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safely take the small boat ashore and settle in for a great evening with great food, company, and a large collection of out of date beer.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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
We are getting dangerously close to our destination. In just a couple of days we’ll be in Burfjord. The place we’re going to spend the next chapter of our lives. But not all of us is going that far and today the Goddess left us in Finnsnes. She found a friend she hadn’t spoken to for 25 years and we sent her off with our blessings. The time we’ve spent together since Trondheim will never be forgotten. The moments are endless and the adventures has been what most people in this world dream about.
After leaving Maurnes we tried to follow the meteorologists advice of cutting our days short by half the day, but once again they were far off with no chance of redemption. They said storm – we got sunny beautiful silent water all the way. Way off, they should be ashamed of themselves for making us listen to this crap everyday. Do they think that people on land just believe all the crap they spew out every day? Let me tell you this, it’s correct about 25 percent of the time, meaning it’s pure guessing all the way. I understand weather can be hard to predict, but please stop hiring people with no experience in weather whatsoever. Ask the fishermen, they are way more accurate.
I’m sorry, had to rant about the weather again, but I always get disappointed when people I trust repeatedly lie to me. Point is: We’ve had the most beautiful days at sea. The sun has been shining and life has been absolutely great! The Norwegian landscape is constantly amazing, even for us people that have lived here forever. I can only recommend this journey for anyone that is searching for something else. Something you can remember forever and probably also be the only one to understand.
A letter from the Goddess
Thanks a lot.
This is my big thank you to the guys I’ve adopted as my brothers from another mothers. Our journey begins with me and Jack being colleagues in Lillehammer autumn 2016. Jack moved his caravan from Lillehammer camping to my garden when the snow melted. Simen moved from Alta to Lillehammer in may 2017, and their life together started as couple started.
This two pirate-brothers of mine is the most lovely, caring, funny, blood sugar hunkers in my life. But the three of us together makes the best life three people can have in a sailboat for three weeks. No one where killed because we makes the best of every situation, respect and love each other enough to make personal space in deep understanding for each others personality. This is the deep reason in my heart why i love you.
This three weeks made the journey of my life! 13th of march i traveled by train from Lillehammer to Trondheim to get onboard Ella, and set sail for the northern coastline of Norway. This is a journey I’ve been dreaming for many years . But never could i dreamed that it would be in a sailboat with my brothers . Never could i dream that it would be like this at all. This came out to be much better that i ever could dream about.
The first stretch from Trondheim to Rørvik we spent 22 hours on sea. The longest stretch we did. I got seasick, I puked, and puked and puked till the hole sea was spinning around with me, i felt so cold that i thought i was going to freeze to death, but i survived, and three weeks of magic started.
At this point after three weeks in magic, i’m not able to pick one moment because I’m stunning for the first time in life i think..
In the blogs that Jack has written while i have been onboard, hi has written about the goddess, my name is Line Gudinne, Gudinne means Goddess in English, and it is my middle name. Onboard I made myself a nickname Tubbie Goddess. Because the color of my sailing-suit was red, the shape of my body is more round than thin, i felt like the red Teletubbie and my middle name is Goddess and so we got the Tubbie Goddess.
Tomorrow, Monday 6th of April, three weeks and one day after we met in Trondheim, i am leaving you guys in Finnsnes. I am sad because it is over, but i am very happy that you gave me this journey for life.
From the deepest of my heart i will thank you, wish you all the best in your new life on land in a part of Norway you two haven’t lived together before. New adventures, new journey and new beginnings.
Don’t forget to feel free to be the best of you, og with the flow in the name of love.
Blessings from the Tubbie-Goddess
Tomorrow we’ll be hitting Tromsø gently. Probably. And then just a couple of days more and we’ll be at our final destination. It’s not over until it’s over, and we’ll be fighting till the end. The currents we are facing tomorrow is some of the strongest of the nation. We’ll have to be careful to hit the at the perfect timing with the tides. Let’s see how that turns out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.