onsdag 29 december 2010


After arriving to Brisbane, Australia in the end of November me and Karol decided to head out on a few weeks hitchhike trip south, we started right in Brisbane center, Close to stanley st. Some traffic light there and we managed to get a ride on the M3 fairly quickly, a few rides south and Byron bay became our destination that day. That place filled up with tourists, we had an nice evening thought.. Next day heading further south south, caught a couple of rides, mostly waiting between 5 and 15 minutes for a car to stop.
Somewhere around grafton we meet another hitchhiker from Wales, so suddently we are three guys trying to catch a ride on a 80km/h road, not the best odds, but after a few minutes one car stops and we get a 500 km ride with a man that liked to talk.. alot. Set up a tent outside Newcastle and next morning we get to Sydney where we are supposed to stay with a couchsurfer. Before that we almost get mugged by a guy with a knife in a park, long story short, a dutch guy saved us(and he also gave me a job the following day, how about that?! Thanks Meindert!) A few nights at gabs place, in Bondi, true couchsurf appartment. After a few days and goonsacks later we head for blue mountains, spend some days hiking and looking at views. Beautiful.
We ask a man where we can set up a tent in Wentworth falls and we end up staying for free for two nights in his Bed and breakfast(a house for ourselves, food in the fridge, thank you Ian!) Hitch down to canberra and have a fun night out with backpacks and everything, end up setting up a tent right in City hill(the pumping heart/roundabout/picknick park of the city), good night sleep. Spend some hours trying to get out of canberra, walking, walking, short ride and bang its allready dark. Now who would pick up two guys in the outskirts of canberra in the dark(reflective wristband) A 70+ year old woman, very kind of her, Almost hits a kangaroo on the road and takes us to Cooma. Setting up the tent for a cold night in the old courthouse's garden. Next day we slowly manage to make it to Thredbo and the Kosciuszko National park. Our month long goal, to climb the massive mountain, the peak of Australia(its just a hill ( 2228 m)) Spend one night half way up, and in the morning walks up to what they call the top. Then down, finished.

Hitching towards the coast, we are about to split up, karol is heading south then to Adelaide then to Alice springs(where he is on his way as im writing this i guess) Im heading back to Brisbane for christmas. However we get a ride with Cal, who convinces us to come with him to his mothers partners farm outside Tathra, seems like a fun place and we go with him, spend some great days with great people, eating good food, fishing, surfing, riding. From there i continue alone, North. Get a ride with David and his wife who invites me to stay in their house in Jervis bay, beautiful place and nice people, thanks for the beers! Next morning up to Sydney where i stay with two girls i met hitchhiking, Thank you Rachel and Caiti, Some nice days, drawing and relaxing..

North again, aiming for Coffs harbour to search for a job but end up going inland, Walcha-Armidale(cold cold up there, standing in thsirt waiting for the ride when sun is coming down, cold wind. Some kids try to help me get a ride, wants to bring me back a sandwich but i get a ride before they return) Small kangaroo filled roads to Grafton, hunger, mashed potatoes, dodgy tentspot. On my way to Coffs harbour again, feels wrong going south, walks over the road, ask a man in a bus/motorhome if he can take me abit north, he takes me for several hours and offers me a job. For one and a half day i were digging holes for a fence in Kyogle, putting in poles, cement. Rain is on its way and i decide to hitch back to Brisbane on the 23rd of December. rain for a week. Me and Lukasz make christmas food. Drink a bit of goon. Now new years, we're having a party.

Happy new year!
My tent in Grafton
Karol on the way up Kosciuszko..

Two german hoolahoop girls and Henrik juggling, byron bay(photo Karol)
Possum, canberra
Karol hitching towards Sydney

The boats, Gibraltar - Australia

Nekton(Poland), April - December 2010
Vancouver - San fransisco - Polynesia - Melanesia - Australia

Mission(Spain), March 2010
Martinique - (..) - St Martin

Kirha(France), January - March 2010
Las palmas - Cape Verde - Martinique

Suca(Canada), December 2009
Gibraltar - Morocco - Las Palmas

torsdag 25 november 2010

Tahiti -> Australia

After leaving Sweden over a year ago my travels has taken me to Australia and the trip with s/y Nekton sailing from Canada to Australia is over for this time , iam at the moment in Brisbane. We are anchored right in downtown, by the botanical gardens. After spending 7.5 months on the sea and pacific islands we are a bit shocked by the speed and size of the city..

As usual updates on this blog is slow, I wrote one blog entry for Nektons blog some time ago, im just copying that entry to this blog and adding a few pictures from various pacific islands. Now i have to work a bit here in Australia, make a little bit of money to continue the trip..

Fiji -> Vanuatu

As usual a lot of adventures have taken place since you last heard from us, Starting in Fiji, in Vuda point, a marina in the middle of nowhere with a daily burning hot desert sun and nightly mosquitos (maybe malarial) with no mercy. To this lovely place a few guests arrived to the boat Srogi, Daniel, Gosha and Pablo. They were going with Lukasz to Yasawa group, islands west of Viti Levu. Karol, Tobias and me (yes this is Henrik writing blog today, hello) were going traveling on our own on Viti Levu. Me and Karol head out together going south to Nadi, spend some days on the countryside with an Indian family we happened to meet. We head south to Kulukulu village south of Sigatoka and spend the night there planning to camp among the sand dunes but the weather got rough and we were invited to stay for free at an homestay.
Karol was leaving the next morning but I stayed to surf(Fiji's only beach break). Planning to stay for just a few days, but the small amount of money I brought is one day missing and I end up staying over a week working in the garden for food and shelter.

Returning to Vuda point to meet the boat a week later I'm happy to be back and hear about how the others spent their 10 days. Lukasz, and the guests had good times in the Yasawas and Mamanuca island groups. Karol and Tobias spent a nice time hitching around separately, staying in villages with people around Suva and the interior, but those stories are for them to tell and not me. We head for Lautoka to check out and say goodbye to Gosha and Pablo who were flying back to Canada. After a few sips of Bounty rum(Locally brewed, very very dangerous) Me, Karol and Pablo head out in the evening to see what a friday night in Lautoka(la vida loca) has to offer. We visit a few more or less fancy places until we decide it's time to go home, all was good and fun except it seemed like Pablo's hat had gone mysteriously missing.

Bye bye in the morning and we head out to open ocean where the waves were more uncomfortable than usual. Nekton is rocking back and forth for
3.5 days until we finally, 27th of october, arrive to Vanuatu, a beautiful island called Tanna (flaming lava and spitting kava).

We spend a couple of days in Port Resolution (named after captain Cooks ship which anchored there back in the days). It's a nice place, yes quite
amazing and people are friendly, we were given a lot of gifts, fruits and vegetables (plenty of cassava, a root cooked somewhat like a potato and tastes yummy)
One day we head for the Volcano, it's a bumpy 1.5 hour drive on the back of a pickup, the parking lot is just some 100 m from the top and stairs leading up to the smoking crater. There we stood at the crater watching Mt Yasur burp flaming hot lava up in the air and occasionally giving a thunder that would scare any action hero. Stayed until dusk to get most out of the natural firework and then finding the dark path back to the parking lot. Another 1.5 bumpy ride back on a road that probably has more holes than flat surfaces. One night we get the pleasure to try the local Kava with a village chief, in Vanuatu, especially in Tanna they prepare it a bit differently than Fiji. One or two persons chews the dry roots of the plant (Piper Methysticum) until it's completely mashed, then he spits the mash into a cloth, water is added, the cloth is squeezed carefully, ready to drink! As we were sitting around a hardly burning fire in the darkness listening to the strange throat and spitting sounds that our kava preparers were making we did feel a bit uneasy but when we were served we drank happily, the taste was nice(quite nice at least) and for sure kava in Vanuatu is about 10x stronger than in Fiji. In Fiji we could drink up to 30 cups in one night and only feel slight effects, here 3 were enough to give quite a spin.

Left for an overnight sail to Erromango, next island north. Spent some days there, rainy relaxed days and nights. Some fishing, some snorkeling. Visited a cave with human bones, spooky skulls, descendants from the time when people enjoyed eating human meat once in a while. Next stop was Port villa, the pumping heart of vanuatu (not too pumping thought) plenty of taxfree stores and resorts around the island, a lot of tourists. The market was nice but limited and surprisingly more expensive than the one in Fiji. Just a short stop there and we headed north west. Anchored in a quiet bay close to Port villa and next day managed to get a mooring for free outside a resort, the lines looked like spaghetti of sewing thread but it held for the night. Dressed ironically up with our fanciest clothes and had one beer at the resort together with all honeymooners(740 USD for one night on this resort wtf).

Moved on north to the small island of Nguna, where we went on a steep hike up an extinct volcano with a man named Shem and his kids. Once on the top the SE wind was blowing hard through the high grass and we enjoyed the view of Efate and Epi. The way down were almost steeper and we were all terrified of the wild cow! Shem and his kids prepared for a possible wild-(and certainly)-mad-cow attack with stones and sharp sticks but luckily we only saw tracks of the beast..

It was time to head back for Port villa cause Srogi and Daniel had to catch the plane back to Canada so we sailed back and prepared ourself for a big goodbye party. The following ingredients is a good recipe for a successful goodbyeparty-in-port-vila-soup:

3 Bags of taxfree booze, carefully sealed not to be opened before departure(successfully opened)
6 guys dancing on the boom of Nekton (Safety "danceline" attached)
2 bars(Voodobar, Elektrorock)
1 barefoot Daniel
1 rumour about a streetfight
X amount of Australian and PNG girls
1 lost flipflop

Bring to boil, add a few more beers, stir, ready to serve!

Our Crewmember since Niue, Tobias '2beers' was forced to leave us in Port villa due to visa problems for Australia(1 year holiday visa). When we left him on the dock in Port villa he had already found a cargo boat to sleep in for free and had started dating a market girl who was selling bananas and coconuts, we are sure he will be fine. So on the 14th of November we left Port villa early in the morning with Australia as next stop. We are now 6 days into the trip and have about 400 miles to go. Yesterday we caught a big Mahi mahi, measured 1.5 m. He was fighting, even after a shot with the speargun(to lift him onboard) in the head he was jumping like a furious rabbit overdosed on caffeine, first after 5 hits with the back of the machete his magnificent colors faded to white. And there was silence.
Now we'll have Mahi mahi for breakfast lunch and dinner for 4 days.

At the moment the wind is light.. we're moving about 3 knots.. But the Captain, the clouds, the stars and the weather forecast are promising wind this evening, so it will come for sure. Please, wish us wind without waves.

Sincerly Henrik 'Batman' Gard

By the way, the reason I'm writing this instead of Lukasz as usual, is because all the fish we've been eating since caught that Mahi mahi has turned Lukasz half into a fish! Believe it or not but his fingers are at the moment fins and gills are starting to appear. He has some problems typing on the keyboard. The reason I'm still remaining human might be because I'm from Scandinavia were we eat a lot of fish. Hopefully entering Australia will work out fine even with a merman as a captain.

Karol with Dorada

Sandalwood plantation Erromango, Vanuatu

Port resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu

Nguma, Vanuatu

Mt Yasur, Tanna, Vanuatu

Henrik on Coconut, Tanna

Anchorage in Neiafu, Tonga
Lukasz pushing Karol and stone, Niue
Bob marsters with family + Team Nekton(Boys from Szczecin), Palmerston island

måndag 26 juli 2010

Marquesas, Tuamotus, Tahiti

We spent some 10 days in Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, Enjoying this beautiful island and waiting for Captains father with wife, brother and cousine. Went to the northeast for a few days and then continued to Oa pou for a few days, incredible island.. Always to short time.. continued to the Tuamotus, managed somehow to miss the sun eclipse. Stayed a few days in Fakkarava, atolls are something special.. Theres just to much to write about theese places. Beautiful and friendly people. We are now in Tahiti there we will stay for a week or so more, waiting for some more relatives of the captain to join us for a few weeks.. Papeete is a big city with polynesian measurements, very different from the other islands we visited, but i like it. Im looking forward to go hitchhiking or surfing.. enjoy
Nuku Hiva

Miss Oa Pou

Victoria - San Fransisco - Marquesas islands

So we left Victoria and Canada on the 12th of may. It was cold, yes very cold acually. Afer a few days we decided to make a stop in San fransisco cause Rory felt sick and decided not to continue the trip.. Some 5 - 6 days from Victoria we ran into a nasty storm(or it ran into us acually) Up to 60 knots of wind and crazy big waves, the night was pitch-black and waves were constantly splashing over the deck and us. With the morning light the wind died down but the waves were still huge monsters.

Stora mörka havet brusar och ryter

Lilla båten guppar mellan vågor som bryter

A few days later we arrived in San fransisco.. I had still my stamp from the hitch across and it was valid(US dont give exit stamps) We stayed a few days in San fransisco and loaded up the boat with cheap wine and beer. Met with our friend Kuba and my friend Tim who happend to be there.. The last night in SF was interesting but that story is not for the internet.

25th of May we are leaving San fransisco for the big crossing to Polynesia, now just the three of us, Lukas, Karol and me. What to write about it,, its just routine,, took us 28 days finally.. The first week the winds were not very stable, it was acually first south of the equator we were getting good winds and could make some nice miles.. Caught a couple of fishes, Dorada, Tuna, Wahoo.. One sunny morning, the 21th of june to be exact we see something that looks like an island and later that afternoon we arrive to Taiohae, Nuku hiva!

Golden gate bridge yeah

A Wahoo that liked our bait

The Equator celebration

tisdag 11 maj 2010


Been here about 5 weeks now preparing some stuff on the boat. Staying outside Vancouver, in the center of Vancouver, Granville island, been out on shorter trips around here, beautiful. "Nekton" 13 meter steel boat, built in Poland some 20+years ago. At the moment we're in Victoria, this is the last stop. In a few hours we sail towards the Marquesas islands, its about 3500 nautical miles, should take between 30 and 45 days. Me, Lukas, Rory and Karol. Then awaits months of cruising around in Polynesia, arriving in Australia in November or December..

All is good.

Across America

Arriving in Miami i expected a quite complicated border procedure but it went quite smooth.. I took a commuter train a few stations and directly start hitching north, got a ride quite fast, just when the rain were starting to bother me. A girl had stopped and she were very friendly, the perfect first ride in a new country, she provided me with some food for the trip and i spend a few hours with her and her friends, getting a ride to a gasstation in the evening. Took me some hours but finally got a ride north. A couple of hours driving, i end up on a gasstation somewhere outside Orlando. Its getting late 2 - 3 in the morning. I still want to continue, atleast make it out of Florida but there my luck ends and a policeman askes me what im doing,

- Im hitchhiking i say with a happy smile.
- You cannot do that here he replies, its illegal on the turnpike. How did you get here bla bla bla, ends up with him saying
- I have to drive you to the next onramp, you cannot be on the turnpike.

He takes me a couple of onramps further and leaves me in the dark and quiet onramp. I try for some hour to get a ride but the cars are few and looks suspicious on me. Luckily there is a forest closeby and i set up my tent and wake up some some hours later with the sunrise realizing in such a beautiful leaf forest i am in, oranges growing wild..

Takes me some hours to get the first ride, the sun is hot and im almost out of water(only some cocacola the friendly gasstation clerk gave me the night before) Finally i get a ride, ending up a bit off track, i dont really wanna use the turnpike again, ending up in the same situation as the night before. Walking along the road, a smaller one, going north. I realize hitchhiking along the roadside in these areas is not easy. motorhomes, retired people, motorhomes, retired people who looks at me like im crazy and would never think of stopping. Walking, meeting some people selling strawberries along the road. After some time there and some mouldy strawberries they offer me to give me a ride, ending up in a gasstation and getting a ride quite quickly, the first truck in America, A guy from Georgia, Takes me to the border of Georgia that evening. A big truckstop. There i meet two older men trying to hitchhike to Alabama. In the last week they have made something like 200km, having long long waits between rides cause of their appearance. I spend the evening trying to get a ride with another truck, its getting late and i have problems finding a place to sleep, the forest that looked nice from distance is a swamp and have signs "WARNING ALLIGATORS". Finally i find a secret place to sleep, between some bushes. The next morning i get a ride north, a truckdriver making a truck delivery to Wisconsin, I go with him for several days all the way to St Louis outside Chicago. At this point i have given up hitchhiking with the cars, just jumping from truckstop to truckstop. There are some difficulties thought, some gasstation dont like when you ask the drivers and i even got yelled at from angry managers a few times. A safer way is to keep a low profile and holding a sign outside the truckers entrance, saying hello and talking to people.

In St louis i waited a couple of hours holding a sign saying "west". Got an absolutely amazing ride, two Canadian truck drivers driving in shifts.More or less non stop Quebec - Los Angeles. They offered me a ride to L.A, well, would be quicker route stopping in Cheyenne or Salt lake city, and go north from there but this long comfortable ride i just could'nt say no to, 44 hours, 3000 km. Nice ride with friendly people, i could sleep in the top bunk, they had food and everything in the truck. We only stopped about once a day for fuel..

Six days had passed and i were outside L.A just having some 2000 km to go to Vancouver. Went a bit slower suddently, got a couple of rides with trucks, some with cars. Snowstorm in Northern california, Rain in Oregon and Washington. One cold night in northern California the gasstation ladies let me sleep in the gasstation for some hours, the night was cold and the trucks few. Getting a longer ride to Portland, Now very close to the border, and so the speed of the hitchhiking is slower. Washington was the most complicated state to hitch in, There its forbidden to stand on the onramp to the highway. Got an angry policeman telling me that if i was caught one more time on the onramp in the state of Washington I would end up in jail(i didn't really believe him). Tried to avoid the onramps, had to use them a couple of times thought, hoping i would'nt get caught again.

In Seattle, or outside Seattle in a empty gas station between the highways i felt a bit stuck, met some people and went with them to the city for some beers, The first city i acually went in to and saw the downtown. Got hosted in a big house and got a ride north the day after. Very close to the border but only getting short 10 km rides. Until finally 10 km before the border i get a ride with a Canadian man who takes me across the border and to Vancouver, or Shelter island, where s/y Nekton were waiting. 9 days across USA, ~7000 km


Arriving in Martinique, Le marin. We expected the place to be full of energy and parties cause of the hundreds of boats anchoring and in the marina, but when arriving and taking the first steps on soil after 26 days we got a bit disappointed and ending up in a empty pizzeria with a expensive beer each. After a few days things felt better and we met many friends and enjoyed some good days. I were looking for a boat to go north, or to Panama, i had not really decided but finally found a big catamaran,(Sunreef 19 m) with a friendly Spanish captain, David. Another 5-6 days in Martinique before departure north. Next stop Dominica for a few days, much more interesting than Martinique. How can it be described,, a bit wilder perhaps. The nature more amazing and green. Met some nice people there.. Continued to Guadeloupe, or Les saints to be more precise, stayed only for some hours before sailing towards Antigua. In the morning we see Montserrat, the volcano there had an eruption some 20 days earlier. The big mountain were smoking and solid rivers of grey lava had reached the sea. The abandoned city of Plymouth probably looked the same, empty and grey.

17th of march, Arriving to Antigua, strange place , big boats, british people, party. Some beautiful beaches, bumped in to some familiar faces here and there, people i had met in Canaries or Kap verde months before. Few days in Antigua, seeing some beautiful beaches, snorkling and that kind of stuff people usually do in the Carribean. Spending some time, and time goes fast. Its allready the middle of march, i should be in Vancouver helping the others with the boat, still down here where days goes like hours. Few days later we sail to St. martin, final destination for me with the luxurous catamaran, the others are crossing the atlantic back to spain. I spend a week or so in St. Martin, meet some people, many late nights and more early mornings. Trying to find a boat going to Bahamas, there i planned to get the visa to US(needed when arriving with a private yacht) However it seems like the embassy in Bahamas is only for the locals, i need to go to Barbados or Trinidad to get the visa.. Impossible, there is no time for that, going south again, no way. I end up making a hard decicion, a kind of failure, but there is no other way. I take a flight from St.Martin to Miami. Saying goodbye to the captain and the crew, leaving in a few hours. First flight since 2007 and i hope hope for several years until the next one.

Atlantic Crossing in 7 pictures

The crossing went well, took us abit longer than we expected but it was good times, after a few weeks at sea nothing is complicated and one see's time in a different perspective. 26 days from Kap Verde to Martinique.

onsdag 3 februari 2010

Some days ago in Santo Antao.

Leaving for the crossing today, about 20 days to cross to Martinique.

Ha det bra :-)

10 January - 3 February Canaries -> Kap verde

Very little time, so this will be a short summary and some pictures. (Mindelo)

It took us 7.5 days from the south of Gran canaria to Kap verde, we arrived to Sao Nicolao, spent some days in a small village, Carrical. Very nice place, relaxed. Made some day trips around the island. The biggest city, Tarrafal, is'nt very big. Nice atmospehere. There we meet Malick from Senegal and he comes sailing with us to Sao Vicente, Mindelo. Hanging around in Mindelo, also nice place, here is the only Marina, but very expensive so we're anchoring. Quite many boats.. Some days ago we went to Santo Antao to see the nature, amazing place, mountains and small villages. Tried some hitchhiking but very few private cars here, mostly minibusses and shared taxis. Last days we've been stocking up for the crossing. Some crew changing, finally we will be 3 people on Kirha crossing, Philip, Thomas and me.