We made it to Bodo!!!!! 

And we are sat in a cafe, drinking wine, too tired to move or even talk. We gave up trying make lunch with the remainder of the food on board – it’s possible we’re finally tiring of cheese and pickle sandwiches. Who would’ve thought?

We realised we could plot our route on the beer glass

But we did it. Sailed over 900 miles from Hartlepool across the North Sea and then up the West Coast of Norway to Bodo. The last leg was surprisingly easy. I’m not sure if that’s because the conditions were mild or if we’ve adapted to watch systems and the big swell. We made record time for our lovely little boat, averaging 7.1 knots over 38 hours. 

We left Friday evening and caught the last of the light as we navigated our way past the islands into the Norwegian Sea. Again, people living on what looked like big, flat, exposed rocks with only ferries connecting them to the mainland. And we discovered whilst sat in Brekstad that the ferries don’t run when the weather is bad. 

As we were leaving, Gareth was doing a quick AIS check when he realised we’d been spotted!! Someone had taken a couple off photos of us from the ferry to Brekstad and posted them on the Marine Traffic websiite!!! We were so chuffed. Here’s one of the photos:

As an aside, it’s possible to follow our track using marinetraffic.com. Our call sign to search is MKGY8. 

The first day was out to sea again so no sites to speak of. Hardly any birds around either, which we decided was due to the time of year. Unfortunately it was also pretty cloudy, so we didn’t get to see the Northern Lights. This is probably the biggest disappointment for the trip as from now on it will be 24 hour sunlight while we’re here. We did see mountains though. About 100 miles into the journey.  Beautiful snow-capped hills scattered right the way up to Bodo, always a new one forming in the distance. Here’s an attempt at capturing the view: 

The  currents were very strange. There was no clear tidal pattern, just every now and then the current would start to change direction and we would watch the arrow on the electronic chart slowly move 180 degrees. Then just as quickly it would go back to where it started. This would all happen over a period of 30-60 minutes, regardless of our heading and seemingly at random. We couldn’t work it out. 

Then there was the most exciting part: Crossing the Arctic Circle!!! 66 degrees 33.9 minutes North this year. We passed over it at around 11:30 pm on Saturday night. We toasted with rum and Gareth paid tribute to King Neptune, requesting that He look after us on our adventures. We also thanked Hal for taking care of us so far. And we did a circle dance to celebrate. 

We were officially in the Arctic. In April… Luckily there was no drastic temperature change and we didn’t suddenly start seeing icebergs floating about. Actually the only things that did happen were that the wind died and it started to rain.

We arrived in Bodo around 10:45 am and again had a slew of friendly people helping us out. The Port Officer, Joanna, was absolutely brilliant. She checked us in and showed us how everything worked. She spent ages out in the rain chatting away about various things we needed to arrange. We’d been concerned about customs and she gave us lots of useful information, importantly that everyone was quite relaxed about it. 

Our view from the boat for the next few weeks:

Hal tucked up safely in the marina: 

While we haven’t spent much (any) time in Bodo, we did learn some very interesting facts about it. And have more than enough to do when we return in June. Firstly, Bodo has more sunlight than anywhere else in the world: being in the Arctic circle there is 24 hour sunlight in the summer. However, due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis and it’s coordinates, it doesn’t get the dark Polar winters as well. The second thing I learned is that just around the corner from Bodo is the world’s most powerful maelstrom. Now I think this translates as whirlpool when used in reference to water. Unfortunately I discovered this when I was reading the pilot guide trying to work out the best route into Bodo. Needless to say I wasn’t enthusiastic about the prospect of motor-sailing against 8 knots of tide. Luckily the Saltstraumen is not part of the pilotage into the marina so we didn’t have any trouble. 

Anyway, this is it for now. We’re heading back to London and life for a few weeks. Our next leg is cruising and climbing the Lofoten Islands in June. By this time there will be 24 hour sunlight and hopefully the weather will be more amenable to sailing. We’ve heard people even swim!! 

Views from the airplane as we set off: 

In the air: 

And landing in Oslo: 

We’re both looking forward to our beds tonight… What a brilliant start to this adventure!