februar 21 - 27. februar 2022
Our photography-focused winter tours have been very popular, so now we put on our wool layers and gear up for new photo tours in January and February! The special thing about these tours is the beautiful light in this time of year that gives us the coolest #nofilter experience. We sail a whole week from Bodø, via Lofoten and Senja, to the “Paris of the North”, Tromsø.
This is a trip for those of you who want to take the “most badass” pictures during the harshest season in northern Norway, and for those who want to sail through northern Norway in a very special winter light with your camera always ready. While the batteries are charging under deck you can be sailing, or learning how to sail, along the way. Winter sailing in northern Norway is completely unique and by combining it with photography we maximize our use of the day and are always ready to take the best pictures completely free of street lights or other light pollution.
This week we will sail from Tromsø and spend one week southbound along the coast to Tromsø. On the way we will sail around Senja, Andøya, Lofoten and Steigen, and we hope to find northern lights, and learn more about sailing and photography, as well as the area we sail through.
On this trip we will try to spend a day playing with orcas and the whales that gather along the coast of Troms every winter to feed on the herring. For many years they have been playing around in the fjords outside of Kvaløya, while the last few years they have been further north around Skjærvøy. The weather forecast for the week, as well as the location of herring, will determine if we have time to go look for whales in northern Troms, or if we instead have to look for them outside Senja.
On this trip there are no photo prerequisites. Whether you are a professional or amateur means nothing. Just by sailing with other photo enthusiasts you will probably learn a lot. If you only have a phone camera and want to join an unforgettable trip and sail during wintertime, you are very welcome on board as well!
On this trip we will use our sailing boats Humla and Bien. Pictures and more information about them can be found here.
The whole trip was a truly great experience! It was awesome to go without knowing anybody, and meet such a lovely group of people. The skippers were incredibly skillful, and they always smiled. For me, never having been north of Trondheim, it was really special to experience this raw landscape, the northern lights and to get so close on to the whales. SailNorway delivered a great and raw experience, which I will carry with me for the rest of my life!
Day 1: Arrival and sail towards Sommarøya
Welcome aboard! We meet at the quay in Tromsø at 16:00, get settled in the sailboat and get to know each other. Before we hoist our sails we get to know the boat and go through safety instructions on board. Then we set sail towards Sommarøya. On the way we will spend time training sailing, man-overboard, and other emergency drills. We make dinner along the way.
Day 2: Stretch our legs on Sommarøya and sail to Hamn i Senja
After breakfast we have the chance to stretch our legs on Sommarøya before we set sail southbound around the outside of Senja, towards Hamn in Bergsfjorden. Hamn, as the name suggests, is a picturesque harbour where we will spend the night. While in Senja, there is the opportunity to use a hot tub and sauna for those who are interested:), and we eat dinner at the restaurant that evening. Whether we make it around the outside of Senja is dependent on weather and wave conditions. The alternative is to go innermost southbound towards Harstad.
Day 3: From Senja and through Risøyhamn to Vesterålen
After breakfast we hoist our sails again on our journey southward, and now set our course towards Vesterålen. First we will go through Risøyhamn, with its many blinking lanterns and lighthouses, and after we continue to Sortland if the weather calls for us to spend the night moored.
Day 4: Full sailing day to Lofoten through Raftsundet and to Trollfjorden
After breakfast we sail further south past Sortland and Stokmarknes and into Lofoten through Raftsundet. Here we will spend some time in the fjords, especially Trollfjord which is spectacular and well worth a visit, but also many other beautiful places to either anchor or sail through. This is a full sailing day where we will cover over 50 nautical miles. Underway there will be more photography and sailing training. Before night we will anchor in a calm bay in Raftsundet or Trollfjorden, if the ice is not too thick.
Day 5: Sailing to Svolvær in Lofoten
There is plenty of activity in Lofoten during this time of the year and the yearly Lofoten-fishing is taking place, so before we cross Vestfjorden we must pass through Svolvær, eat a sandwich at Kringla in the center, a look around a bit. In the afternoon we sail out to Skrova if we feel like it, or we drink some beers at Bacalao with the fisherman in the harbor.
Day 6: Crossing Vestfjorden from Svolvær to Steigen
After breakfast we set sail to Skrova. If the conditions are good we can go on land on Skrova, but if the wind is against us we will continue over Vestfjorden towards Nordskot in Steigen. Here, Børge Ousland and Randi Skaug each have their own island, and since we know them both we aim to get ashore to at least one of them and get to stretch our legs. Maybe they have a fire in the sauna? We will try to have a photo session indoors with a screen and projector so we can look at the photos we have taken on the trip and practice a little editing. This is also the last night, and it's Saturday, so there can be a good time and cheerful atmosphere on board. :)
Day 7: Morning sailing to Bodø
Early in the day will set course further south towards our last stop of Bodø. We eat breakfast and lunch underway. We arrive in time to tidy, pack, and clean the boat before 10:00. We’ll dock in the middle of the harbor, within walking distance to both the train station and the airport. Thanks for a great winter trip in the north!
Travel - in general
Sometimes we have to fly, but not always. If you have the luxury of time, we always encourage to travel as environmentally friendly as possible. Traveling slowly also gives another start to a holiday. Cycling, taking the train or driving a car together are good alternatives! Feel free to add some extra time before and after, since up in the north weather that can sometimes change your plans…
The north-Norwegian train line stops at Grong, and from Grong you can take a bus to Brønnøysund. Another "slow" and great way to get to Brønnøysund is with Hurtigruten from Trondheim or from Bodø, see timetable for Hurtigruta at www.hurtigruten.no . However, most of us take a flight, and the only airline flying to Brønnøysund is www.wideroe.no.
Getting to or from Tromsø, the fastest option is flying if you are going to the eastern part of Norway, but if you have time to travel slowly we recommend that. Taking Hurtigruten south from Tromsø to Bodø and train from there is one option.
Safety and risk - in general
We take safety seriously and on our trips we train on handling different situations that can occur at sea. On board the boat and trips, everyone must know what to do in potentially dangerous situations. For us it is important that you as a guest and participant is trained quickly enough to be a participating crew, not a passenger. It contributes to learning, sense of achievement and increased safety for all. This is also why our trips are considered to be sailing courses, you are trained to be one of the crew members on board.
Level of this trip
This is a trip for all those who are interested in photography, or nature. Or both! Sailing wise, our trips are not difficult, and you are always welcome to join us! We have with us both people who have never sailed before and experienced sailors. However, you must be prepared for everything from no wind to sailing in harsh weather. If you are a beginner, we will try to make you a seaman/woman as soon as possible. If you are experienced you will be given responsibility and greater challenges.
In Northern Norway and the Arctics we must be prepared for all seasons, often during a single day. It’s a part of the experience; it’s wild, beautiful and raw – in all aspects, also with regards to weather. Prepare for the contrasts! For us the most important thing is to enjoy the ride and the sailing. Use what you have, borrow if you can, and invest in something new if you must. In good time before departure we will send you a detailed recommended packing list for this trip.
Food and cooking
On our trips everyone contributes to the operation of the boat, so as long as you have not booked one of our trips with a designated chef, all take their turns in the galley during the trip. Skippers and guides assist as much as they can along the way. In advance of the trip, we set up a menu and shop what is needed. We try to offer good menus with healthy and “boat friendly” food. If you have allergies or preferences let us know in the registration form, and we will take that into account. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
What we expect from you
We want you to take part in the routines onboard the sailboat, whether it is sailing, docking, navigating, looking for whales and icebergs, washing up, cooking, clean the boat or contribute in other ways when required. Our trips require a little effort from all participants - and you should be open to contribute and open up a bit socially. We have many different people with us on our trips, and most people go very well together. Our experience is that doing things with others out in nature, and not least do things with new people with different personalities than one might be used to, is what creates the best, most interesting and memorable stories :)
Life on board and accommodation
Life on board a sailboat is social and pleasant, but for some it can be perceived as quite intimate and crowded, which is important to be prepared for. On our trips everyone participates in the operation of the sailboat and everyone is considered crew. We would like to get to know you well and hope that you will get to know everyone else on the sailboat as soon as possible. It requires some patience, generosity and an open mind to thrive, but the new acquaintances and completely raw nature experiences are quickly what will take your focus as soon as you become comfortable with life at sea.
Accommodation on the boat is part of the fun. The accommodation is generally in shared cabins, some of which have a double bed and some have a bunk bed solution. The distribution is quite a puzzle, but we do believe we are quite good at it. Let us know if you have any special needs or reservations.Any accommodation before and after the trip must be arranged on its own. If you have any doubts about where to stay, we’re happy to give you some recommendations.
On the boat we have a lot of heat and a lot of good food, but not always abundance of fresh water.
What kind of people join this trip?
Many come alone, some travel as couples, some travel as a group of friends. The common denominator for everyone is that these are fun and committed people you become friends with almost no matter what. Sharing grand experiences creates strong ties! Many people wonder about the age composition of our trips, but that is not so important to us. It doesn't matter if you are young or old as long as you want to go on a trip and intend to do your part so that you and the rest of the crew will have a good trip together.
Environment and sustainability
Both sailing and hiking/alpine/backcountry trips are environmentally friendly activities and we sail as much as we can and use the engine as little as possible. We encourage crew and participants to travel as environmentally-friendly as possible, and we use local ingredients and resources as far as possible. We also have our own trips where we collect litter and clean ocean trash from beaches.
Philosophically we often say that sailing is an exercise in sustainability; we move with the wind and we have limitations on things like water, diesel, electricity and food. In order to run sustainable - knowledge, patience, agility and hard work are required. The same applies to almost everything you try to do in a sustainable way.
Changes to the program
The program should be seen as a starting point that we adapt to weather and conditions. We also reserve the right to constantly improve our itineraries. On board with us we always have a dinghy for beach landings and small expeditions, we have fishing gear for the cod, and gear to hike or make a bonfires on the beach - we are ready for adventure! Are you?