It’s been a while. Since arriving in Tromsø and leaving the Goddess behind the remaining crew have been in need of getting used to be back on the water and enjoy the way of the seas. It has been quite a journey and as these words are being hammered down we have already sailed south of Lofoten and is setting course for Bodø. Let me take you back a couple of weeks.
We spent a few extra days in the great city of Tromsø. An amazing stranger heard our cries for help and offered us a place to stay while the first storm on this side of summer raged across the country. Before we left we made sure to get ourselves a half day at the city’s new water world. Having had the best five showers of our lives we were ready to set sail again.
As the nomad-sailors we’ve become we had invited ourselves to dinner with our new friend Morten a few miles down the coast. Like many places in the North, finding safe anchorage is not always as easy as it sounds. But after introducing Morten to one of his neighbors that conveniently had a strong mooring we could safely take the small boat ashore and settle in for a great evening with great food, company, and a large collection of out of date beer. We also had a good chance to finally do some laundry. The party was so good we stayed with Morten for a whole extra day. The next day was a good relaxing day where we played instrument, painted pictures, built Lego and played the playstation. Ulf, Morten’s friend came by in the evening to talk about herbs and interview us for the radio-station he works at. New friends made, we once again hoisted our sails.
In our hunt for new places to take a shower we made the long trip to Finnsnes, with a quick stop in Gibostad to let Balto get his wishes fulfilled by hunting some birds and pee. Finnsnes, a town of which we visited on our journey North is a good place to spend a day or two. There is really not much going on, but they do have diesel, showers and NAV, a place good to visit if you need cash for the food and diesel to continue on. After a quick meeting we had once again restocked and bunkered for our journey forward.
We made the long journey to Harstad, a City we skipped on our way North to save time. Now we arrived right in the middle of a boat-party in the guest harbor. We were late for the sale of alcohol, but since my father studied in this city a few years back he pulled some contacts and we had him go to the store for us to secure a few beers to celebrate the weekend. It was a beautiful chaos of a weekend and we are happy to report a great stay in Harstad, so good that we also here stayed an extra day. To complete the stay we treated ourselves to a huge pizza at Milano restaurant and got up early next morning to leave before the harbor-master caught up with our missing port-fees.
We have not been blessed with good sail winds, so far, and on the next leg we also had some major currents against us. For an entire day we engined toward Tjeldsund, making only a few knots with max engine power. A waste of diesel of course but I had been misinformed regarding the direction of the tidal current, and well, it is what it is. We eventually made it to the place we had picked as our next port of call. Too late we realized to have entered a military area, I was in the middle of reefing the Jolly Roger when a couple of uniform came storm in toward us, explaining that we had passed way to close to one of their submarines and were to leave the area at once. Even we, don’t argue with the military, and even though it was already pitch dark outside we had to explain to the dog that his planned land-leave was pulled and it would take another couple of hours before he could get his evening walk.
Making dinner as we went, we had to cross a fjord in order to find a suiting place to stay. On the way there we finally had some good winds, sailing upwards of six knots, harboring for the night in Skarstad. Here however there is not much to see, but it was a nice quiet place with almost no cars on the road and only a couple of visible houses. To let Balto have some more shore-time we played the new norm and stayed an extra night.
Again, we are starting to look for showers, and a place to get coffee and therefore sat course for Korsnes. A small community, once the home of Knut Hamsun, with a nice little artistic village and a store. We were here for a couple of days, but soon enough it was time to go on, since Even the best places don’t always have showers for sailors like us.
That’s about the update I have for you this time. We are once again sailing and as the darkness once again is upon us we have sailed the entire day, and are now passing Steigen. We have found a harbor on the map, and it says there should be a shower there. Only time can tell.
It’s been a few weeks since the Goddess left FF Ella for this part of the journey. These are her words to be shared with our followers. You’ll have to excuse the translation of the text as it is mostly done by Google. We of course know that we will see her soon enough, and the crew would like to thank her for her joining the start of this new adventure south.
The downturn that the journey is over has meant that I have spent an unbelievably long time formulating something this time. I have in many ways gone from one adventure to another. Because on my journey back to the future, I am now in the process of completing 10 weeks of student internship, which I need to get my further education approved. So it’s really forward-looking. It is my springboard into the future and away from Lillehammer.
I have been very aware that I will not be living in Lillehammer, but then there are situations that arise then, which one actually uses as excuses, then one becomes anyway. Be it children, work etc … For my part there are children … But they are big and independent, and not dependent on me in the same way. I have no contact with Yngstemann (the youngest) at the moment….. Therefore, I find the assessments even more difficult. But I’m afraid that it’s perceived as a total rejection if I move to another part of the country, that I make a bigger gap in the relationship than it is… It hurts, I feel sad and sad to feel rejected in this way. At the same time as I know that it is his detachment, his experiences to do, his way and go, with or without me. It helps little, and only comforts a little, because I am still his mother. Therefore, I use what is now difficult between him and me as an excuse not to move away from Lillehammer. Although I feel that there is not a single cell in my body that will be here.
The new is always a bit scary, that I have the opportunity is also something new..
With the last trip, I got the even stronger and stronger confirmed fall. So now there is no way back for me actually, I MUST go north, I MUST get to the sea! I MUST to the light in the dark, I MUST to the northern lights! Easily..
My dear wonderful brothers, you are really bringing new dimensions into my life! To have this honor of being their big sister touches me deep in my heart. You will ALWAYS have your place in my heart! Balto has his own aunt’s heart, no more to say about it.
This anniversary journey back to the future, has been magical simply! It was great to travel to land north, magically to be on water with you again, and now in the air with, by me taking a plane home. To you other travelers who follow Harryfloats.com, I can really recommend this. Start a new trend, a “travel slow trend”. Then you get much more experiences on your travels.
Back to my anniversary tour, 25 years since I moved from Alta and 25 years since I moved to Lillehammer. It was absolutely fantastic to be back in Alta, I have longed for it … Oh now it happened.
It is not possible to pick out one highlight from this trip! Because NONE of them can be measured against each other! They are all unique in their own right, but it was unbelievably funny that I managed to surprise you, by arriving one day earlier than first said. I really should have had their faces and reactions on film. But they are well preserved in the heart.
To be able to join the drydock in Kåfjord, and help maintain FF Ella, I think gives my trip a special twist. Because it is easy to forget that maintenance is important, if you want many more experiences.
Bekkarfjord with its dazzling green mountains and a fantastic large mountain birch, is an experience worth seeking out for anyone who likes nature a little or very much.
Hammerfest with the urban, lots of great people we came in contact with, and in addition meet someone I know from life in the south, drive the light boat across the strait to get me a shower at a hotel, reindeer as a local lawnmower in a garden.. Absolutely wonderful!
On to Vinna, where I was on a summit trip in a life jacket, because that summit trip was only made because I was so in contact with my own flow. MAGICAL! Wonderful experiences with sky in fire and flame literally. Hasvik with skiing on NAV, turquoise sea and a fantastic sunset. Øksfjord where I really became one of the guys, host as close as I can get without surgery.
Personal hygiene and showering in the Barents Sea on the way across the Lopphavet. Sail into the sunset, end up in a harbor the gods know where, to get the most amazing northern lights fireworks no one can dream of after 12 hours at sea.
Then my thoughts suddenly began to swirl around as I began to approach Tromsø. Because there I had an eager soul who wanted to visit. I already had the apps for buses from my trip north. So it was as far as easy to follow. But finding out where the bus stops were in relation to marinas in unknown places, it was not as easy …
Then brother Jack comes out in the cockpit, where I sit at the helm in my wonderful “Tubbie Goddess suit”, “Maybe we should just sail to Tromsø tonight?” I felt it cheering inside me and the suit tingled. We set course and Tromsø became my last port for this time.
Leading FF Ella under the Tromsø Bridge, with strong currents between the buoys and a strong current that pulls southwards, is probably the boat technical highlight of this trip for me. Coordinating that the mast must hit as much as possible in the middle of the middle light of wood in the lower edge under the bridge, as well as following boat one in the currents gave me a level of tension I have rarely felt before. To then also play Kim Larsen’s song “This is my life” on speaker in the cockpit, at the same time as his eager soul sent messages and wanted to follow when we arrived at the port, it was just completely WILD.
I hit with the mast just below the middle light
I managed to feel the boat through first the current between the buoys.
I also felt Ella in the southbound current right after the bridge, at the same time as I had a relatively good overview of depth, because the entrance to Tromsø marina is relatively shallow.
The man with his eager soul came and brought me home to visit him.
I became really ill when I came ashore after 10 hours of sailing which ended in the evening darkness. Dizzy, rocking all the time and the light in the shops was as if you put 1000-meter headlights for a car 5 hm from my eyes … Really disgusting and strange. I felt weird, this is completely normal .. The lights in the shops are normal, the ground, the floor and the ground on land do not rock … It was me who was weird in that context. But I’m generally well used to it, and no one but his eager soul knew who I am, in that part of the country, so that was very fine.
I had some wonderful days visiting, where I literally came back and in contact with Bakkejorda again. Cuddle me! The return to the future was completed on September 18, birthday weekend for my oldest son and change content in the bag to start my internship period of 10 weeks Monday, September 21st.
This is my ticket away from Lillehammer in the form of approved further education after finishing my internship, which allows me to apply for many different jobs and apply north 🤩
My life’s back to the future is now a reality; CHECK ✔
Never give up your dreams, they will be real. I know, I’m living mine 💜
Until we read again; Ship o’hoy from the Tubbie Goddess
We have been storm-locked in Tromsø for over a week. It has been a great experience and even though the snow has fallen on the peaks surrounding us we are far from tired of this city, it is still time for the crew of FF Ella to head in the southern direction. On our northbound journey we didn’t have near as a great experience of Tromsø. Back then it was snow everywhere, the harbor here is crazy expensive and everything was closed due to the corona situation.
Sailing here, was close to impossible due to the growing finds featured by the leftover from the storm Sally far far away from here. Therefore we engined our way through the fjords enclosing Tromsø city. We had put an add online to beg any good soul to provide a safe harbor for us to ride out the coming storm and within hours we had a great offer from a good guy. He had a spot in the down-down bay that was sitting unused for the coming weeks. We realize that these kind of harbor-lets don’t have the most positive recognition among harbor-masters but he obviously must have accepted cause we are still here a week and a half later.
The winds have calmed down and today is the last supposed day of rain for as long as the forecast can tell, meaning we will have some great sailing weather for the coming week. But firstly it is time to reflect on our visit in town.
Arriving, the Goddess left us straight away. She had arranged a few days on solid ground before flying south to start her new job inland. We were however offered a ride to the bar where her friend works and was offered a couple of beers to celebrate some pretty great weeks at sea. On our way back we got to experience walking in Tromsø by night and although not the biggest city on earth it do offer most of the perks of larger nests. A great variety of shops and bars, hotels, university, walking streets parks and restaurants.
The people we have met has proved to be very friendly and helpful. A week ago we met the Captain, Captain Per, of a catamaran and was offered a daylong hire to crew on a tour with five fishing-tourists. It, of course, sucked for recruit Balto to stay back in the boat all day, but he managed well as we navigated an 8 meter wide catamaran safely for the first time in our lives. It was a our second great experience of our stay.
We have of course, walked the streets a whole bunch. It is a nice place to just walk around, despite also offering some elevation whenever your turn your no out of the city center. We went back to that bar we visited the first night one evening and what do you know, another round of beers headed our way. To top it off we met the sister (and father) of previous recruit Morten back on FF Harry a couple of years ago and Gin&Tonic was a fact. Morten’s sister invited us to share two entire bottles of Sake back in the boat and what-do-you know – we had to spend the entire next day ridding ourselves of a pretty numbing hungover.
Skipping ahead a couple of days the storm really hit Tromsø for real. We were still a few nautical miles north of where the worst of the storm hit, but we had to deal with quite a few strong winds and some heavy rain. FF Ella handled it as a queen and we had no problems, except starting to run out of movies to watch. Another problem was starting to rise; the crew was for real starting to need a deep cleaning and we settled around the problem solving table once again.
The solution proved to be found on the internet. We discovered that aside from a whole bunch of gyms and other sportly facilities, Tromsø have recently built their very own miniature water-world. Despite its compact size the place offered everything from saunas and steam-baths to hot tubs, slides, an outdoor pool and a full Olympic sized pool. Once again we had to leave recruit Balto behind to watch the ship while we went on adventure, but we have never returned cleaner to the boat, ever. I believe the last time I was swimming anywhere was back on Malta over a year ago. A bit strange maybe for someone living their life onboard a boat. This is however Arctic waters and I think I can speak for both Captains when saying that we prefer warmer waters.
As mentioned, the snow has started to cover the mountains around us, meaning we are sort of running out of time if our goal is to escape the worst of winter. But is it? We’ll see. For now we are recharging all batteries and getting FF Ella shipshape for departure. All I know is that there is no other storms in the horizon, but they tend to come quickly. Let’s just find out where we end up next.
We topped our tanks of diesel and had a great evening with visiting recruit Marirus and his Juliet in Øksfjord. Next morning while Captain Simen was still sound asleep we started on our voyage toward Tromsø where the Goddess is supposed to fly out from sometime this week. The day was among the best we’ve ever had onboard. The sun required t-shirts, sunglasses and happy faces. Although there was no wind and we had to engine our way, passing the island of Loppa and the infamous Lopphavet, which supposedly offer some hard to handle weather at times. We know nothing of this which the Goddess can swear to as she took a bath in the dinghy, towed behind the mother ship.
By the time sunset was on the schedule, we had anchored in a small bay with an open view to the Barents Sea outside. Dinner was made and also the decision to continue due to an uncertain weather-report of strong winds both to our North and South. We don’t kid around when it comes to weather, besides the crossing we had to do wouldn’t be much pleasant in rain. Therefore, once we had re-attached the anchor, we set course into the night. The moon is skinny these days, and offered an amazing view of a starlit sky above us as we made our way through plankton-sparkling water. Then, out of the darkness around us, the most amazing Northern lights set fire to the sky in green, purple and all in between. It continued into the night as we found a small harbor, and we could rest after a 13 hour voyage, leaning into the Troms part of Troms and Finnmark county.
We made the choice to sail directly to Tromsø. The forecast for the coming week is building up toward some serious indoor-time. According to the weather gods we are welcoming a new great flood this week, and needless to say this do not comply with great enjoyment at sea. As we sailed toward town, or engined, I should say, as we had headwinds and currents against us the entire day – we got a message from a great guy named Rikard, offering us a place to put our ship since his boat would be gone for the coming weeks. We gladly accepted since we, to be honest, is on the super-budget part of this journey.
This is our second visit to Tromsø, and the city is proving to be much better without snow and everything closed down due to pandemics. When we arrived, we were met by Morten, the doorman that has offered to take the Goddess to the airport, also offered the two Captains a couple of brews at the bar he makes his living. We like beer and let Balto stay behind to contemplate by himself for an hour or two.
We have already had time to do a bit of sightseeing and are rapidly approaching the coming days of rest onboard. There is also a few plans to clean up the ship, ourselves and get some new fixes in order before we continue. But I am also looking forward to reset and prepare for the continuation of the expedition next week.
I have to recommend a visit to Hammerfest. Not because it has the most beautiful backdrop, the town in itself is a bit dull – but the people living here is an adventure in itself. There have been nothing but smiles and goodhearted people from the minute we arrived. Several times a day we’ve had visitors coming over to the boat to have a chat. We left Bekkarfjord in the afternoon and had a great five hour sail toward this port of call, marking our most Northern point of this adventure.
One great guy in particular, a great man named Ken, took very good care of us. The Goddess, of course, met a friend from southern Norway while drinking her morning coffee the first morning and ended up going on a solo adventure with the dingy to shower in a hotel room across the bay. We on the other hand still needed to clean up and Ken who had gotten our business-card messages me on Snapchat, inviting us over to do laundry, take a shower and eat breaky.
One of FF Ella’s well-doers had sponsored a bunch of wine the evening before, so we accepted Ken’s offer to relax in his crib for a while. The Goddess took on the responsibility to launder while we soaked. Our last evening we headed out to play Bingo before eating a reindeer-pizza at one of the towns great pizza places.
The main reason for us coming to Hammerfest was to get Balto to the vet. He is overdue for his second vaccination and is also in need of a passport. This and buying vegetables is today’s mission before we leave town. Upon hoisting the sails we have no idea of when we will see civilization again. There is no plan for our next port of call. We will however set course for Sørøya, the largest island in the county and the fourth in Norway.
A bit of a short update this morning, but there is plenty to do before we set sail, we need to get ahead of the wind as there appear to be a small low pressure heading this way.
Exploring the great green mountains of Bekkarfjord, Seiland have given this expedition to nowhere an exploding start. With no cellphone or internet coverage, green as far as you can see and a perfectly round moon raging in the sky above us we had the most amazing visit. This Captain even climbed a steep mountain requiring me to make use of all four limbs in my hunt for gold and diamonds.
Balto was of course ecstatic to have this great huge playground to himself and was not to stop up the steep hills. The Captain’s had their work cut out for them following this wild animal. The first evening was spent with freshly caught fish and vegetables prepared by the Goddess on the fire while we stargazed and enjoyed the full moon in the sky. Even the Northern Lights paid us a visit as we were warming up for a day in search of gold and diamonds.
Bekkarfjord is an entrance to Seiland National Park established in 2006. It contains a rich variety of minerals that makes this island an truly green and rich of species-island. It is capped by a glacier and I couldn’t visit this place without climbing at least one of it’s many peaks. So after breaky the second day I packed my bag and took on the supersteep climp up the hills behind the boat. The tall grass made the hike a hard one, but after and hour or two I could enjoy the wast landscape on top.
There was blueberries as far as I could see and even some cotton-fields I wandered around for quite a long time, hiding from the worst of the wind between the different hills surrounding me. I had a snack and enjoyed the little bit of time to myself while the others enjoyed a slow awakening down by the water.
The decent was just as steep, but equally beautiful. I would like to recommend anyone that have the chance to visit this place. It is truly an experience.
Down at FF Ella, life went on as usual. We caught a fish and had ourselves a fairly quiet and calm afternoon in the windy sun. The fjord is somewhat famous for it’s wind. But we didn’t find it particularly problematic, since the winds were even warm enough for this captain to try out our new USB-shower. Saving fresh water onboard I concluded this mission with a salty scrub from the ocean.
The next, and what proved to be our last day, in Bekkarfjord was great. We had decided to spend the day prospecting for gold and possibly diamonds. But although this place is packed with minerals there was no signs of either. We started by checking four small waterfalls in the bay next to the boat, but the water-flow here was not enough to get a good trial of our river equipment. Instead we relocated to the other side of the fjord, where the large rivers ruled.
To get there we had to make use of our dingy and it’s cute but amazing electric motor and concluded that this part was an adventure in itself. Herders had passed by all morning but we felt safe to set up a prospecting camp up river. Also here, we ran into no luck. The black volcanic sand made it hard to work with the dirt we dug up. We had to conclude that if there was any gold on these locations it was just specks and not worth the man-hours we put into it.
To leave on a high note we decided to move on. We packed our stuff and set off into the sunset. Catching the evening breeze in direction North.
While we are prepping the boat for sustainable life throughout the winter, by drying meat and fruit, cleaning and repairing – we are also awaiting the arrival of the Goddess, our deckhand for the next few weeks. We have asked her to treat this part of her voyage as part of this excursion and to document her travels for the blog in the name of holistic research. I took the liberty of translating the text from Norwegian but with this I leave the keyboard to Goddess for the remaining of this post.
First Travel Letter
My journey from Lillehammer to Alta takes place on land. First stage Lillehammer-Trondheim, completed by train on Wednesday 26.08.2020.
It is very special, good and a little mixed with joy. I have never in my 45-year-old life made such a journey. It feels a bit like “the child’s first journey”, as the saying goes. Never traveled so far over several days neither domestically nor abroad. I have dreamed of doing that. Heard about long flights to Asia, America and Australia. Told about inter-rail with long train journeys, but always only been a distant dream for me.
NOW IT’S HAPPENING! Now it’s finally my turn to complete my journey in my own way and fulfill a dream. For many years I have dreamed of having a driver and car with me, taking the Hurtigruten one way and driving the other way. That Hurtigruten has been replaced with FF Ella, only gives the dream the last touch I myself had NEVER dared to dream of.
To have the opportunity to join from Trondheim to Finnsnes in March-April together with “my brothers from another mothers”, was something special. Even though they both invited me, and we had and have had the bond we have. I did not really think so, and did not dare to trust that I actually mean so much to them as it is now clear that I do. Something I am unbelievably happy about, and will appreciate until the day I no longer leave my mark on the earth’s surface.
This is also an anniversary trip for me, in June it was 25 years since I moved to Alta and in September it is 25 years since I moved to Lillehammer. Have not been back to Alta at any point during the passed 25 years, I have longed and dreamed, to experience what now finally becomes a reality. In ’95 I flew north, making this my first flight ever. I flew to Alta.
The first flight of my life was then; A flight from Værnes (Trondheim), stopover in Bodø, on to Tromsø, change planes in Tromsø and so on to Alta. Had of course heard a lot about how damn easy it was to take off … Oh I was going to take off 3 times and change planes. There was no problem.
I knew no one had heard of anyone ever, who had never been to Alta before moving there. Oh, the feeling I had when I stood at the luggage belt at Alta Airport on day in September 1994. I was 19 years old, and the feelings they should have really been felt by everyone. Did not know which direction I was going out of the airport, so small I have never felt either before or since then. Orienting oneself alone in a completely foreign part of the world should really be felt by everyone.
So today the journey started back, from the inland’s deep and narrow valleys with mountain ranges, as the only county in Norway without connection to the sea and coast, to my childhood county via Dovrefjell with majestic Snøhetta, Trøndelag. Accommodation with a fantastic friend and her family, in historic Trondheim, in one of the city’s oldest and best-preserved apartment buildings in Holstveita on Hosptitalsløkka. Here you can find the only intersection with Trondheims / Nidaros’ oldest cobblestones laid in this way, the oldest electric street lights. In other words; Lots and lots of old history.
It is very special to travel in this way, you get to see the cultural landscape and nature in Norway in a close way, while you actually get there quickly. In Gudbrandsdalen, the patching of houses is the old building tradition, but we do not see much of that further north. In Trøndelag, we have a very special type type called “Trønderlånn”, this is often a long narrow house, which was most often built as a farmhouse on medium-sized and large farms. See pictures of different Trønder loans I saw on my trip.
Oppdal is known for producing slate for the whole world, and has its own hotel built in Oppdalsskifer.
I have been holding a turtle for the first time in my life, despite the fact that I have always been very fascinated by the creatures of these times, who have been similar in evolution after evolution. The turtle is physically living proof that one can endure age after age, as long as one is true to oneself and one’s flock. So it means a little extra to enjoy a turtle on my own time travel.
The next stage will be the longest of the trip from 07.15 to kl. 22.55, but then I will not continue until 13.10 on Friday 28, so I look forward to it.
The Tubbie Goddess fulfills dreams in her own unusual, weird, quirky way; But it’s my way and my life, I love it!
You’re Blessed, The Tubbie Goddess
Second Travel Letter
Stage 2; Trondheim – Fauske by train. Starting at. 07.48-16.52 and bussing on to Narvik from kl. 18.09 to 23.30.
This is a stage I would describe as spectacular! Starting with a coastal landscape, then the agricultural landscape is followed by the coastal landscape on Helgeland, then the whole thing is topped with raw and harsh Saltfjellet before it again turns into a coastal landscape.
These physical changes in the landscape, gave me physical images of life, now on the time travel of my life. My life has at times been experienced raw and harsh as Saltfjellet, beautiful and lush as the agricultural landscape emotionally charged and chaotic as the coastal landscape.
Getting this from nature’s changing landscape does something to me. There is no doubt that this is a time travel in one’s own life. Feels the title “Back to the Future” is very descriptive. I physically travel back to a place that have meant a lot and given me a lot during the time I lived there. Then to be part of something new in the present that gives me new energy and memories to build the future on.
It’s big, it’s amazing, it’s great, simply.
Well ahead in Fauske, there was dinner at Jernbanekaffeen, the dinner of all time bought from the menu: old salt saithe with carrot stew and bacon. A dish I grew up with, and have lots of childhood memories with. Absolutely fantastic to buy from the menu for the first time in my life. I grew up with my grandfather fishing for saithe and making salted saithe from it myself. Grandpa fished and made lutefisk himself for Christmas as well.
Here my original plan has changed, because I wanted to visit mother-Alta Iris, in Målselv on this trip as well. But there are no buses from Bardu/Målselv to Alta on Saturdays, otherwise the arrival of Alta would be on Sunday evening at 22.15. Too late, and too little time for me to see Alta again. That’s why I continued to Narvik by bus when I was so well underway.
Went off the train at 16.52 and the bus continued at. 18.09 toward Narvik. On this trip we took the ferry between Skarberget and Lødingen. I got on this trip’s first boatride. I could not then just sit in the bus, neida, I was the only passenger on the ferry who was on deck during the entire crossing. Should have arrived in Narvik at 22.55, but 30 min delay made the arrival time to 23.30, 17.5 hour after departure from Trondheim.
Very happy I had rented an AirBnB room, and hailed a taxi from the bus-terminal to the address. A great teen boys’ room with fantastic bed, access to shower, toilet and kitchen. Happy and delighted that the bus from Narvik to Alta would not run until 13.10. Plenty of time to sleep long and relax.
Went out take a walk to get lea on the body to get some fresh air. As soon as she fell asleep, her head hit the pillow, and she slept like a rock all night.
The next travel letter will be the stage Narvik-Alta and the reunion and surprise when Captain Jack and Captain Simen discover that I arrive at FF Ella one day before the appointment. Fortunately, Jack has told they would just be in the boat and relax. Hehe…
To be continuous!
You’re Blessed, The Tubbie Goddess.
Third Travel Letter
Narvik – Alta
In the old days, Narvik was called Victoriahavn, after Crown Princess Victoria who visited the place in 1887. Personally, I think Victoriahavn is nicer than Narvik, because I think it testifies to Narvik’s long history.
Woke up at 11 in Narvik, after a fantastic night, rested and ready for another race, and the last stage of this part of the journey. A good cup of coffee and a mårras-smoke on the stairs of the AirBnB apartment.
Captain Simen and Captain Jack still knew NOTHING about me arriving. Thought to myself; “Do I manage to keep it a secret until I arrive? The host must be careful and notice details in what I share on Facebook!” This was challenging, because of course I had to keep the others informed… A good shower and a calm start to the day was absolutely fantastic, after 2 relatively intense travel days with an early start.
It was piss rain in Narvik this day, I, the Goddess who wanted to wander around a bit to look around, had never been there before. But it was quickly replaced with breakfast at Steinovnsbaker’n at the Amfi center, which is the nearest neighbor to the bus terminal. A wise and good choice.
Here I found another culinary edible thing with a nostalgic twist, namely what we in Trøndelag call ‘Laupe’. In Narvik it is called for; Aniseed bun, something I must admit is more descriptive than the Trøndelag name. Aniseed bun with brown cheese is the best pastry I can get, preferably with another cup of coffee. So two aniseed buns with brown cheese and the thermos filled with coffee, became the way I should have on the last leg of this wonderfully spectacular journey of mine.
Over the magical Gratangfjellet I was once again captured by magnificent nature. A fantastic party that really lures me back for mountain hiking on a later occasion. But it may be stored in memory, then we will see what the future brings me.
The bus was a so-called double-decker, so I strategically placed myself on the second floor. Very wise choice for several reasons. Firstly I had a first class view and secondly I had fantastic company. My fellow passenger was a very nice lady from Germany who was living with family in Norway. She became very interested in what I was going to do and my choice of travel ways to get me North. She really enjoyed “traveling slowly” herself, whenever she could, and enjoyed it every single time. I think her description is very good, to “travel slowly”. Thinking that more people could have benefited from this. To just enjoy being on the go, no matter where you go. Then the whole journey will also be an experience. It is environmentally friendly both for us and our planet as well. For us simply to calm down, and we save the environment from extra emissions free.
This lovely lady lives on Tranøy in Hamarøy municipality. She gave me her contact information, so I could contact if I wanted in connection with the realization of “my islet dream”. She was also very fascinated by it; -Living all alone on an island between old northern Trøndelag and Finnmark, in the period October to March to get stormy, the light that actually exists in the dark and the possibility of northern lights.
The first bus change took place in Nordkjosbotn after a short stop, from here it was the same bus to the ferry quay at Lyngseidet. This trip also took place in spectacular nature with “Fjords and mountains” as tourists refer to Norway. Now there was a new crossing by ferry to Olderdalen. The most amazing ferry ride I have ever done. A surpass surrounded by the Lyngen Alps, Norway’s response to the Alps in Switzerland, Austria and northern Italy.
Oh who was the only passenger on the ferry who was on deck during the entire crossing do you think? – Yes, The Tubbie Goddess.
The bus trip from there became very special to me, my time travel was coming to an end, and I suddenly found myself on roads I had traveled on 25 years ago. Kvænangsfjellet, the last mountain pass before Alta, mighty and wonderfully beautiful nature! It was a quarter of an hour break in Burfjord, where Captain Simen and Captain Jack had lived since the last time we were on a trip together, 6 days after they left I was there. I began to feel the excitement by surprising them.
But where is the marina in Alta? I found the post on FF Ella, with a picture of the shipdog Balto. Where he lies with his snout on top of the note with the tip number to pay port fees. It said “Alta boat association”. Entered Google maps and searched, quickly found out that it was in Malmveien 18. Incidentally my near the center when I moved from Alta.
Got off the bus right at Bunnpris gourmet, went shopping with me a bit, then I ordered a taxi.
The taxi driver drove me to the guest harbor of the Alta boat association. I made an agreement with him that he was not allowed to drive until I had found the boat.
Went out on the first gangway, and there at the end on the left I discovered Ella. Went over and thought I should knock. But no, because out in the cockpit there they sat, together with two others they had a visit from. Captain Jack was eager to say anything, and in the middle of the story I shot “Yes, it seems so”.
They were just as surprised as I had hoped and wanted! Great and cordial reunion joy! I FINALLY got to surprise them, it felt really good!
The visit trudged home to their boat, my stout brothers joined me in the taxi and picked up my luggage, then there was a welcome beer in the cockpit of the dancing northern lights in the sky.
It is certainly unusual with the Northern Lights as early as the end of August, so then it was probably the universe that welcomed me back to Alta, for the last time I saw dancing the Northern Lights was just in Alta, of course.
Thank you dear past for all the experience I have gained, now I will live in the present and create my future on the wisdom of the past.
Remember; Enjoy the moments, they are the ones that are actually life. Sail safe through the stormy parts and life, where ever when ever.
We have time these days to take care of things while being moored in Alta Guest Harbor. This is the second largest private harbor in Norway and they have a nice safe harbor with plenty of boats. All though there is not too many tourists in this part of the country, there is a small area for traveling people like us. The best about having time to ourselves is to finally getting things done. There is a free flow of creativity and time to enjoy life onboard the magical FF Ella.
Let me tell you a little story; This happened long before I was Captain myself, when I was just a lightweight sailor onboard a pirate ship. My captain was none other than the fearless Captain Skjeggstubb, and he was not a man you would end up in trouble with. He was known all over the world for being a bit of a tyrant who always got what he wanted.
Most of the time I stayed away from him, preferably on the other side of the ship because he could get very angry if someone walked in front of him. But even though he was quite strict, he was a good Captain and had many times saved the entire crew and the ship out of scary situations in several of the worst storms you can imagine. It was said that Captain Skjeggstubb could survive all the sea could throw at him, and so it came to pass that in spite of his cruel sides he was a great and respected man in all the ports we visited, or robbed.
At this time I was no more than twelve or thirteen years old, and that made me the youngest pirate on board. That’s why I also got the worst jobs. The hardest and dirtiest. Because I was so small and light, they often hoisted me high up in the mast to check that everything was fine. You can imagine how scary this was when the ship tilted from side to side in many meters high waves. It was purely like a huge carousel for one person, not purely a little dangerous. But I was determined to do everything I was asked to do, because ever since I was a little boy, even smaller than I was then, I was going to be a real Captain on my own pirate ship.
It was a very stormy night that we sailed sheltered on an undiscovered island in the vast Atlantic Ocean. The ship was on its way to the Maldives to help those who lived there relieve them of some of their gold. The Captain said we had more than enough space on board to help the locals with this, although it ended up with half of the crew having to sleep on the floor all the way home. That’s how Captain Skjeggstubb was, our treasures almost always came first. And since the crew were equally fond of gold and riches, we all agreed. For every gold coin we robbed, I was one step closer to getting my own ship, and soon enough I would be the youngest pirate captain to ever sail the world’s oceans.
We had sailed through the storm on 10 maybe 15 meter high waves for two days and the crew was quite exhausted. Captain Skjeggstubb navigated us in between steep mountains and into a small lagoon. The angry seas around us calmed down immediately as we sailed through the narrow mouth of the lagoon and in front of us an oasis appeared that made every man on deck stop his work just staring. Even Captain Skjeggstubb took off his storm goggles and lifted his hat to his chest. It was some of the most beautiful I had ever seen.
Large beautiful palm trees with coconuts dove over a chalk-white beach and the scrub jungle between the trees stretched far into the valley. From one side we could hear the faint rumble of a long, high waterfall running straight into the turquoise waters we had sailed into. The contrast to the storm outside was so great that several of the crew shed a tear. For even hard-boiled pirates like us, have to bow when you see something as beautiful as this place. I was sure this was what the men on board had described as paradise.
In the background of it all, a large pointed volcano rose and a faint streak of smoke testified that it was active and watching over the island we had found. But that only made it even more magical. The high mountains also made sure that it was not only completely windless, but even the rain seemed to slip past this place. Right above us, the sky had turned blue and the sun was shining on the drawn ship with an equally wet crew.
“Drop Anchor!” Cried Captain Beard. And so we did.
When the ship was safely moored, the Captain gave permission to go ashore, and it did not take long before 20 men lay on the beach across, while sticky wet clothes hung to dry in the trees behind. It was sent around large bottles of rum which they mixed with the milk from the coconuts. The chef had lit a fire and now he made a whole wild boar on a spear. Only Captain Skjeggstubb was left on board the ship as he used to. He rarely went ashore if he could escape. ‘It does not swing enough under the legs’ he used to say.
But the rest of us had the best day for as long as I could remember, and after the food was eaten, it did not take long before all the adults were drunk from all the alcohol digging the beach. Therefore, I decided to go on a voyage of discovery.
I wandered into the jungle and away from the beach. Trees and shrubs grew densely and it did not take long before you could barely make out the light from the sky above. There were large flowers in all kinds of colors. Everywhere there were strange birds of all sizes and between all of this I saw a snake, but I was not afraid. After all, I was a pirate, and pirates are not afraid.
I was just about to turn around and go back when a monkey jumped down the path in front of me. I had never seen a monkey before, but heard the others in the crew tell stories about them. They were supposed to be very naughty. This one just seemed curious, shaking his head and wondering what kind of guy I was for one. I told him. Said I was Timmy, soon to be the greatest pirate captain in the whole world. Then he gave me a round ball, a pearl. I had only seen these once before and they were very expensive. I assumed it was a sacrificial gift to his new friend. I myself only had a small purse in my pocket, it was almost empty, there were only a few coins there, not enough for a meal even, so I gave my new friend the purse. He became very interested in it and jumped for joy when he understood how to open and close it. And when I tied it around his neck so he could carry it with him, he wrapped himself around my neck and gave me a big hug.
We played together for a long time, it was the coolest playmate I had had since we left our home port well over half a year ago. We slammed between the trees and raced through the jungle. I had completely lost track of where we were and eventually we came out on an opening. Completely stunned, I stood staring, because in the middle of the square there was a huge pile of pearls, the pile was much higher than me and my new friend ran straight up the pile to throw the precious pearls over him so they rained down on us .
It was not so difficult to understand that this was his treasure. The shiny shiny pearls lay in the thousands and we both sat in silence looking at them while we showed each other some extra large and pretty. Think of everything I could buy with these pearls! I asked him nicely if I could get any of them, and he certainly understood what I meant because he held out a handful. I tied my shirt in my arms and made a bag out of it. Together we filled it to the brim with the treasure. He certainly did not mind so much that I took as many as I could carry. Besides, one did not even see on the mound that any incision had been made there.
It was as much gems in my shirt as I could carry the through the dense jungle, I could not guess my way back either, but the monkey ran in front of me to showed the way. When we returned to the place where we had met many hours earlier, the monkey stopped. He probably wouldn’t follow me anymore. I understood that we had come to the end of our acquaintance. A brief friendship I had never experienced before. We gave each other one last hug before the little friend disappeared up into the trees as abruptly as he had appeared.
When I got to the beach it was late in the afternoon and my pirate friends had just started to wake up from their sleep. It did not take long, however, before they jumped and danced around me when they discovered what I was presenting to them. ‘Timmy has found a treasure! We are rich! ” They hugged me as they threw me into the air and welcomed me back down again. “Get the Captain, he must see this!”
Not long after, Captain Skjeggstubb was rowed out to the beach. He walked towards me on the beach where I was standing with the huge pile of pearls in front of me. “Yeah Sailor,” he said, “I must say, a little of a treasure you have found us arrr?” I had already decided to lie, it would be almost impossible to trace back to the open plain and I would not take any more from my new friend more than he had already given me. That’s why I said, ‘Yes, Captain, Sir. I’ve been picking pearls for many hours. But I think this is all because I did not find more in the last hour. “
The captain measured me with his eyes, but I could swear I sensed a small smile behind his stubble. «Very well worked sailor! You deserve a reward for this, since you have been alone in this feat, I will give you every twentieth gem you have brought back to us, you deserve it. “ There was nothing to argue about, it was also much more than I could have hoped for. For all taxes on board were to be placed in the treasury and only divided among the crew when we returned to the castle in the home port. “It will also be a good penny for the whole crew out of this. You can thank Timmy here for allowing all your families to eat well for years to come. ” One can say a lot about Captain Skjeggstubb, but he really was an honest pirate.
Of course I was very proud. Not in my wildest fantasies would I think that these pearls were worth so much. Later in the evening, when all the pearls were counted, I had 37 gems in my bedside drawer. And there was a good atmosphere and party among the crew, everyone was happy with an extra bonus. The next morning the storm was out of the question and we sailed on to the Maldives where new adventures awaited, but that’s a story for another time.
It’s not necessary to tell you what I used my pearls for, is it? A few years later, I swapped about half of them into my first ship, and do you wonder which volcanic island I first sat course for?
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.
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.
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!
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!
We are preparing for our next expedition. Our ship is currently being fitted for another adventure as you read. It will still be a few weeks before our departure, but we’ve had some great luck – Since we arrived at our previous destination at 70 degrees North the boat ran ashore. It was a mess, and totally not our fault. But since we had made sure to insure our beloved boat everything has worked out (so far) as good as it could.. In short the total cost of the rescue and fix of the boat have cost at least the double of what we paid for it, which in return have provided us with some awesome new features to ensure safe journeys for the future.
For the next weeks we will be working for Captain Simen’s mother at her very own campsite named Arctic FjordCamp. The very reason we made this journey north instead of heading toward Sweden as of the original plan. And of course that wouldn’t be the smartest decision as 2020 proved to be a pretty much scandal for the entire world population. Corona is here and although we seem to be slowing down in the care for it, it keeps growing and is currently airborne. Bad news of course, but until further notice life goes on and it would be stupid not to prepare for it.
We are trying to think forward and despite how much we love living in the arctic, doing it for family is proving to be a bit of a hazzle for two free pirates trying to live their own lives. In short, we are most likely heading south before the end of the year, and we’d better get FF Ella ship shape, cause it will be a long run. (Yes, we could never come up with a new name for such a perfect ship and have decided to name it after the previous owner and builders mother; Ella. However we are attaching the ‘FF’ meaning forskningsfartøy in Norwegian and ‘research vessel’ in English, as our first boat – The FF Harry. Read harryfloats.com.
I’m proud to inform that we have repainted the inside, gotten new bedding, plates and cutlery. A new handheld VHF, ropes, fenders, a new propeller, plenty of important other stuff and not to forget an oven to keep us warm all year long. It eats a bit of diesel and cost about 30 cents an hour to run, but in the long run will save us for any extra costs of having to stay in expensive harbors for electricity on our way south.
How far you ask? We don’t know yet, but we have a dream of going back to Foxen in order to enjoy the amazing landscape and fresh waters of the pirate waters we know way to well. This is just a short update, I would never dream of letting you be in the dark for too long. Hope to see you follow us.