mars 16 - 20. mars 2022
Every winter, huge numbers of cod (called "Skrei" in Norwegian) migrate from the Barents Sea and towards the Norwegian coast and Lofoten to spawn. At the same time, fishing boats from all over Norway come to Lofoten to participate in this world-famous cod fishery. This phenomenon is an adventurous part of Norwegian coastal culture and has been an important part of Norway’s economic history. Now, you too, can take part in this adventure! Along the way we will sail, catch, gut fish, and eat fish in every imaginable way! Fresh fish, salted fish, bacalao, mølja, cod tongues, sushi and skrei-and-chips - you name it!
Asbjørn, the grandfather of SeilNorge founder Emil, spent no less than 55 seasons sailing from Ylvingen to Henningsvær to participate in the fishing. In SeilNorge, we have long dreamed about joining the yearly fishing and trying our hand as fishermen. When the Corona crisis hit in 2020, we had to come up with new ideas. With skippers and guides ready on the pier in Svolvær - but no guests - we had two choices: sail home or sail out.
We sailed out and tried our fishing luck. It was hard work, with long days and cold, sore hands, but also a great experience with nature, fantastic food, and an exciting deep dive into our coastal history. We learned an incredible amount and felt a whole new level of mastering a new skill! This year we want to take you along on the adventure to experience the fantastic food and tradition our beautiful coast has to offer!
If you look at the map of Lofoten, the fishing villages are located like pearls on a string - there is no doubt where the fish and fishermen lived! On this trip, we will sail past some of Lofoten’s famous fishing villages; Henningsvær, Kabelvåg and Svolvær. Perhaps we'll get all the way down to Ballstad. We’ll be surrounded by fishing vessels that fish with nets, lines, or “juksa” - a traditional wheel with several hooks on the line attached. Perhaps there will be an occasional sailboat in between, but these are rare. We will mainly fish with the classic “juksa”, but will also try out fishing rods.
This is the trip for those of you who want to experience fishing, the northern lights, sailing, wildlife and all the majestic scenery Lofoten has to offer, at the most beautiful time of the year. If we’re lucky we’ll get to see the white tailed eagle circling around us looking for prey, whales blowing on the horizon, or the beautiful northern lights dancing in the sky.
Our skilled skipper will take care of the boat handling and show you how to fish, we will also hoist sails and learn about sailing underway. There will be extra crew onboard to offer local knowledge of the area and life in the sea.
As on all our trips, you do not need any prior experience with sailing to participate. Regardless of whether you have a lot, some or no experience with sailing and fishing, we will challenge you and you will learn a lot from this trip.
The trip starts and ends in Svolvær, Lofoten.
On this trip we will use one of our 44 to 50 foot boats, Humla, Bien or Nirvana. Pictures and more info about these boats can be found at the link here.
With the Lofoten mountains plunging straight into the fjord and the sea steaming with fish and boats below, the stage is set for this year's coolest and most remarkable trip!
An experience I will never forget - the feeling of pride and mastery. Pride in ourselves but also in Norway and our fishermen throughout the generations - what a life, what an adventure! The sea holds such wealth. Thanks for the trip - sign me up again next year!
Mathea Born (27)
Day 1: Meeting in Svolvær and first night on board
Welcome aboard! We meet on the dock in Svolvær at 16:00, settle into the sailboat and get to know each other. We get familiar with the boat and go through safety routines on board, and we prepare the fishing equipment for the first fishing day - tomorrow! We make an evening meal on board, but recommend that you have dinner before we start. This is because we want to spend time going through the boat and equipment so we can set off towards the fishing grounds as soon as possible this first evening.
Day 2: What to do without the sea? Carry the boats?
We are ready for our first day of fishing! The voyage to where the fish are takes a couple of hours. Along the way, we try a man-overboard drill and practice for other emergencies. The cod are plentiful both morning and evening so we aim to take advantage of the magical light. We are surrounded by fishing vessels with nets, lines, “juksa” and “snurrevad”. How do we avoid getting caught up in the nets of others? This day we’ll cover how we fish and how we handle the fish when it’s hooked; gaffing, bleeding, gutting and filleting. You will also become an expert on fishing knots. It will be exciting to see what we catch on the first day. This is the dress rehearsal, the real deal starts tomorrow!
Day 3: Henningsværstraumen and delivery of fish
It's time to get serious, and we will get off with a proper fisherman’s start: we head out to the Lofoten Sea in the gray dawn light. We are going out to the fish banks and into Henningsværstraumen, which is the cod's favorite spawning ground. How much fish can we deliver in one day? Who will catch the biggest fish of the trip? And who got the best “haill”? By now we’ve gotten a hang of fishing and today we will focus on catching as much as possible and delivering the catch in Henningsvær. Our record from 2020 was over 450 kg in one day!
Day 4: Enjoy the catch in Henningsvær, and sail in the afternoon to Trollfjorden
We will spend this morning relaxing, with a sightseeing tour among the fish drying racks and art galleries in Henningsvær. For lunch, we make ourselves a tasty traditional fish meal on board! In the afternoon we hoist sails towards Storemolla and Trollfjorden, and if the weather permits when the evening comes, we anchor in one of the beautiful bays around Storemolla. Then, we keep our eyes on the sky and hope for the blazing light show only the northern lights can offer!
Day 5: Trollfjorden and well-home
On the last day of this trip we sail past Trollfjorden - one of the most impressive fjords in all of Norway. Here, we are surrounded by 500 meter high mountains that plunge into the narrow, 100 meter wide fjord. Trollfjorden is located among Lofoten's highest mountain peaks at over 1000 masl. this makes for one of the archipelago's most dramatic landscapes. At lunch we sail back to Svolvær to the tour end and we say goodbye at 16:00.
Changes in the program
The program may change according to weather and conditions, and at least according to where we belive to catch the most fish! But it gives a god indication of how we plan to spend the days. Underway you plan the details with the skipper and crew onboard, and we can assure you an overload og memorable experiences!
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
Travel to and from Svolvær
So, if you have time then take the “Nordlandsbanen” train line to Bodø and the express boat (catamaran) or Hurtigruta (coastal express ferry) from Bodø to Lofoten. But Lofoten is far away for many, and most people end up flying. Then Svolvær is the nearest airport, or you can also fly to Leknes. Flights to Svolvær or Leknes are mostly with a connection in Bodø, and are possible to book through Widerøe, SAS and Norwegian. You can also fly directly from Oslo to and from Harstad/Evenes airport, and then take a bus from there to Lofoten and Henningsvær/Svolvær.
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.
Well in advance of 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 offer good menus with healthy and medium-advanced food. If you have allergies or preferences let us know in the registration form, and we take that into account. During the trip, we also often sail by a good restaurant or two where we stop and eat.
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 :)
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 on this trip
This is a trip for everyone that want to experience Lofoten in winter! And you don't need any prior experience with neither sailing nor fishing to be able to join. But even if you are a salty fisherman or experience sailor we are sure to challenge you underway.
Life on board and accommodation
Life aboard a sailboat is social and pleasant, but for some it can be perceived as quite intimate, 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 in double cabins, some of which have a double bed and some have a bunk bed solution. We try to put girls in a cabin with girls and vice versa, but the puzzle is not always easy so you might as well prepare yourself to share the cabin with one of the opposite sex and rather tell us if it is important for you to share with one of the same sex.
If you want to stay a night on shore under the starry sky or in your own tent, then of course you do it! Any accommodation before and after the trip must be arranged on its own. If you have any doubts about where to stay, we are 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. It will not always be possible to shower every day, but mostly every other day we are either in a harbor with enough fresh water or we sail through a place where we can borrow showers or even better, take a sauna.
What kind of people join this trip - and how many are we on board?
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. The number of participants varies from trip to trip. If we get many participants, we will expand with more boats and skippers.
Environment and sustainability
Sailing are a very environmentally friendly activity in itself, 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 can be said about many other things that one tries to do in a sustainable way.
Minimum number of registered participants
We need a minimum of 5 registered participants to complete this trip. We can see pretty early whether a trip will be confirmed or not. If we have to cancel, you will get the money back and/or offered to join another trip. Since we need a certain number of registered participants to confirm a trip, please do not book your travel (flights, ferry, train, bus etc.) before we have confirmed that we run it.