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safely take the small boat ashore and settle in for a great evening with great food, company, and a large collection of out of date beer.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
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 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.
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.
The darkness swallowed our ship as we sailed into whatever was left of the cold clear night. I had spent hours planning our longest passage ever. To stay ahead of the coming storm we had to sail hard for the coming 24 hours, or risk being land-bound for as long as a week. Further up the coast we would be much more likely to keep sailing protected from the raging Norwegian sea. For the journey we had recruited a new crew-member; Line, the goddess traveled through our virus-infected country and arrived just hours before we left the port i Trondheim.
We have, as everyone else been very much restricted in our movements due to a certain virus that is currently taking over the world. Walking down empty streets in the third largest city of Norway on a Saturday night feels strange and at the same time somewhat calming. At the moment the borders to our country is closed for visitors and even within the country many quarantined zones make it hard for people to move around. So it was with the outmost luck that we got The Goddess onboard before all ways of traveling are closed down further.
As for our own protection we have gone into what we would refer to as a half-ass-quarantine, meaning we avoid contact with as many as possible and try to keep distance to everyone. This do not help us however when we are no longer allowed to use public spaces like showers and such, but the rules/laws are different everywhere and we’ll do our best to comply, but a sailor got to do what a sailor got to do.
Leaving Trondheim Captain Simen went to sleep while myself had my hands full teaching the Goddess the ways of the sea. Even they have to know the most important rules of the coast, the buoys and how to make out a safe lead-way. We had the basics down before sunrise and as later everyone was awake we spent a long and wonderful day at sea. I don’t think anyone could ask for a better first day in a sailboat than what the Goddess got served this morning. The winds were great, the scenery just amazing. None of us had any knowledge on anything this part of coastal Norway had to offer.
Then, of course, as the darkness once again rained upon us the storm started to catch us from West. The wind picked up quite a bit and so did the waves. Once the Goddess lost her inner compass the curse of the first sail got hold of her and she fed the fishes quite generously on multiple occasions. Hanging over the railing in between with certain sea-spray every minute or so – it went on for hours before she finally collapsed in her cabin a few nautical miles from our destination. We didn’t see her until next morning.
The Captains made sure the boat were safely in the guest harbour of Rørvik before we also went to bed. We had no rush, the slushy weather for the next couple of days gave us more than enough time to get back to our normal selves. Big kudos to Rørvik, this is the first harbour since Mandal with actual working showers and facilities. We all showered, did our laundry and the Goddess had fun with the dishes. We also got oil for the engine and talked the virus-closed pizza restaurant into serving us each a great good old burger. Even though this was probably a law-breaking meal according to a very frustrated owner, we had a good time – also probably the last dinner out in a while.
As this is being typed we have left Rørvik. We are fighting a 6 on the Beaufort’s, a strong breeze from the North making our planned daily sail about double in time. No problem for a ship like ours and tonight we’ll be docking at Leka, an island where people have been living for ten thousand years.
For the first day since we started our journey north, we’ve had calm seas and hail. Apart from the hail it was amazing to have the autopilot finally getting to do it’s job. Most of the day we enjoyed reading books and sipping a nice cup of coffee. We have this little camera pointing forward to see ships and other things that may get in our way and it seem to work fine whenever there is no rain or anything else blocking the view. We can sit at the chart-table and just pop our heads up to check for other ships once in a while. The sad news is that another storm is coming this weekend. We have to use the days between the storms effectively to get as far as possible, but then there’s this balance of taking care of ourselves, stay safe and enjoy the journey at the same time.
We docked in Kristiansand. It’s a fairly big city in Norway of well over a hundred and ten thousand people. Lucky for us they had electricity for heat. My hopes of filling our cans of water disintegrated as I almost walked right off the pier. The people running this place had disconnected the whole pier, no wonder there were no other boats around. Result was; we suddenly had our own little downtown island, cut off from the world with barely enough water for the super-important coffee next morning.
The trip down the coast to our next destination was short and sweet. We only did 24 nautical miles with an average of 4 knots. It was a beautiful day on the water, the best so far – probably what is know to be the silence before the storm. It’s not that I would ever complain about this horrible weather, but if the gods get what they want it will be shitty for the next 5-6 days. We can take a bit of wind, we can take a bit of waves, we can respectfully take some rain and even snow – but not all at once. Better stay put and await further orders.
In the last post i mentioned that Lindesnes is the most southern point of Norway, I’ll take this back, I stand corrected – cause it’s not. It will however be our most southern point on our venture north from Fredrikstad. The most southern point, and I learned this yesterday, is actually a small reef called “Pysen” and we passed north of it earlier today.
Mandal is a whole lot smaller than Kristiansand but have ten times the charm. There is only about 15 thousand people here, and they have all the amenities you could need in a small place like this. Time will show if its enough to keep us occupied during our stay. To get here we passed through an amazing archipelago with hundreds of cabins in all shapes and sizes. The people we have met so far have been most welcoming and we’ve found a great spot in the harbour. This is of course one of the best things about living onboard, most of the time you get to live in the down-town area of the cities you visit. This give you short walks to almost anything.
Besides reading a few books and drinking tons of coffee, we are settling in for a few quiet days in the boat. If we are really lucky we’ll even get to take a shower in the service house which for some reason stands unlocked. From here I have calculated about 20 active days of sailing to hit Trondheim. It’s a reach, but our working-goal is to hit Trondheim before March 15th. It’s possible to make it – but as we will be entering the Norwegian Sea whenever we start from Mandal we need to get the boat back to ship shape first. We are likely to encounter quite a few waves and there is still many weeks left of this years storm season.
We have sailed quite a distance since last post. At the moment we are docked in Erikstad, part of the large port of Gothenburg. First we crossed Laholm bay which was quite a windy adventure with some pretty sharp waves making the passage pretty bumpy – but nothing good old, still unnamed sailboat, couldn’t handle. As for now we still sail her under her original name; ‘Ella’ and I suppose this will do just fine for 2019. When we had crossed the bay we arrived in Halmstad. Here we finally found a shower to cleanse our rather dirty corpus’s. It was a very nice guest harbour along the river to visit and since we got to take a good rest, showers and dealt with some rather cold rainy weather we decided to stay for a few days before continuing north.
From Halmstad there is not really any harbors deep enough for a sailboat until Falkenberg. We could of course anchor up on the way, but the landline is basically just one long slope bay unprotected from any wind or weather washing in from the unruly Kattegat. We therefore settled in for a long haul across. This time however we had the chance to wait for great conditions and on the day we sailed the wind was so perfect that we decided to sail throughout the night. When we anchored up in the first suitable place we had covered more than 60 nautical miles in 14 hours, a new personal record for us(!)
Night-sailing is great. We pulled up the laptop and watched an entire season of a Norwegian TV-drama and made great speed along the way. On the open water the dark is no problem at night, you basically just stick out the course and let the wind do the rest. As we however got closer to Gothenburg you’ll have to stay pretty far away from land to avoid the many reefs of the western archipelago of Sweden. Lucky for me I actually paid attention when learning how to navigate by night and even though it’s a bit more work to count seconds between light-flashes and double checking the plotter ever so often we found ourselves a quiet little trench between land and the island of Ockero to sleep through the forecasted morning rain.
Next morning I grabbed some breakfast and set sail right away. Since most harbors have prepared for winter we had ran out of fresh water onboard, so I had to kiss my beloved morning coffee goodbye anyway. Besides, the last bit to reach Gothenburg was just a few hours sail. We arrived at about six o clock Friday evening and decided it was time to get a couple of anchor beers to celebrate that we have reached our last milestone before crossing the Norwegian border in a week or two. I guess, if we sailed nonstop from here we would make the trip in just a couple of days. This last bit of the way however, I think we’ll take nice and slow. After all, we don’t have any plans whatsoever when we complete this last bit.
If we had continued up the river toward Trollhettan we would now have cut out the lower part of the country away from the rest of the mainland. This of course counting the part we traveled with FF Harry through the inland canals last year. In a way the circle will be completed anyway when we arrive at our destination in Fredrikstad which is also where we started out in May, one and a half year ago. We then took FF Harry to Halden and loaded it on a truck, making our way through dense forest to reach the Swedish border. There have of course been plenty of distractions and detours, but it feels great to soon have completed this huge adventure. I wonder what comes next.
For now we are enjoying a weekend in the second largest city of the Swedish kingdom. Our only real mission here is to fill the water tank and to go for a walk in the city center. Both of us have been in the area before, but never really had the time to check out what the city really looks like, so this could be a nice little stop for us.
Sailing these waters at this time of year offer some exciting problems for our journey to the south of Sweden. We studied the same winds on our previous attempt last year and it’s a hard route to sail due to wind directions on days where it’s no rain or strong winds. For these reasons we ended up using the engine for an entire day down from Kristianopel to Sandhamn, the first small village on the mainland for boats going north toward Kalmar. Our plan was to get to Sandhamn before the rain came in from southeast, and although Captain Simen got soaking wet on his shift – we’ve made it to shore.
Sailing in rain is not the most pleasurable experience in October. We therefore decided to stand our grounds for two nights before proceeding. In a way this is great, since the guest-harbour here offer showers and free bikes. It was also time for us to clean up the ship again. A couple of miscalculations on the waves have tossed things around a bit, this is not the first time this happens, but we have not figured out all the solutions for where to put everything onboard yet. I suppose I’ve learned now, and will consequently pack stuff away before going out sailing in the future.
A stop like this also give some time to reflect and drink tons of coffee. We are basically sailing through three of the Scandinavian capital areas; Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Without all the tacking and jibing this calculates to about 1300 kilometers or 700 nautical miles. In other measurements that’s about the same distance as vertically sailing USA on it’s slimmest or a little shorter than the Sahara desert. Of course, we are enjoying our time and is really starting to get back into living on a boat again. That said; this wonderful boat is a whole different story than our previous ones. Here we can actually keep warm, dry and store all our belongings safely, unlike our previous I can now drink my morning coffee in my boxers.
We don’t have to work everyday to make sure we don’t sink or actually have a functioning engine. Before we purchased this adventure of an home, we had some beautiful boats in wood, but life was more a struggle and the upkeep of an old wooden boat would no doubt eat our entire non-existing budget. Having steel presents its own set of tasks to take care of but none of these have so far been critical. I must applaud Kaj who built this boat for his excellent care and craftsmanship.
Our adventures doesn’t come free and we are always looking for ways to make some quick cash. We are extremely flexible and will be searching out small jobs around, let me know if you need a fence painted or your boat washed. We can do just about anything! If you want to support us, there is plenty of ways to do this. Take a look at our support-page in the menu or click here.
We are very lucky to be able to be able to live our lives as free as we are. Having you read and follow our journey is making me feel proud of the choices we have made. There is nothing I’ve experienced that have offered me this kind of peace with myself. Maybe only backpacking, but then you always have to carry your stuff around and you know that it eventually have to come to an end. Slow-traveling by water, with sails and without an end-date, offer the most unique ways to see and have time to experience the world around us.
If I’m to be totally honest – my mental health need this freedom. It need to be experiencing new things and to be moving in order to be healthy. I don’t mind being ‘stuck’ somewhere for a while or even take a job, but in the long run and talking from experience my happiness and love for life disintegrate over time when I feel locked in. I’m sure people probably have thousands of ways to deal with these feelings, this is just the one that works for me at this point in time. Some people ask if this is about running away, and not take responsibility and I can assure you it is not. It’s about the freedom I personally need to do in order to make myself feel that life is valuable.
Freedom is relative, of course. We have things we need to do onboard a boat as well. But when it comes down to it; Being your own Captain, almost always being able to make the choices that shape your day and at the same time being able to do absolutely nothing is the best life-enhancing recipe I’ve ever know. I will not speak for Captain Simen, but I suppose there is a reason to why we stick together. Having someone like him to share these experiences and this life with make life at the moment just perfect.
When we are ready to leave this place, I hope we can get a good run down the coast. The bay-area ahead of us could get us a long way if the winds are with us. There is also a chance that we might have to back down and turn north, but so far the forecast for tomorrow is very promising.
Once upon a time, not too long ago. In a small little country named Macedonia, on a stormy night – a tiny little girl with a big curly black hair was born. She was born into royalty and was well taken care of her entire childhood. Her father, the King, spoiled her from day one. Before she could take her first steps she had more toys and jewelry than most people would touch in their lifetime.
Years went by and Nadia grew up to be a strong and just as opinionated as her mother, the Queen. She went to school like everybody else in her village and made some great friends with the kids in their neighborhood.
Then came the Day for Nadia to take over the throne, as her parents wanted to travel the world and discover new sides to themselves. They wanted to buy a small little castle on the hillside in Monaco and live out their lives in anonymity away from Macedonia, but first they were going on a three year cruise to all corners of the world.
Princess Nadia was suddenly on her own in the big world. She moved out of the castle and i to a small apartment in the village center. But there was something that bothered her, she wanted to go somewhere new and exciting. She decided to make her butler, Oliver, drive her away to other parts of the big Europe.
As Princess Nadia was leaning over the edge of the ferry she was having her last Macedonian cigarette. When she arrived in Malta she would have to buy some more. She was wondering what she would do when she got there. Oliver, the butler, had made some arrangements at an exclusive hotel on the north side of the island. One with golden bathroom, a pool and everything she could dream to eat for breakfast. Maybe she should get a Job in a bookstore? Or in a bar? The opportunities was endless.
A few weeks later she woke up one morning and decided she would start working in real estate. So she fired the butler an walked into one of Malta’s hundred real estate offices and paid the manager to hire her.
It wasn’t long before Princess Nadia was the most famous real estate agent Malta had ever seen. With her own YouTube channel, billboards everywhere and airplanes flying huge banner with her face and phone number in circles around the tiny island country. They called her ‘The Quick-let girl’.
Just after a few months she had made billion euro. Already the next year she purchased three hotels and had one under construction in Macedonia. She was invited to the Ellen DeGeneres show and started building her empire of fast food chains in the Americas as well. Serving only healthy meals to prices that every one could afford – if you were homeless you ate for free. Of course.
The whole world would come to forever admire the self made woman with the extremely strong personality and charm. Everyone sheered when she came walking down the street or the highway.
This is the brief story of the amazing Princess Nadia, the first human to build a resort on Mars. Only the future will tell how the story ends.