The complicated departure
Elisabeth was the first of the crew to arrive to Svalen and John in Inverness on July 1st. She helped John with preparations, such as fixing the deck light and planning and preparing food for the trip. Karen and Lisbeth came on July 4th, also in good time to assist in preparations. During the week they had a visit from a Cockroach killer. The insect professional saw a parallel between the unwelcomed insects and Europeans coming to Scotland, and also considered the lack of pest killing in Europe, e.g. of rats, as one of the reasons for leaving the EU. Hm…
Photo: Moa in the Muirton Sea-Lock, Inverness
Moa and Anna came from Edinburgh on the evening of the 6th when the dinner table was set, and Svalen was almost ready for departure. The plan was to depart on July 7th at noon, after having filled the diesel tank. The drive to the tank station was only 1-2 minutes. But, a large service vessel for the windmill farms turned up from nowhere and beat us to the tank station! It took them almost 2 hours to fill their 4000 litre tank. This delay resulted in a closed lock, so we could not get out from the Muirton basin and had to wait even longer for the next opening. If only we had been at the tank stop 2 minutes earlier! Anyhow, the Moray firth was entered in the middle of the afternoon and we set off for Thyborøn with quite good winds to begin with.
Anna: In the sea lock at Inverness.
Pragmatism and compassion
The crew was divided into three teams of two, with responsibilities for cooking and steering during different point of time during each 24 hours. Good food is important on Svalen, and night sailing demands both energy, concentration and snacks. However, one issue complicated the team work: sea sickness. We were both prepared and unprepared for what this meant. One consequence was that we had to be pragmatic instead of strictly following the plan and division of labour. Those who were able to spend time in the kitchen without being sick had to take on cooking and washing dishes, while the others tried to cure themselves by resting and fixing their gaze on the horizon while steering. In this situation pragmatism and compassion is very important! Elisabeth considers this a very good ship to be sick on. We took good care of each other and were self disciplined. For example, in spite of wobbly waters and sickness bread and cookies were baked, songs were sung and tea was made for the night shifts. Everyone took their assignments seriously. Seasickness has different impacts on people: Thile Elisabeth became worse Karen became better and Lisbeth as first helms woman felt she had to stay strong and thereby avoided sickness.
Lisbeth and Elisabeth en route Inverness-Denmark
Impressions from the North sea
The morning watches where we (read Anna and Karen) saw the sun rising together with a vast amount of oil platforms, cargo ships and fishing vessels were rather amazing. The watches also included to check the speed of cargo ships and fishing vessels, the lenth of trawls, and location of oil platforms in order to avoid a collision. Lisbeth and Elisabeth who were on the first night watch from 10-1am felt the 3 hours passed very fast and also were lucky to see dolphins on their watch. Moa and John had the darkest watch in the middle of the night and Moa went from only thinking of panicking before the tour while googling sailing the North Sea prior to being a skilled helms woman not being afraid on the dark night shift. The scenery was a surprise and the wind a disappointment: the sea was like a desert with very little waves and no wind which meant that we have to motor most at most of the crossing! Another observation is the lack of clear distinction between day and night due to the shifts and due to the Northern light.
Music and singing
While sailing we entertained ourselves in different ways: all were singing in different ways and Lisbeth and Elisabeth provided nice and spontaneous music from their guitar, charango and saxophone – great!
Entering the Limfjord
While crossing the North Sea was a piece of cake entering Thyborøn and going through the half unlit channel after midnight was a large challenge. Lisbeth and Karen had to stand at deck trying to find the red markers which where most of them were not lit – and the channel is narrow and suddenly a small fishing vessel came towards us with large projectors. Anyhow we did manage and arrived Lemvig 3:30 am very happy all of us. The following day was spent in Lemvig to relax and explore the town. The women except for Elisabeth who had to recover went to the Museum for Religious Art which is a nice little museum with a great view and of course enjoyed a coffee and cake there. Poula and Gunnar (Karens parents) came for an afternoon visit and so we suddenly were very integrated into Danish culture again. The tour ended Friday going around Salling to Skive – where a large welcoming committee and party was waiting for us with Lars and Helle Klok as hosts. Friends and family including Karens son, Morten, of the crew were there and a great fest with champagne, BBQ with all sorts of nice food was enjoyed and even more wine, beer and drinks. The evening was great, long and a real party. A fantastic welcoming and a fantastic crossing with a great crew.
Fennel with parmesan