of course not been a totally free ride. Diesel and Harbor fees, and of course the food have been the posts we’ve had to balance. A rough estimate (without really having kept the tabs) is a cost of about 25.000 Kroner/2500 Euro, which is pretty good. Amusement and other perks are not included of course but thinking that we have been sailing through the entirety of a world pandemic where the country have been partly closed down this is not bad at all.
As for now, the days are getting brighter, and just since we left Åndalsnes a few weeks ago we have two hours more daylight. These days there is a huge cold-front covering all of Norway, so ice and snow is part of the day, but it is getting warmer, also due to the fact that we have moved hundreds of kilometres south.
It’s far from over. We are about to continue on the original plan of taking FF Ella to the inland waters of Sweden where all of this started, a good three years back.
I just got word that the Goddess missed her flight from Oslo, but have rebooked for a later arrival. The forecast have promised storms this week and we are unlikely to make huge progress. I am however hoisting the sails tomorrow morning and are setting course for Egersund.