It´s been a couple of weeks now since we arrived back on mainland Norway in Hammerfest, where we nurtured ourselves and Barba back to health following our escapades in the ice around Svalbard. Ivan flew out from Hammerfest as planned with hiking in Siberia as his next endeavor. And Terry, Jon, Daniel and I fortunately still have about a 1,000-nautical-mile sail ahead of us back to Stavanger, with the spectacular Norwegian coast and Barba at our disposal.
Terry picking cloudberries as part of the post-Svalbard rest and recovery program on Barba. By Andreas
Sailing out from Hammerfest, we first stopped in a beautiful fjord on Sørøya, following the recommendation of a local fisherman. Barba was left moored in a sheltered bay while we got back to the luxuries of enjoying dry land. We were happy to see mosquitoes again, at least for the first few minutes, and enjoyed relaxing activities such as foraging for cloudberries and blueberries.
Daniel at the helm upon Barba´s return to Tromsø. By Andreas
Before too long, we regained the energy for more adventurous activities like hiking in the mountains, paragliding and diving. Crossing back over the same route we´d taken about two months earlier, we made it to Tromsø late one evening, where we hosted Terry´s parents on the boat and for a day of inshore sailing and fishing before she signed off for a week of vacation with them.
Daniel and Andreas about to fly off a mountaintop in Senja. By Jon Grantangen.
The three Barba boys were left to fend for themselves. So we quickly settled into the luxury of individual cabins, switched to a 3-hour watch schedule and sailed on. Food-wise we were suffering, but knowing that we would only be on our own for a week we were determined to make it. Studying satellite imagery and charts, we found our next port on southern Senja, with good hiking and paragliding possibilities.
Andreas diving the currents of Tjeldsundet. Photo from a Gopro attached to the underwater scooter, Mojo.
We provisioned in Harstad, stopping briefly at Tjeldsundet for a dive in the strong current under the bridge. Autumn brings with it clear water, and the marine life has not yet withdrawn to its winter hiding spots at greater depths. Diving in current makes it all more interesting. Marine life congregates in the current and the rush of water gives you the feeling of flying through an underwater storm. The annoying part is that you can lose contact with Barba, as you are washed along for kilometers in what can best be described as a great river. To avoid this annoyance, the Barba aquanaut dives with a surface marker so the topside crew can follow the progress.
Our first “running aground” of the expedition. By Daniel Hug.
We usually highlight the crew´s achievements, excluding our less glorious moments. One of them came when we least expected it. Lulled into comfort by the Norwegian coastline, we had a rather embarrassing moment just south of the naval base, Ramsund. We were happily enjoying dinner on an isolated floating pier when Barba started leaning over to starboard. We had miscalculated the tide by about half a meter, which resulted in the keel getting stuck in the sand. And so it was for about three hours that we were grounded and at the mercy of the tide. It wasn´t very dangerous, but was quite annoying – especially when glasses started to slide off the table and the inventory started moving around.
In Musken, Tysfjord. By Daniel Hug.
As the tide shifted Barba was set free, and we sailed through the night to the community of Musken (and this time to a deeper floating pier). Musken is inhabited by 25 Kvener,descendants from Finnish peasants and fishermen. We´d come to this remote place to descend into the deepest cave in the Arctic. The
Raggejavreraige cave starts around 600 meters above sea-level with the next exit about half a kilometer down atop a fjord cliff at about 100 meters above sea level. Stay tuned for more about this rather unorthodox Barba adventure in the next blog post!
Featured image. At anchor somewhere south of Hammerfest. By Daniel Hug.
For additional photos from various locations featuring our latest activities, see below:
Daniel returning from a solo paragliding expedition. By Andreas
Daniel and Jon in the port aft cabin. 3 months side by side, and still going strong. Note wooden board separating the two bunks. By Terry
Andreas leisure-diving and enjoying the view. By Andreas
Daniel getting an introduction to drysuit diving in safe surroundings. By Andreas
The Tjeldsundet bridge.By Daniel Hug.
Jon and Andreas hiking in the Lyngen Alps. By Daniel Hug.