august 16 - 23. august 2023
Sailing trips combined with cool activities such as climbing, beach cleaning, skiing, fishing, or hiking are what we consider to be the ultimate active holiday, and the ultimate way to experience Northern Norway! On this trip we will launch SailNorway’s newest tour concept: Freediving & Sailing! Join what will be an unforgettable adventure both above and below water, where we use the boat as our homebase around the skerries and the fjords in Helgeland and Salten. A week full of experiences and learning, where the sea will be explored in every way!
We start with the basics of freediving on this trip. During the first two days, our skilled instructor gives us all a thorough introduction and goes over the basic skills in the art of freediving. This way we will have all reached a level that will allow us to explore more places underwater throughout the week. This trip is suitable for both those of you who have dived a lot before, and will experience freediving in some of the most beautiful surroundings our country offers, both above and below water. But the trip is also for those of you who may have only tried freediving once or twice, and are curious to explore this activity more!
This is an experience where we combine sailing and freediving. You’ll get both a fantastic sailing experience and a holiday along one of Norway's most beautiful coast areas: Helgeland and Salten. In addition, we free dive in both known and unknown places. Sailing around with a sailboat is the best way to travel along the coast, and it is not only fun, but also very convenient. With the sailboat as our base, we are flexible and will be able to reach many places that are otherwise inaccessible. We also sail past our favorite ports and piers on the trip.
As on all our trips, you will learn to sail, be challenged, and ultimately leave with both a feeling of mastery and memorable experiences for life! If you are a first-time traveler, we will turn you into a seamna/woman as soon as possible, and if you are more experienced, you will quickly be challenged and get more responsibility.
Our experienced skipper will take care of the sailtraning, instructing and navigation. While our freediving instructor Vidar Holmen will take you through the freediving ABC and beyond. We start with some theory before we jump in the wetsuits and try it out on shallower water before we sail on to explore more advanced locations!
Vidar Holmen are originally from Harstad, here in Northern Norway, but is living in Oslo. Already as a teenager he started with diving, and was attending a yearly diving class at a school in Lofoten. He was working 20 years as a profetional diver in the Norwegian navy, but had after this a longer period away from diving. Then after fighting against a serios cancer in 2015, he picked up his love for the underwater world again. Now he is again diving as much as he can, and are even competing in freediving as deep as possible. Vidar has today the Norwegian record in APNEA deep diving and beat 6 Norwegian records in 2022!
If you want to experience the best this area has to offer, then this is the trip for you! On our trips you get the variety and combination of pleasant evenings in the boat, hefty seas, mountains, and diving experiences!
On this trip we will use our sailboats Humla/Bien. Pictures and more information about our boats can be found here.
I have been diving all over the world, but I have still not found anywhere more beautiful to dive than here at home in Northern Norway! I am really looking forward to share the magnificent experiences of the underwater world here with you!
Vidar Holmen (Freediving instructor)
Day 1: Welcome onboard in Bodø
We meet in Bodø at 16:00. Once onboard the boat we get to know the other participants and the crew. Before we start sailing we go through the boat and the equipment on board, and we go over basic sailing theory and sail-handling. We also look at the schedule for the week and adapt our itinerary to the weather forecast and expected conditions. Eventually we cast off and start the trip by sailing northwards towards Arnøy and Fugloy where we dock for the night.
Day 2: Freediving ABCs
After breakfast we go through basic freediving theory and safety when we dive. We have crystal clear water right on the outside of the boat, and throughout the day we will test the equipment. With good wetsuits and the right equipment, it won’t be cold and it will be comfortable to be in the water for a long time! This day we use the waters just around where we are at the quay, and stay in simple and clear areas to practice. Those who have not dived so much before will receive good follow-up and guidance, while those who are more experienced may explore a little more. After a good session in the water, we get warm and dry onboard before we sail further south. If conditions allow, we sail all the way to Rødøy, where we stay for the night.
Day 3: Freediving and hiking on Rødøy
After breakfast we start the day with a new session in the water. Rødøy is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, which are a great starting point for our diving. Here we can easily test how deep we manage to get, as the bottom gradually slopes downwards. Those who get the deepest may even be able to pick scallops and crabs, which we can feast on at dinner later! Here on Rødøy, the well-known Rødøyløva towers over the beautiful beaches, and those who are interested can take the scenic hike to the top. If the weather is nice this evening, we will sail a little north again to the skerries around Bolga or Støtt, and anchor here for a wonderful night!
Day 4: Diving around the islands by Støtt
Støtt is a beautiful fishing village, which consists of a huge number of islands, islets and reefs. This morning we might sail to Støtt, if we did not make it all the way the previous night. At Støtt we will take the dinghy, and explore some of the islets here. Depending on what the weather allows, we hope to dive around this beautiful archipelago. In the evening we might stop by Støtt Brygge's restaurant, where we can enjoy something from their rich wine list and seasonal menu.
Day 5: Sailing to Saltfjorden
This will be a full sailing day where we begin to work our way north again. Now we really get to practice and put together everything we have learned so far about sailing. We eat lunch along the way. We might also take out the fishing equipment, and see if we can catch today's dinner. After a full day at sea, it will be good to come to port and we have a quiet evening with dinner on board.
Day 6: Underwater hunting with harpoon and sling
Free diving is both a very great nature experience and activity, but also an excellent way to hunt and gather underwater. We have already tried this with diving for shells and crabs, but today we will also take both harpoon and sling under water, to see if we can also catch a fish or two. Underwater hunting can be challenging: it requires both patience and practice, so while we cannot count on this, we’ll hope to have some good underwater hunters in the group and enough luck to catch our own dinner today too!
Day 7: Saltstraummen, the diving mecca of the North
This day will be our ultimate test: have we all become good enough to dive into the world-famous Saltstraumen, the world's strongest tidal current? Such a dive is very advanced due to the current, but these currents also make for bustling underwater life. Depending on the tidal conditions and the group, we will find a suitable place in the area around Saltstraumen, for a great end to an eventful week! In the afternoon we hoist our sails again, and set course back towards Bodø. What a well-deserved end to the week!
Day 8: Goodbye for this time!
After a nice breakfast on the boat, and a discussion of what freediving equipment you might want to get yourself, we end the trip at 10:00 in Bodø. From the guest harbor where we dock it’s a short way to either the train station or the airport. Thank you for joining us on this unforgettable adventure!
The program should be seen as a starting point that we adapt to weather and conditions. We also reserve the right to constantly change and improve our itineraries. On board with us we will always have a dinghy for beach trips and small expeditions, fishing gear for cod, and gear to hike or make bonfires on the beach - we are ready for adventure! Are you?
Trip deposit and payment
You only pay deposit (NOK 6000) at booking, the rest is due 60 days before departure.
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.
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 crewmembers on board.
Mountain hikes and alpine/backcountry trips involves a certain risk, as does sailing. However, we as an operator, and our skippers and guides, do everything we can to minimize the risk in a professional manner. Everyone gains on this and we have no one to lose. Feel free to contact us to discuss risk.
Safety and risk - freediving
Our freediving instructor has a high focus on safety. We will adapt the program and the diving based on the weather conditions, and we set up the underwater sessions to suit the level of the group.
Level of this trip
Sailing-wise the trip is not particularly difficult, and you are very welcome to join no matter what sailing experience you have! If you are a beginner, we would like to make you a sailor as soon as possible, and if you are experienced you will have responsibility and greater challenges. You will contribute to the sailing, cooking and operation of the boat on this trip.
For free diving on this trip, we will start with the basics and build up technique and experience along the way. You have to be able to swim, and it is an advantage if you love to swim and be in the water. You do not need to have a lot of prior freediving experience for this trip, and we will practice everything from safety to breathing techniques and swimming along the way. If you are a seasoned freediver, who lives as much below the water as above, this trip is for you too! If you have more experience, our instructor will challenge you at your level.
Before departure, we recommend that you ensure that you are able to equalize pressure in your ears. Hold your nose while blowing weakly with it, so that you feel a pop sound coming in both ears. If you can do this without much effort, there is a great chance that you will have an awesome experience with us underwater!
We provide the necessary freediving equipment for those who need it via our partner, Frivannsliv. If you have your own equipment that you are comfortable with and accustomed to, you are welcome to bring it along. If you have any equipment yourself, but are missing something, we can help you out, and we will ask everyone to report which equipment they need to borrow from us well in advance of the start of the tour. You will also receive a packing list for the trip before the start of the tour. We will also ask to be given the height and weight of all participants, in order to bring the right equipment.
For sailing, you need something waterproof and windproof on the outside, and a proper layering system underneath. Our best tip for the wettest days is to wear oilskins. Even in summer it can be cold at sea, so bring both swimwear and plenty of warm clothes and wool. In good time before departure, we will send you a detailed recommended packing list for the 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. During the trip, we also often sail by a good restaurant or two where we stop and eat. 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. If you want to stay a night on shore under the starry sky or in your own tent, then of course you can 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 might 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. On most trips we sail more boats in a fleet, with 7-9 people onboard each boat.
ECO, 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.