Between Stavanger and our winter base of operation, the Troms region well north of the arctic circle, lay an 850 nautical miles (1600 km) journey. Although this would be the fourth time Barba was to head north covering the spectacular Norwegian coastline, it´s always filled with some excitement. Extensive night time navigation, a new crew and unpredictable weather are some of the main challenges.
Motoring along the Atlantic road, south of Kristiansund.
A team of four Northerners and a Spaniard were up for the challenge. A good friend from childhood, Jørgen Smedsvig, and myself were representing Stavanger, Norway. Jørgen and I actively pursued all sorts of water activities in the outer archipelago where we grew up, laying the foundation for the nature interactions of today.
Enjoying pasta Spanish style, in Trondheimsleia. Last day of the year with t-shirt weather.
In addition, we had two sailors from our neighboring country Sweden, who came along to witness the spectacular Norwegian coastline. Jonas Laxheim found his way onboard following the call for assistance on the Barba blog, whereas Ylva Carlsson was recruited from the sailing community in Tromsø.
Jørgen above average satisfied as we cruise North.
With this much sailing expertise onboard, we also took the risk of bringing along Mr. David Gonzalez. The standing joke was that he was lured onboard with the promise of a luxury cruise along the Norwegian coast. His working title was photographer, a role he filled exceptionally well last season with the whales.
A stop over at Alden. Jørgen leading the way to the top.
Barba mostly followed the usual path up the coast. We had a gentle start with little wind, allowing for to get back into the navigation game. Our instructions were simple: follow the route on the chart plotter, avoid running the boat aground and beware of unfriendly commercial traffic seen as moving red dots on the radar. We sailed through the night, with one person on watch going three hours at a time. When it was windy or the conditions were challenging we doubled the watches, which was soon to be the case.
Winter is coming. Cutting out Yoga mats for insulation, during a calm part of the transit.
We put the blame on Ylva, who earlier that day, as we were getting the last tan of the year, expressed some disappointment with faint winds. At most we saw 45 knots of wind, which is rather strong. With the sails fully reefed and the boom touching the sea, Barba sprinted along under the cover of darkness in speeds up to 12 knots (twice that of our average transit speed).
Night time navigation.
Even though it was enough to convince us that we need a fourth reef in the main sail (a method of reducing the sail area), it was handled without too much fuss by a competent crew.
David enjoying a cup of coffee as we approach Tromsø. As any luxury cruise, we offer a diversified range of activities.
After a 10 day journey with many scenic views, fabulous cuisine and not too much drama, we made it to Tromsø. Despite of the fact that the wind arrow on the top of the mast had blown off, Barba was wagging her tail knowing that we were back to one of our favorite play grounds. Following some rest, we started regrouping as we would soon enough head out looking for whales.
Photos by David Gonzalez / Buendiaphotography.com
Featured photo: Ylva Carlsson at the helm.
BEHIND THE SCENES MATERIAL
El Conquistador David, padling ashore next to the worlds strongest tidal current, Saltstraumen to capture the beauty from above. The raft was pulled back to Barba using the mooring line.
Saltstraumen seen from above. It was only doing 7 knots on this today, but still entertaining. Followed up by a dive later that day, with the help of local dive legend and guide Vebjørn Sand, and Barba legend Nikolai Frisak. Photo shot with GoPro Karma drone.
David putting on the serious look as he is learning the ropes. Jørgen, not so much.. Meanwhile Jonas, being from Sweden, held a lookout for Russian submarines.
Blue skies are boring..
Barba TV, in night mode. Chart on the left hand side, and radar on the right hand side. We have the image mirrored to an iPad from the plotter located outside. In addition we have a laptop running for planning and redundancy. System setup by B&G.
Andreas and Jørgen during a short stop for a hike. The raft is fast to inflate and deflate. A fishing rod is used to pull the raft back to the boat. For more demanding landings and operations, we rely on our excellent Takacat dinghy.
The Trollfjord in Lofoten. Scienic, but windy making it a short stop.
Everyday life during transit in calm weather.
Mandatory dive for scallop supplies. Around 100 in 20 minutes.
David has made his nest for the night.
My first motorized vehicle Mojo, suffering a beyond repair engine failure. Somewhat of a setback, but working on resolving the matter.
Ylva on watch, and Andreas pealing potatoes..
Safe and sound in Tromsø harbour.