After a month’s break at a small marina just outside Tromso, a fresh gathering of crew flew out at the end of August to continue Hal’s journey south. A very clean shaven Cap’n Haddock was joined by Lucy and Laura, with Major Steve back again to even out the numbers, but sadly missing Fran who had to be at work.

We met at Heathrow where Laura immediately started causing trouble by delaying the entire plane because she didn’t have her baggage ticket with her – these self service check-in desks are a little complicated for the unseasoned traveller!

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Arriving late on the Thursday we slipped straight away and made the short trip around to Tromso where we were treated to an unexpected display of the Northern lights on what would be the only cloud free night of the trip (after an initial ‘that’s a funny looking cloud…).

The first day was spent by the crew preparing for the trip while Cap’n worked from whatever internet connection he could get. There was clear direction utilise the full duty free allowance on the journey out, although this was deemed insufficient and further wine was bought in Tromso, as well as a bit of tonic water, along with the rest of the carefully thought through food plan. Final preparations were discussed while sitting out in the warm and sunny waterfront.

Saturday was a clear day and after ‘pre-departure breakfast ashore’..

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After breakfast Hal set off for Finnsnes, with the first fish caught off the back of the boat as we passed through the narrows of Rystraumen, leading to much excitement and a very pleasant addition to the meal.

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That evening was spent anchored in Molnvagen, a small bay to the south of Finnsness, eating in the cockpit and relaxing in the warm evening, making a good dent in the gin and wine rations and devouring the fish we’d caught earlier.

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The next day saw the weather turn and a much cooler overcast day with increasing wind which caused a short choppy sea and slow going. With the wind gusting 45+knots and seemingly always on the nose, it was a long slog beating down to Lodingen where we eventually made shelter after sunset.

By morning the wind had died off and Monday was a much more pleasant day, though still cool. We hopped through the skerries with a lovely lunch stop at Svellingen where Laura, with a bit of support from Cap’n Haddock, caught the second fish of the trip, to further excitement. The scenery was beautiful and we made our way to Ulvagen, a narrow fjord on Stormolla, and a quiet anchorage for the night where a fine meal of cod goujons followed by roast chicken was served up (notice the empty bottle of tonic!).

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The fjord was so narrow there wasn’t enough room for Hal to swing on her mooring, so we had to use the kedge anchor for the first time to hold Hal in a straight line much to the delight of Cap’n H.The light in the fjord was amazing with calm waters giving some fantastic reflections of Hal.

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Tuesday saw mixed sun and cloud as we visited Trollfjorden on Austvagoy and into the Lofoten Islands proper, where the sheer rock sides allowed us to get Hal right alongside the rock.

We then moved on to Svolvaer for a relaxing lunch and restocking provisions, before moving on to the small port of Kabelvag for the night.

The next morning saw us in Henningsvaer…

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…for a stroll around this beautiful fishing village and a relaxed coffee in the sun, before heading to the small island of Aesoya just south of Vestvagoy where we had lunch and a short explore ashore. This anchorage was rather small so Laura and Steve took a shore line to a nearby post by dingy.

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That evening was at anchor in the shelter of Straumoya off Flakstadoya, where the largest and most impressive fish of the trip was caught by Major Steve, a huge cod that could have fed us for the next 3 days. Well, it gave us a starter of cod fried in a light batter that night at least.

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It was still slightly chilly and overcast the next morning we nosed into the fishing village of Nusfjord before backtracking slightly to Leknes to drop Laura off to get her flight back to UK, sadly breaking up the gang of four but taking a bit of pressure off the gin supply.

The remaining crew set off for Reine on Moskenesoya to a steady drizzle, then heading up to Kirkefjorden to anchor for the night. The morning was clearer but a trip ashore to see Horseid beach was cut short as the rain came in again.

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It was decided to keep journey short and we moored in the pretty fishing village of Sorvagen, deciding to walk to the village of A a couple of miles along the coast. Saturday was the final day, heading to the tip of the Lofoten islands where we were swept along (the wrong way) by 3kts of the Moskstraumen before heading south east to Bodo, with a quick stop for lunch at anchor at Vokkoya.

A light drizzle descended as we approached Bodo and gave us a wonderful rainbow as we nosed into a tiny bay on an island just south of main harbour.

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Our last supper was a pile of freshly caught prawns bought from a fisherman moored next to us.

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Then it was time to clean up and walk to the airport for our flights back to London.

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