Prospecting for gold

Exploring the great green mountains of Bekkarfjord, Seiland have given this expedition to nowhere an exploding start. With no cellphone or internet coverage, green as far as you can see and a perfectly round moon raging in the sky above us we had the most amazing visit. This Captain even climbed a steep mountain requiring me to make use of all four limbs in my hunt for gold and diamonds.

Balto was of course ecstatic to have this great huge playground to himself and was not to stop up the steep hills. The Captain’s had their work cut out for them following this wild animal. The first evening was spent with freshly caught fish and vegetables prepared by the Goddess on the fire while we stargazed and enjoyed the full moon in the sky. Even the Northern Lights paid us a visit as we were warming up for a day in search of gold and diamonds.

Bekkarfjord is an entrance to Seiland National Park established in 2006. It contains a rich variety of minerals that makes this island an truly green and rich of species-island. It is capped by a glacier and I couldn’t visit this place without climbing at least one of it’s many peaks. So after breaky the second day I packed my bag and took on the supersteep climp up the hills behind the boat. The tall grass made the hike a hard one, but after and hour or two I could enjoy the wast landscape on top.

There was blueberries as far as I could see and even some cotton-fields I wandered around for quite a long time, hiding from the worst of the wind between the different hills surrounding me. I had a snack and enjoyed the little bit of time to myself while the others enjoyed a slow awakening down by the water.

The decent was just as steep, but equally beautiful. I would like to recommend anyone that have the chance to visit this place. It is truly an experience.

Down at FF Ella, life went on as usual. We caught a fish and had ourselves a fairly quiet and calm afternoon in the windy sun. The fjord is somewhat famous for it’s wind. But we didn’t find it particularly problematic, since the winds were even warm enough for this captain to try out our new USB-shower. Saving fresh water onboard I concluded this mission with a salty scrub from the ocean.

The next, and what proved to be our last day, in Bekkarfjord was great. We had decided to spend the day prospecting for gold and possibly diamonds. But although this place is packed with minerals there was no signs of either. We started by checking four small waterfalls in the bay next to the boat, but the water-flow here was not enough to get a good trial of our river equipment. Instead we relocated to the other side of the fjord, where the large rivers ruled.

The prospecting Captain Simen

To get there we had to make use of our dingy and it’s cute but amazing electric motor and concluded that this part was an adventure in itself. Herders had passed by all morning but we felt safe to set up a prospecting camp up river. Also here, we ran into no luck. The black volcanic sand made it hard to work with the dirt we dug up. We had to conclude that if there was any gold on these locations it was just specks and not worth the man-hours we put into it.

To leave on a high note we decided to move on. We packed our stuff and set off into the sunset. Catching the evening breeze in direction North.

Captain Jack

Drydocking for repairs

We have finally left the great city of Alta. We haven’t moved far, only about 5 nautical miles south to Kåfjord. We arrived on the top of high tide and smoothly arranged ourselves in the drydock owned by a very nice man answering to the name Helge. As you might have gathered from previous posts dear FF Ella was in need of a good scrub and a temporary permanent fix to the damages we acquired during last winters storms.

Dealing with a tide-dock require a certain level of patience, so we gave ourselves some free time before the hard work started. I, myself, managed the ropes onboard as the tide did rest of the work. Captain Simen went out fishing dinner, the Tubby Goddess attacked the rusty parts with a steel brush and deckhand Marius helped out in all areas just as the job description says. Cadet Marius was just on loan for a few hours and left us around four a clock just as we hit solid ground underneath the keel and Captain Simen returned with two cods, one for Balto the impatient and utterly bored Balto and a nice bigger one for the humans.

We have scrubbed, sanded and brushed all the rust away. The Goddess have painted all spots with her favorite color pink from a bottle of rust remover that yours truly rode his kickbike into town to buy early this very morning. She then washed away all the pink and painted the areas white (making the unpianted areas look extremely dirty) in short, the whole ship is ready for a new coat and this will be on our list, and hopefuylly get done before the big freeze hit us in a few short weeks. Captain Simen cooked an amazing, dinner with flouercoaed kod with pataoes and herb-butter from our greatly growing sortiment of fresh drying herbs. The meal was very much needed before the continuation of our hard labor. I myself spent the time changing anodes and making sure that the propellar-fix could handle whatever we need it to the next couple of months. Sadly the parts we had ordered did not arrive in time to get into our projects this day.

Helge was nice enough to borrow us his preasure washer, which again made us realize exactly how dirty and in need of some new paint FF Ella really is. Our new friend Anders, that we met while out celebrating Captain Simens birthday the other day, swung by to say hello and so did Marius’ father with some mail that had arrived after our departure from Burfjord some time back.

Captain Simen has spent many hours installing our new diesel heater. In our already tight spaced boat, to install something like this is a huge task, but even though I’m sure it was a big hazzle he had some good fun doing it. It will be totally amazing to be able to provide our own heat onboard, without having to depend on expensive electrical harbours along the coast. I suppose it won’t be long before they close down for the season and we will once again be left to pay high fees for something we soon will be able to provide for ourselves. Captain Simen has also installed a new solar regulator to accommodate the solar panel that we have not yet installed.

Tonight we will tie ourselves to a dock here at Helge’s. I haven’t really asked him but since we will be leaving early tomorrow morning and there is space available I guess it won’t be a problem. We are tired and pleased with ourselves. We have done great work all day and tonight, in an hour or tree we will be leaving the drydock.

One for the team!

I forgot to mention that we had the most amazing sail here. There wasn’t much wind, but we were licking sun and having a nice breakfast in the cockpit as we slowly moved toward Kåfjord. It is truly good to be back and traveling. Our next destination is Bekkarfjord on Seiland National park. Make sure to follow us there, I believe the plan is do prospect some gold and explore this National park that I have heard so much about.

Captain Jack

The Goddess follows her dream

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.

Oppdal Station

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.

Small turtle.

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.

Playing footsy with nature.

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.

The Tubbie Goddess

My pearly friend

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?

Getting FF Ella ship shape

It has been a long summer and it is obvious that FF Ella have missed seeking out new waters. Its also honest to say that the Captain’s may or may not have accumulated too many things (again) during the course of this summer. Lucky for us we have been prepared for something like this to happen and have made all storage-space onboard dry and secure for all our belongings. When practising holistic research it’s hard to know ahead what kind of equipment will be needed, we are therefore stocked up on most of it. What research vessel wouldn’t require a soapbubble-machine, a heavy mineral sluice for gold prospecting or a gastronomic fruitdryer? Getting all things in order is how we will spend the coming week. As for right now we hav concluded the 85 nautical mile relocation voyage from Burfjord to Alta.

Yours truly enjoying the sail

We left Burfjord with the winds in our favour. Most of the time. The area offer some pretty chaotic crosswinds due to the high mountains surrounding the fjord. No big problem for avid seafarers as ourselves, and we made a nice long passing to our first planned stop; Sandland. However it proved that this harbour had not finished their guest harbour yet. The harbour master himself explained that their plans of completong the masterpiece was stoppe by a certain pandemic virus and wished us welcome back next year.

Instead of dwelling on this problem, and to Balto’s frustration we fired up the good old Penta and spun off to the other side of the fjord where we arrived in Bergsfjord just as the darkness started to swallow the surrounding nature, and the glacier raging high above us.

Balto enjoying “freedom”

We agreed on a bit slower pace for the good of our belowed puppy and ourselves. We had a bit of a realization on how much you use the muscles in your legs swaying back and forth all day long. Allthough we had not lost our sealegs and only reqruit puppy Balto had a tiny issue with seasickness, we felt pretty nackered and fell easily to sleep after a nice bowl of pasta with creamy homemade mushroomsaus.

The next morning was fairly wet. It had been raining all night and the fog was heavy as I sipped my morning coffee, waiting for Balto to do his morning business. Despite the weather we decided on a go-ahead for the 25 NM passage to Øksfjord which would place us in a great position for the last part of the relocation. The weather people had promised that the wind would bring us all the way where we needed to go and as the goodhearted people we are, we believed them.

What can I say?

It actually wasn’t that bad. But we had hoped for a tad stronger winds so we could let the poor quick fix we have made on the prop rest for the remaining voyage of this part to Alta where we will be awaiting the new parts and our imported crew that will start her voyage North from Lillehammer on Wednesday.

As for us, we will be enjoying the ammenities of Alta Guest harbour while we get the rest of Ella ship shape. A few things are still in need of completion before we leave civilisation behind and set off the explore the arctic wilderness.

A window of hope or something.

Follow the journey by liking our posts, follow the blog or subscribe to our page on Facebook. We are excited to share our discoveries with both you and your friend as we set out on this holististc expedition to God knows where we will end.

Sail safely, Captain Jack

Our own time

Although this expedition don’t run on an harsh schedule compromising our enjoyment of it, we will be hoisting sails into the hands of the Arctic weather Gods. The tide up here frequently hit a difference of 2,5 meters and the cold northern wind gusts will put extreme pressure that could break our old sails if we are not playing it careful. Adding this to us not having the correct parts to fasten our propeller (yet) our first week back at sea will have to be a careful one. First port of call will be Alta, about 80 nautical miles from here.

Don’t worry, we won’t use Google Maps for navigation. Swedish sea rescue taught us that was an not so good idea.

Balto, our newest family member, will have his first real run onboard on this leg. We are still working out the details of his bathroom situation, but I think we have researched our way to a viable solution, more about that later. But due to this being his first long trip we will take it slow and steady. Lucky for Balto, all measures are being taken, and there is no reason why our water-loving puppy won’t find his place onboard. In fact, we are very excited to present him for his new home.

Apart from being the bestest puppy ever, he is growing superfast and just hit the 14 kilo mark. This of course hurts our little baby in muscles and bones but he is a great sport about it. I believe basically running the entire Norwegian coastline will be exactly what will build his pirate character.

Balto enjoying Captain Simen’s side of the bed.

Another issue we are focusing on is how in bell we’ll be able to fit all of our old and new gear in the boat. We are in for some serious packing logistics. Got to admit that the task is not proving to get easier with me stocking up on long lasting food like the worlds going to end in a few weeks, which very well may be the case according to the internet. If it’s not, we should be safe for another couple of months.

Because of the gear, the food and an over all comfort we are planning some minor rebuilds to the inside of the boat. This will be taken care of as soon as possible after departure. At latest before we leave Alta. In short we are in for some busy days starting on our departure the day after tomorrow.

Captain Simen checking out our new speaker.

Summer in the North is over, we do have hopes for an extra warm autumn month of September. The signs are good, and with any luck we will get to experience the great North that we hoped for when we sailed Northbound in the first place. As you might understand, I’m pretty excited! I’m ready for my freedom, and to exploit our time on the planet as our own.

Captain Jack

Prepping for adventure

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

Arctic FjordCamp before the snow left us in May

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

Balto

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

Captain Simen showing of our new merch

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

Captain Jack

Arctic FjordCamp from the air

The New Expedition

We are preparing for our next expedition. Our ship is currently being fitted for another adventure as you read. It will still be a few weeks before our departure, but we’ve had some great luck – Since we arrived at our previous destination at 70 degrees North the boat ran ashore. It was a mess, and totally not our fault. But since we had made sure to insure our beloved boat everything has worked out (so far) as good as it could.. In short the total cost of the rescue and fix of the boat have cost at least the double of what we paid for it, which in return have provided us with some awesome new features to ensure safe journeys for the future.

ELLA

For the next weeks we will be working for Captain Simen’s mother at her very own campsite named Arctic FjordCamp. The very reason we made this journey north instead of heading toward Sweden as of the original plan. And of course that wouldn’t be the smartest decision as 2020 proved to be a pretty much scandal for the entire world population. Corona is here and although we seem to be slowing down in the care for it, it keeps growing and is currently airborne. Bad news of course, but until further notice life goes on and it would be stupid not to prepare for it.

We are trying to think forward and despite how much we love living in the arctic, doing it for family is proving to be a bit of a hazzle for two free pirates trying to live their own lives. In short, we are most likely heading south before the end of the year, and we’d better get FF Ella ship shape, cause it will be a long run. (Yes, we could never come up with a new name for such a perfect ship and have decided to name it after the previous owner and builders mother; Ella. However we are attaching the ‘FF’ meaning forskningsfartøy in Norwegian and ‘research vessel’ in English, as our first boat – The FF Harry. Read harryfloats.com.

I’m proud to inform that we have repainted the inside, gotten new bedding, plates and cutlery. A new handheld VHF, ropes, fenders, a new propeller, plenty of important other stuff and not to forget an oven to keep us warm all year long. It eats a bit of diesel and cost about 30 cents an hour to run, but in the long run will save us for any extra costs of having to stay in expensive harbors for electricity on our way south.

How far you ask? We don’t know yet, but we have a dream of going back to Foxen in order to enjoy the amazing landscape and fresh waters of the pirate waters we know way to well. This is just a short update, I would never dream of letting you be in the dark for too long. Hope to see you follow us.

Captain Jack

Expedition: Complete

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signing off,
Captain Jack

Leaving a Goddess behind

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Captain Jack