Call me... Queeqeg

Trip Start Jul 16, 2010
Trip End Dec 25, 2010

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Flag of Norway  , Oslo,
Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday (I've decided day by day is easiest, after all) Win, I and the Polar Bear Swimming Club head up by ferry to Larvik Norway, a port city serving Oslo. By 5:00 PM we are loaded onto our boat, an wooden schooner called the Jens Krogh that is nearly 100 years old, and motor about 30 minutes south where we dock and have a BBQ (salad for me).

Sunday we set sail (or I should say, start motor, since we only really sailed on the last day, having headwinds the rest of the trip, which was fine by me since setting sails was a total PITA as only 2 or 3 people out of 20 on the boat really understood how to do them) for Paradise Cove, which lived up to the name - absolutely beautiful little cove. Lots of good swimming. During dinner on our boat, a couple of girls went up on the cliff opposite our mooring to jump off. We all whistled and jeered til they finally took the plunge - they were obviously terrified. Anyway, after that I couldn't have lived with myself if I didn't jump too. Best not to even look over the edge - as soon as I got up there I jumped. I later measured it with a rope at 39 feet (12 meters). That evening Win and I spent about an hour crossing part of the cove on boulders - I sure miss rock climbing.

Sorry we couldn't stay at PC longer but on we went south along the coast to the next town. First day to be out on the water and I felt rather seasick on waves that were all of about 6 inches high. We finally dock around 5 PM and Win and I go walk the docks, looking at sailboats. Win is Mr. Sociability and manages to get us invited on board one of the nice yachts and we chat with a couple of Belgians named Rudy and Mark. Rudy appears to have made it big with a bra factory selling F plus sizes. Must have been an interesting career...
Miraculously, there are beautiful toilets beside the harbor with free (cold) showers. The token machine is broken though, so I just recycle a couple of tokens through the box and get a luxurious hot shower. I tell Win not to tell anybody about the showers until I've had a chance to jump in - sometimes you've got to fend for yourself. In the event, few people seemed interested. Our group is actually the Limfjorden Polar Bear club, ie crazies who run out and swim in the freezing ocean fjord between steam saunas in the winter. Most seem to prefer a morning swim to a shower. I wash some clothes in the sink which turns green and cloudy, probably algae from all the swimming at PC.
Dropped my beloved Malcolm Gladwell in the water as we were sailing that afternoon but Win managed to save it. I think he was basically just looking for an excuse to dive into the water anyway - undoubtedly a penguin in a previous life. I must add that What the Dog Saw is my 3rd Gladwell, and I've only Outliers left before I'll have to move on to more serious literature (Poisonwood Bible and Tropic of Capricorn).

Tuesday we motor on down to Grimstad (Grim State - nice name for a city!), arriving late afternoon. I take a short stroll about but near the port it is pretty touristy. My plans to abduct an intelligent and beautiful Norwegian chic are coming to naught. No seasickness today, though I still get the spinnies when I set foot on dry land. Today was cool and cloudy, but the weather has been perfect so far. Slept in the park (SBR: -1 - ground a bit hard, sleeping bag too small) next to the harbor since the stench of diesel in the sleeping cabin was too nasty. Fantasizing often recently about sleeping in the Queen size double matressed bed in my P's home in Montana when the trip is over. Fresh sheets, sweet air, countryside quiet...Beds are good. No essay necessary.
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