Sailing in Fog

I really don’t like fog at sea. It feels rather threatening to hear a ship pass by without seeing it. Specially at the ocean, where there are no place to hide. This time it was different.

This weekend we sat the sails for the outer coast of Tromsø.  The weather forecast was good, only some fog in the fjords in the morning. The many islands besides Tromsø are really fine areas, both for sailing and hiking. We invited a couple of friends and brought some good food on board and spent the whole day sailing around. After a good meal we enjoyed the sunset while we returned to the harbor where they had placed their car. We enjoyed the harbor and an early night.

I sleep so well in the boat and really like the mornings on board. When I woke up the fog had arrived. It was beautiful with sun coming and going.

20180909_070937After a trip on land we sailed inward of the fjord. Fog varied from really thick to just small traces. We could see at something called AIS if big boats or ships were coming, it was easy to stay away – we just followed near the coast. Underway we stopped to fish for our cats and for us.

The areas nearby Tromsø are our treasure chest, our golden places.We are so fortunate to have these opportunities.


Arctic Summer

20180731_135906What a release! This summer turned out better than I thought.
When summer arrives – or should arrive – in the north, I am always a bit afraid. How will it become this year? I really need some sun and summer heat – that means degrees past 20 Celsius – before winter hits again. In the Arctic areas summer is not predictable. Some years, like this June, snow decorated the mountains for many days. It was the worst June since 1959, rain nearly every day.My panic grew, I started to talk about Mediterranean, Portugal or Spain.

Then July came. And sun. She shone all day long – and night. We get so happy; we feel lighthearted and so blessed when the weather becomes like that. We went on a trip with our sailboat and explored areas not so far from Tromsø.

IMG_20180731_084521_735The most spectacular was to visit the outer coast with the ocean so calm. And for periods there was no wind, or the wind was warm. We did not need outer jackets! If you visit northern Norway in a period like this, you will meet nice and happy people doing strange things like fishing at midnight, talking to strangers, staying at the beach into late evening – and so on.

This type of weather is a result of high pressure over the Kola Peninsula, on the Russian side of the border. We even call it “Russian heat”. So I will thank our Russian neighbors for a summer that made me ready for a new winter. Thank You!

Lilly, my Grandmother

She was a special lady, my grandmother. I lived with her several years in my childhood, and she gave me the feeling of being special. She had delivered 10 children, two of them died, a girl after three days, and her eldest son in his youth, because of diabetes. Lilly was her name, a hardworking lady at a little farm, typical type for northern Norway, small with lean soil. It was located close to Lofoten.

Every time I make a traditional soup called “kjøttsuppe” perhaps translated to “meat soup”, with vegetables and beef or pork, I think of her. Food was her way of showing care and tenderness. Her children are telling stories about her, how she baked eight breads every morning before the rest of the family got up. She was a strong woman, joined her husband fishing prawns at sea, and they worked on the land through the night because the daylight was for fishing.

Lilly 1

Lilly, my grandmother, delivered 10 children and got 15 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren so far.

My grandmother represents the women of northern Norway, poor but strong, hardworking ladies, giving birth to a lot of children. Then they had to fight to keep them alive. Often they had to manage the children and the animals alone. The men left for different type of fisheries through the year; summer, autumn and winter fisheries. Especially the winter fisheries lasted for several months and this time of year was the hardest one to manage both for humans and animals.

I feel so humble for this history, for their efforts to bring us to live, we who came after.
She loved her potatoes, in special a local type from northern Norway called “Gulløye” (“golden eye”). When she got old I used to help her take up the potatoes. I look back at the memory with a smile in my heart.

To honor her we have named our sailboat “Lilly”. The boat has a kind of same attitude of strength and robustness as my grandmother, both in a gentle way. She died right at the start of year 2000, a few hours into it, and had lived nearly through the 20th century. I made meat soup yesterday and thought of her.