Chapter 3: Bloodspatters Monkey

Sharks circled our ship. The Goddess had for a moment forgotten what latitudes we were at, and had without thinking thrown a bucket of blood from our last polar bear right out the window. Sharks are known to be attracted to blood, and this must have been something very special to them, because now they were literally boiling water in the water around us. But a good pirate knows how to take advantage of any situations so quartermaster Snorre had immediately ordered all the men on deck to load the weapons. Here came the dinner served into our laps, and there was nothing left from our last bunking in Nova Scotia weeks before. The veterans around me sat in a chorus with a shanty about a lone sailor finally getting a long-awaited shark fin soup.

We had arrived in the infamous Caribbean where the plan was to plunder and take with us as large treasures as possible. Captain Bloodspatter, who most of the time stayed in his cabin, now strutted barefoot on deck in the hottest sun I had ever experienced in my life. The Captain was inspecting the work of the crew. The order was that the ship should be golden clean and ready for battle before the Goddess had finished the crew-dinner. Tonight we were going to work, the last two days we had been lying behind a large merchant ship. They had certainly discovered us a long time ago. But Bloodspatter had the great pleasure of tormenting the sailors on board the merchant ship who in the end didn’t have a chance against our proud ship and 150 dirty pirates.

Captain Bloodspatter steered our ship close to the merchant ship and the men under deck fired a series of canons that immediately put the small defense the merchant ship had out of play. Before they had sighed for themselves, our crew did what they could best and the whole crew was tied with any rope we could get around the mast on deck. A couple of men who had not survived the fight were thrown into the mirror-clear sea to the great joy of the remaining sharks who had been circling around us all day in hopes of more polar bear blood. While the merchants sat stiff with fear, held captive by twenty of our men with sabers and rags, the rest of us worked to empty the ship of goods and gold. Their ship’s crate was full of gold-coins and among the goods we found a whole bunch of exclusive goods we were to take with us and sell for gold in the first port. Our crew howled and cheered over the amazing catch, soon we would be given land leave. This meant that we finally got to go ashore and enjoy life as a free pirate for a few days.

Being some of the first pirates to roam these waters, the defense was low on the islands we visited. When at bay we acted as regular traders or merchants and nobody thought to ask questions about the filthy look of our crew. Being that we spoke a whole different language I suppose the locals thought that was how our people behaved. Or they knew the truth but didn’t dare to ask questions. Either way I truly enjoyed being free and to see the culture in the villages. The crew were given each a few pieces of silver and the men was quick to spend them in the bodegas, shops and markets. I spent my first hard earned silver on some of the local fruit and a great dinner of freshly cooked fish and strong pints of beer like I’d never tasted before. It was exciting to walk around the villages. Their huts was nothing like back home in Norway, built on stilts and with open holes as windows. The villagers were all nice, even nicer when you turned out to be a potential costumer. Our crew quickly grew popular among the locals and at the last night of our stay we were having a great party at the dock. Everyone was invited.

Months flew by, and it didn’t take long or many plunderings at all before the word of pirates in the waters had gone out and merchant ships were no longer sailing our waters. It was time to give the area a brake and move on to our next location. We headed to the South Atlantic ocean and to the land of the rain forests. Our treasure down in the cargo hull was now starting to grow for real. Our plunderings had earned us more coins than I was able to count. The Captain had now shifted focus to land based targets, besides this was the land of pearls and diamonds in plenty. For weeks the crew were set to dive for these special treats. It was a dangerous task, cause the waters were infested by sharks and other monsters the crew didn’t dear speak of.

We continued into the rivers leading to the wild forests of Amazon. Captain Bloodspatter had heard rumors that these forests was ruled by Indians who used gold for everything. We were not to leave these woods before our ship was filled with tons of their treasures. The nature here was simply extraordinary. Never have I ever experienced anything like it. Just thinking about the sounds that surrounded us as we silently rowed our ship against the rivers currents. There was no real wind in the river, our sails were rendered useless and pure muscle power was used to make any progress upstream. It was a long way, for weeks we worked our ways deeper into the forests. It was tiresome and after a while many of our men fell sick with fever. Now pressing on with a short crew it got even harder. At night we had to sit down and keep watch for large animals threatening from the dark. There was snakes long as our ship and small fish that could crawl up your butt if you jumped in without protection. But at day it was also beautiful, all the colors of the plants, birds and wildlife none of us had seen before. When we encountered a school of monkeys I even saw how Captain Bloodspatter had to fight to hold back a smile. One of those monkeys took a liking to the Captain. From that day it should be called Balto, following Captain Bloodspatter day and night.

Our new crew-mate, Balto, would prove to be quite a savior before we should leave the Amazons. One day we had finally arrived at the land of the tribes we had been seeking. We had no indication that these people were friendly and Bloodspatter had us guard the ship night and day. One morning we quickly understood that we had come to the right place. Unfortunately not in a good way. As the crew awoke we found the guards dead on deck. Seven men was shot down to warn us to stay away, all with a single tiny arrow each. There was no doubt that the arrows had been poisoned, cause no small weapon like this could cause harm like this. Although being tough men, none of us had seen poison being used this way before. This could prove that our new enemy was not as innocent as we had hoped and far more dangerous than what we had expected.

By that very afternoon, Captain Bloodspatter had come up with a plan and our crew prepared for battle. We all knew that this was a fight that not all of us would return to enjoy the treasures from – but we are pirates, and this is what we do. We knew we must have been watched so there would be no point of sending in a survey troop. Instead we had decided to attack with full force, all men was expected to be first in line. Hopefully this was the only tactical maneuver our enemy did not expect. I was not at all convinced that I would live to see another day, this was nothing like attacking a ship on the open water, here we did not have the advantage of controlling all the factors in play.

As we were sneaking through the dense jungle the constant humming of noise suddenly came to an abrupt stop as we crawled out on an open field. It was as if the world had stopped, for weeks we had heard the constant noise from all the insects, birds and animals around us. Suddenly there was nothing. Not a sound, not a movement. Minutes went by as we hid in the bushes. Then at the same time hundreds of arrows came shooting out from between the trees, followed by the equal number of half naked short men only dressed in leaf-underwear.

Captain Bloodspatter yelled out to stay hidden. We did not possess weapon to shoot or throw and were only equipped for closeup combat. As our enemy started to come toward us Balto the monkey suddenly appeared behind them. And he wasn’t alone. Hundreds of his monkey-friends was also attending the party. And they all attacked at the same time. They jumped the under-dressed enemy who got so confused and turned around by this surprise-attack that it gave us a chance to leap out from our hiding and attack from behind. Now de-fanged from their poisonous arrows and with only a few spears left to protect themselves it took no more than a few minutes for our men to slaughter a large portion of them in the most horrible pirate ways. It was a bloody fight but we had gotten the upper hand thanks to Balto the monkey and in the end we had a small group of men defeated and surrounded.

Afraid that we were going to exterminate their entire village their leader now willingly took us back to their huts and let us plunder what we could carry of their gold and precious stones. They had a whole pile of them in all kind of colors, and as you can imagine everything in the village had gold adorned to it. Even their cutlery and plates was made of shiny gold. I had never seen so many treasures in one place and by the look of it, neither had Captain Bloodspatter. Now with Balto back on his shoulder he was sitting down in the middle of the pile our men had collected in the middle of the village. It took the entire rest of the day and the next to carry it all back to our ship.

The day after this, after having stocked up on fruit and all the food from the villager’s farmland and a couple of goats, chickens and other strange animals we’d never seen before; we hoisted anchor and started on the week-long journey back down the river. Now being able to use the steady stream of water to propel us the entire crew had some amazing days onboard the Black Rock. Captain Bloodspatter was generous with food and rum as he was taking count of our haul. But despite how big of a treasure we had just filled our ship with, it was room for much more. This is after all the story of how the greatest treasure of the world came to be – and our journey was far from over.

It’s great to be back

It’s been a long time coming and we are finally back where we wanted to be, at our destination and Lake Foxen. It’s definitely still early in the year and I have seen no other boats camps around the lake for the entire week we’ve been here. We have however spent our time well, and can now pride ourselves to be owners of our very own raft measuring 4 by 7 meters and our seedlings have started to sprout. Except for yesterdays rainfall, we’ve had the best spring weather we could wish for and have already gotten our first sunburn down.

Captain Simen and Deckhand Balto enjoying the silence

Our journey from Fredrikstad to Strømstad went smooth. We did have a little wind, but it’s only a 20 mile sail and we had the day to make it happen. We then waited around in Strømstad for two nights before getting lifted up on a truck and driven the hour drive inland to the small village of Ed at the far Southern part of Lake Stora Le of which Foxen makes up the Northern part. It’s a long stretched body of water and we spent an entire day motoring our way up to Tøcksfors. This is the town were we do our shopping and connect with the outside world, and also where we bought the materials needed to build our super-raft.

The harbour of Tøcksfors

The raft is now on the water and about ready to be towed to our new Super Secret Pirate Bay at an undisclosed location. It’s a good thing we know these waters so well. Already before our arrival, we had decided on a couple of locations suitable for a summer of life in the free. A quick afternoon trip while awaiting the painted raft to dry was enough to decide on a certain bay well protected from the worst conditions the weather and civilized humans can throw at us.

Simen has started the job of repainting the hull of our beloved FF Ella. Her white coat is now getting a great fresh shade of black. It was really on time for poor old Ella to get her colors re-freshened. It will however take some time before all of the painting is done, cause at the moment we are operating under a strict budget where somehow food gets the priority. Lucky for us we have a great good stash of rice and dried beans for rainy days like these. If all goes well, we’re back in full pirate business within a few weeks anyways.

FF Ellas last lift out of water

We have also gone to the lengths of purchasing an old used canoe for sneak-attacks on nature when it seem necessary. This and new cook-plates and a grill running on expensive Swedish gas will make it easy to cook anything we want this summer. All in all we have really set ourselves up for a great wild summer in the Swedish forest and I can’t wait for the day when the trees bloom for real.

Until next time, stay dry and don’t drink and paddle.

Captain Jack

Under the Northern Lights

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.

Captain Jack

Prepping for adventure

We are officially prepping for our next expedition. The Captains have yet another 26 days of work, but the tourist-season seem to have slowed down a tad since we entered August. Life on Arctic FjordCamp in Burfjord have us settled with daily routines and long hours to please the continuous stream of people from all sort of places. Although a certain pandemic put a break on the season, we’ve had some great weeks and hundreds of guests. the location of this campsite is really something special. But as the midnight-sun has left this paradise, our time here is also coming to an end. In just a few weeks we will once again set sail to explore the world, and this time we have decided to spend as much time as possible along the Norwegian coast and fjords.

Arctic FjordCamp before the snow left us in May

FF Ella is sailing without a plan, well, a general plan is to head South, but firstly we will set sail for the most Northern point she has ever been. From there we will turn back and sail south. Slowly. For the first part of the expedition we will be joined by long time supporting crew; the Goddess. She will fly in from Lillehammer and join us for a few weeks before returning to her natural habitat. Once we have started there will be plenty of things to get in order. Due to a minor incident this winter where the ship tried to climb onto the shore in a storm, we’ve had the time and resources to fit FF Ella with some much needed equipment, besides she also needed to be ready to accommodate our new boatman Balto who will need his own toilet and bed to call his own.

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Among things to mention:
+ We have a new diesel-heater to keep us warm during the harsh winter-months
+ A new net on deck to make sure we don’t lose any more ropes
+ New VHF
+ NEW fenders, and they are awesome. The ice-cold winter on our way here made sure to break all but one of the old ones we had before
+ 2 new life-jackets and one for the doggo
+ We have painted the entire inside
+ New bedding, pillows and blankets
+ Improved the systems to keep the boat free of moisture
+ New pots and pans for the galley, including a cooking-system to bake bread and such
+ New propeller, although we have managed to lose the parts keeping the propeller in it’s place…
+ A stand to hold the phone or tablet while sailing
+ New ropes(!)
+ A drone to get you some amazing pictures
+ An electric motor for the dingy
Aaand probably a lot more. To put it short, we should be ready!

Captain Simen showing of our new merch

That should do for a short update, my guess is that I won’t have to explain how much we are looking forward to be back on the water. Make sure to check in once in a while to get your dose of adventure with us. We have also started a Facebook Page, and you can find us by searching “FF Ella” Follow us for updates. See you soon!

Captain Jack

Arctic FjordCamp from the air

Expedition: Complete

We have arrived at our latitude, 70 degrees North. We do have another short day tomorrow, but that is basically just crossing the fjord in time for low tide. Since the tide around these northern waters during full moon easily vary about tree meters we have to be there at low tide in order to unload the ship without running the risk of get stuck until the next full moon tide next month. There is no dock at our destination we will have to anchor outside our new home at Arctic Fjordcamp.

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We spent a resting day in Tromsø. It was nice to collect the energy needed for the last haul. The captains got almost 24 hours alone onboard before we had a crew-mate join us for the last couple days of sail. Captain Simen’s little brother, Marius, who also traveled with us on the FF Harry and later visited us in Malta had decided to join for the last days.

From Tromsø we sailed for ten hours and we have now plugged into our last guest harbour for this expedition. The choice fell on Skjervøy, about 20 nautical miles from our goal and final stop for now; Storeng, Burfjord. It will take a while to soak up all experience from this sail. Our trip-counter is currently 1620 nautical since Fredrikstad and about 2850 in total since we left Västerås. That’s about 5300 kilometers sailed, a quarter of the distance between the north and south pole.

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So far I’m impressed by the landscape we are moving into. Tall great mountains, plenty of fjords, and snow that could easily serve an entire winter Olympics for decades to come. I must admit it felt a bit sad to sail away from the blooming spring in the south a few weeks back but sooner or later I’m sure it will follow us here as well.

All that remain is to thank all of you readers for following us through this amazing experience. This blog is officially taking a brake, awaiting new and crazy adventures to come. I’m sure you will find hours of text from earlier blogs. Thanks again, it has been fun.

Until next time, sail safe and enjoy the small things in life.

Signing off,
Captain Jack

Anchoring in Trollfjord

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Captain Jack

Sailing in Lofoten

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Captain Jack

Make the most of it

Aside from all the amazing experiences life on a boat gives you – there are basically two types of days onboard. Of course there are variations of all sorts like crew, location, mood or weather. Being liveaboards on a sailboat is probably still the best thing I’ve ever done. Ever. As we only have a few weeks left of this two and a half year adventure, or to divide it further; since packing our bags and leaving our shitty apartment on Malta, the time has come to start contemplating. In a few weeks we will likely be back on solid ground for who knows how long, and I can’t help but to feel a bit uneasy about it.

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A minor storm, hopefully the last one of the winter, is raging outside. It woke me up at six this morning. Of course, this is something you will get coming when sailing arctic waters in the cold season and we have been prepared for this. It does however slow us down and present us with some extra days at port. Except from being a bit more costly due to our hang to cook interesting meals and maybe even get a beer or two, we are far more tied to the boat because of the shitty weather and the ongoing pandemic.

Along our way, since we acquired our first boat a few years back we’ve had plenty of different people traveling with us. Putting the right people together is essential and not everyone turned out to be right ones for us. We believe in giving people chances, some was fit for a while, others not at all. Some I will always welcome back. To live and travel on a boat you need to be open, true and honest. You need to give your crew-mates the space they need and be respectful to all the differences. You better also have the ability to forgive, laugh and play. The hardest crew we’ve had to work with is those who have not been pulling their weight. Onboard with us we try not to order people around, but want each crew to find their own tasks and in that way find their place. There are always things to be done and unless you have been in situations like this before you better get settled fast.

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I imagine it hasn’t always been easy for our recruits to find their place. Since we already have our routines and tasks in automatic place, the only thing they could do in the beginning was to follow orders. Because – even though we let the democracy have it’s say, that’s not really how it works. On a ship there is a hierarchy where the Captain have the final word – And this boat have two.

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The tasks comes down to a few very important things. There is the planning of the route, stops and destinations. We have navigation, weather, fuel and maintainance-planning. We need to think about safety, food, storage, cleaning, crew-scheduling, budget, health and electricity. Many of the things that on land fall into place pretty naturally, changes everyday onboard a boat.

Still I would think we have been very lucky with the people we have brought onboard. And I believe that most have been having a great time, just like us. Travelers are after all usually up for the action. Friends have become better friends and new friendships have been made. We can’t forget the reason for our choice to sail in the beginning; We wanted to travel. Both Captain’s have great experience on the subject, but we have usually been tied to our backpacks. After years of backpacking I suppose most travelers would be looking for a door to close behind them, not just the zipper of a tent. The urge to travel is still there, but in order to get anything out of it you need to get your rest, to have the time to take a brake.

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Imagine yourself traveling constantly for ten years of your life, but not had a good chance to step back and reflect over your experiences. Ten years of life is a long time to contemplate in one sitting. I would think that such a situation could put any healthy mind into depression. Many a traveler before us have trapped themselves in a loop of traveling for too long, where stepping out of it can brake a person or damage the soul. I’ve met many such people and they are no longer happy, they’ve lost touch of sort. In order to travel for real you also need to pull it together once it’s over. When traveling like we do however, although you still have to think through the experience as a whole when it ends, the defragmentation is done as you go. I truly believe that on long adventures such as this, you will benefit much more by travelling slowly. It’s important to remember that any journey, no matter how long, eventually comes to an end.

Back to our different types of days onboard. The first one being the days we are on the move. Our sailing days. I wake up bright and early and get the coffee going. Now as we are three onboard, the Goddess also get up and we have a quick snack and get going. The days route was planned the night before so it’s easy to just smack on the electronics, start the plotter, start the engine and leave the dock. Captain Simen need to sleep a bit longer in order to function so he’ll take the next shift. Then there is the morning shit-chat over the coffee or me talking to the seagulls when we are two-handed. Depending on wind we try to sail as much as possible but we can’t get around a pretty hard use of the engine as long as we have a goal in the end. As the day go on we are enjoying the mountains, fjords, birds and more coffee.

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When it’s time for lunch, Captain Simen is usually up and we eat in turns. This way everyone can get some time inside where it’s much warmer and in case of rain you can get changed and dry off. Unless there is something special going on, we plan to spend about 6-8 hours on the water. That gives us another 30 nautical miles or so under our belts. Once again we take our sailing suits off and go inside to heat up and maybe have another snack. Then there is time for exploring if the weather is good, showers if the marina is open (which it rarely is due to the pandemic) or, if it has been a hard day – pure relaxation.

Then there is time to fix things on the boat, do some shopping and prepare for dinner. To wind off we can watch a movie or a show, play a game or read a book. We have to plan the route for the next day but sooner or later it’s time for bed.

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The second type of days is the the ones at port or resting days. In these instances it is mostly due to weather. We have a certain limit for how much wind we like to sail in. Many of these days we would still go out if we could sit inside to steer or I guess, if it was summer. We don’t care too much about light rain or snow, but when the wind hits more than 10 meter/second, it’s raining or snowing hard and when the waves surpass 3 meters in height we find it more comfortable to wait. Today is such a day.

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Some days we have some work to do, either online or on the boat. Many times the weather is not so bad in port even though it’s raging outside so we often have the chance to explore or go for walks. Usually there is an internet-connection that let us watch series, movies, play games or just plain out go online exploring. It’s alright to have these days once in a while, but if there is more than one in a row things tend to tense up. If the reason for our stop was purely because we wanted, I guess it would be different, but the case is that this usually happen because there is no reason to be outdoors. It get’s good old boring, very fast.

The variations of our days are as everywhere else endless. But the basics are the same. A good cup of coffee in the morning, some type of action during the day, at least one home-cooked meal, some entertainment and sleep. All I can think I would want different was a better mattress. The one we have is typical boat – foamy, way too thin and not really made for long time use. But it’s way better than sleeping in a tent, it’s the price I have to pay. Especially since I no longer have to carry all my stuff in a backpack every morning.

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Everyone should travel. Everyone should have the experience in life of exploring culture and to see how close but different our cultures actually are to each other. I cannot stress enough how important I believe it is to actually feel this difference. There are people in this world that never leave their village, people that never get to discover anything outside their country. But how are you supposed to make sense of a world you only know from a distance? I’m not sure if I believe that seeing is believing, but to recognize that what you get presented as the true world through a screen in your living room – is only a part of the whole picture. It’s not necessarily wrong or fake news, but a picture that do not satisfy all of your senses, instead it gives your brain a chance to fabricate the rest of the story (like human brains like to do) and this will never give you the full picture of the world you are part of. In order to really understand – you have to get out there. To feel and to understand that you are in symbiosis with it all.

Going ashore in a few weeks will be another adventure. It’s been a long time since I had to consider everyday-things and that will be an adjustment. It is however something I know I can handle. Even though I’m moving to a part of the world where I have never had any roots, that’s nothing new either. I and all of you are very able to adapt remarkably to any moves or changes. My experience make me sure that I have nothing to fear. Changes may feel unsafe or scary, but they don’t have to be. We are humans and our instinct for survival is extremely well developed. Sometimes we just have to be pushed over the edge to realize it.

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It’s not over yet. Let the storms come. It’s time for breakfast. I’ll take a slice of week old bread with egg. Sunny side up. And coffee.

Captain Jack

Self-Quarantined

The Norwegian winter is acting up again. Once again we have been forced to take a brake-day due to extreme rain. The forecast for today is 44 mm rain and a moderate gale from southeast. Even though we could probably press through, we have decided not to for the sake of the Goddess and the ship. This nasty weather is supposed to continue for a few days longer, but we are crossing our fingers that we’ll be able to make a move within a day or two. We are after all not going out to open water for a while. Then there is this pandemic going on, also making things a bit more difficult. We are very much in one of the safest places anyone can be, but it is proving hard to find both showers, bathrooms and specific stores. Lucky for us, we are a great crew together and enjoy good food, homey evenings and time to read. On Captain’s order we are self-quarantined and are avoiding contact with humans. 

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After leaving the magical island we had a long nice sail to Brønnøysund. On the way there we sailed pass “Torghatten” a mountain and beloved tourist-treasure known for it’s specific shape. We passed on the east side and from here it is hard to get a good picture, but I have found you a stock-photo for show.

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The city of Brønnøysund is exactly in the middle of the kingdom. 840 kilometer from each cape. We had a chance to visit the mall by the dock and get some supplies. With bags full of food, beer and a brand new board-game we settled in for a nice Saturday evening onboard. Next day we slept in, and this combined with not the best of weathers made us decide to stay an extra day. Taking extra days in towns and cities these corona-times totally sucks since there is absolutely nothing to do except taking strolls and walking big circles around other people.

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On our last passage between Brønnøysund and Sandnessjøen, where we are currently docked, we had a few minor setbacks. A sudden gust had our mainsail kiss the waves to the panicked screams from the Goddess steering the vessel. Although nothing was broken, except maybe a bit of the Goddess’s confidence, we suffered the loss of our newly acquired red ten meter mooring rope. With both sails hoisted, no engine started, and the weather acting up we risked far more danger than a rope is worth and decided the rope had to be an offer to the sea.

No more than half an hour later another gust triggered another scream from the Goddess, and another kiss of the waves – but sadly we were not that lucky. By this time had however lowered our main and was only sailing the foresail, but in return the foresail ripped apart from the headstay and a lose foresail in hard gust can potentially break your mast. It didn’t go that far, but the Windex on top of the mast snapped right off as the mast was brutally taking some major twitches before Captain Simen could get his safety-clip on, attach it to the fairlead and climb toward the bow to pull down the sail. In this crazy mayhem onboard we somehow also managed to break one of the windows in our sprayhood, but this was a quick but not so beautiful fix done as soon as we arrived in Sandnessjøen harbour.

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We also retreaded the foresail and made our way to yet another mall where the Goddess got to spend some money for food and necessaries. Tired from a long and partly stressful sail we took an early evening after a very enjoyable burger and independent studies.

Yesterday we passed the 66 degree North mark – only 4 to go. A couple of more days sailing and we’ll be in Bodø. Whenever these rainy days have passed we are looking to see some really nice days of the sunny Lofoten.

Captain Jack

Sailing the Norwegian fjords

Having spent a couple of days in rainy Bergen we were ready to keep sailing. We still have a pretty good distance to cover and city-life was never been good for any of us. As Captain Simen slept in I hoisted the sails and broke the ship record for speed. Only using the foresail we did 8,4 knots and it felt amazing. Although we are somewhat heavy with all our stuff onboard, good old Ella moves smooth through the water even when there is some crashing waves around. I wonder if our beloved ship and home have been looking forward to this next part of the journey to 70 degrees north. 

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It’s superhard to take good pictures of the mountains, the size is crazy. In the far right corner you can see a small white speck – it’s a house.

Sailing in the fjords is something drastically different from the open water. Here the waves are kept to a minimum by the surrounding mountains and the finds get pushed pushed between them. Even the small breezes we have encountered this far are giving us good speed every day. This said, we have also been burning some diesel to keep up with our goal of keeping to at least 4 knots an hour. This again has led to us now averaging about 5 knots and this is the exact spot where Ella is breaking through and we get the great feeling of sailing for real.

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Time fly by. It has been a few days since I got to post due to a heavy lack of internet. This also makes navigating a bit tricky since it takes forever to load the maps we need to locate the reefs and shallows. We have crossed Sognefjorden, the longest fjord in the world, before this we stayed over in Fonnes, right by Kaland and then the next day in Askvoll. These are huge distances to cover using our standard. Today we crossed Nordfjord and are staying in Måløy where we are preparing the ship for one of the passages we have been most worried about. Tomorrow we will sail passed Stadt. This are is famous for it’s bad and extreme conditions. The waves here are deemed dangerous and any sailor should sail with care.

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Enjoying nice, warm and sunny days. 

For once though, it seems that the weather-gods are on our side. The last few days including the forecast for tomorrow has been amazing. This is partly what has allowed us to travel these great distances. Before breakfast tomorrow we will reach 62 degrees north, leaving us only 8 degrees to sail. Also it’s only about an hour till we are back on the open Norwegian Sea. Everything on deck is tied down and extra secured. The forecast is only about 2 meter waves and a nice slow wind of 4-6 meters a second, but you never know this time of the year.

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I think we’ll have to take a longer break soon, cause last I heard it has snowed something like two meter at our final destination. Also it’s supposedly cold and still a bit dark. And I’m not really sure if I’m ready to leave summer down here yet. But first things first, we are likely to hit Ålesund this weekend and then Trondheim early next week. And after this the amazing Lofoten is awaiting us. Every day now is a great adventure, let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Captain Jack