The Adventure Continues…

What a difference a week can make. Two weeks ago, Draken Harald Hårfargre was tied up to the quayside in Lerwick, sail and sheets piled on the foredeck, the yard lashed along the starboard rail, after we lost our mast crossing the North Sea. The crew were camped out in tents on the edge of the high school playing field, just opposite the Coastguard station. And after initial relief at our safe arrival subsided, it was replaced with an empty uncertainty, as we waited to find out what would happen to the expedition. Continue reading


The Kit List: Essentials for a Month at Sea

IMG_2846It’s really easy to get carried away with packing, so that before long the only thing missing from your toiletry bag is the bathroom sink. Not so much of a problem if you’re only wheeling a set of matching luggage from the taxi rank to the airport check-in desk, but a different story if you’ve got to pack light.

For most destinations, it’s not a problem to pick up things locally either, letting you cut down to just a few essentials in your backpack. However, I’m going on a voyage on a reconstructed Viking ship from Norway to the UK. Conditions will be very basic on board, and I might have little chance to pick up the things I forget on the way, so I’m giving my choice of products some careful consideration. This is my packing list for health and beauty essentials (and it works for other trips in remote areas too):

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Worse Things Happen at Sea

Sunset over Shetland, as Draken Harald Hårfargre approaches Burray Sound.

Sometimes things just don’t go they way they’re planned. In my imagination, I see Draken bearing down toward Bressay lighthouse, flying before the wind, red sail glowing in the golden sunset, arriving in Shetland like the Viking ships of old. We make a tack to round South Ness and enter Bressay Sound. Approaching Lerwick we start to lower the sail and kai in the rå, drawing one end of the massive yard holding the top of the sail under the shrouds. As we come alongside the quay, we pack up the sail and coil sheets and lines, making ready to put up the foredeck tent. We step ashore in the simmer dim, the twilight of a northern summer.

At least we got the sunset. Continue reading