Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS IT LIKE SAILING IN LOFOTEN NORWAY?
It's so crazy beautiful. The sea is clear as far as you can see to the West, and the mountain ranges to the East are surreal with vast expanses of glacier-carved valleys and small villages perched in places you can't believe people live. The landscapes are filled with color from the emerald and aqua blue water, the green snow capped mountains scattered with wild flowers and sheep in the summer, the rainbow colored sunrise and sunsets with beautiful gold & red forests with endless waterfalls in the autumn, to the white mountains and northern lights in the winter. In the far North above the arctic circle, the weather changes very quickly so be prepared for all kinds of weather from no wind to storms, with a chance of snow, ice, rain, sun and clouds with temperatures ranging from freezing, mild, and warm depending on the season. Everywhere you go, there are many wildlife sightings.
WHAT IS IT LIKE SAILING ON STELLA OCEANA?
Sailing on Stella Oceana gives you peace and comfort to relax and feel safe because the boat is so strong and heavy. It was made to go in the ice and is extremely steady in rough weather. In windy conditions, you can safely sit outside with a thermal suit, or you can go inside in the lovely big saloon and look out the small windows. You can do private emails to your family from the tables inside while enjoying the interior atmosphere which has good lights, good space and is comfortable and warm. When you want to be outside again, you can take a warm drink and take in the scenery and fresh clean air or soak in the hot tub. We always try to visit new places in the evening so you can go to land and check out old history, old houses, old fishing factories, visit shopping centers, have a long walk on the beach, and sometimes the crew might treat you to a local restaurant on land before we go back to the boat. The boat leaves the harbor in the night and you wake up in a new place the next day to the friendly crew that made a beautiful breakfast for you and always thinks the best for you. Then we make a plan together to determine where we will go and what we will do for the day.
WHAT IS THE LOCAL FOOD LIKE?
We source our food from local farmers, bakeries, and establishments. This means some food is only available seasonally and is of high quality. All of our food is lovingly prepared by the crew. We have had many compliments and although they are not art masterpieces, they are delicious. We always cater to anyone with dietary restrictions.
The basic Norwegian breakfast consists of milk, fruit juice & coffee with open sandwiches with meat cuts, spreads, cheese, lingonberry jam, or tube caviar. Soft boiled eggs, bacon and cereals are also popular breakfast foods. A typical lunch consists of a slice of bread topped with pickled herring, sardines, shrimp, ham, olives, cucumber or egg. We also serve salads, pastas and home made creamy fish soup with the catch of the day & bread. Cheese trays, waffles with brown cheese & jam, pastries, fruit and desserts are served in-between meals for a light snack. Our dinner options usually include the following: different versions of cod: røkt torsk (smoked), lutefisk (dried & rehydrated), boknafisk (hang dried), and klipfisk (stone dried & salted); lammesteak (roasted thigh of lamb); Sami bidos (a reindeer stew for special occasions); finnbiff (sautéed reindeer, mashed potatoes & carrots); Ovnsbakt kveite (roasted halibut); and Rekesmørbrød (fresh shrimps over white bread with butter, mayonnaise, & lemon)
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE THERE TO DO?
Besides sailing, relaxing, sight seeing, eating, sleeping, taking photos and walking around small villages, there are a variety activities you can incorporate into your sailing trip. Some options include dog sledding, SUP, kayak, snorkel, free dive, ski, split board, snow shoe, bike, hike, surf, have long walks on the beach, make a beach bonfire, and fishing. Fishing equipment is available onboard, however all other recreational equipment must be brought by the guests. We can help recommend local outfitters and help arrange drop off/pick up of gear if needed.
WHAT WILDLIFE/ANIMALS WILL I SEE?
You never know what you might encounter in the sea, but some common wild animals that we see are harbor porpoises, orca, humpback whales, other whales, seals, white tailed eagles, puffins, migrating birds from all over the world and arctic birds. On land you might see reindeer, moose, horse, sheep, fox, and other farm animals walking around freely.
WHEN AND WHERE CAN I SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS & THE MIDNIGHT SUN?
Northern Norway, above the arctic circle, is one of the very few places in the arctic that is easily accessible and that both natural phenomenon can be observed. Northern lights are best seen between mid September through March and the midnight sun occurs between May through July where the sky is light all day long. The best places to watch for the northern lights are in areas that have low light pollution and clear skies. Subject to weather and solar wind activity, sailing in the night provides a fantastic opportunity to see the northern lights, but as it is a natural phenomena, we can not guarantee that you will see it.
WHAT KIND OF FISH WILL I CATCH?
There are many different kinds of fish in the Norwegian sea, but the most common types of fish are cod, haddock, pollock, halibut, mackerel and red fish.
WILL I GET SEASICK AND WHAT IF I NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION?
We can't guarantee that you won't get seasick, but most people don't experience this discomfort because the boat is so stable. However, in the small chance that you do get seasick, the crew has a lot of experience and can help you so you can enjoy your trip. Northern Norway tends to seem remote and isolated, however, we will always be sailing along the coast where help is never far away. There are local rescue ships and the Norwegian Coast Guard is always operating throughout the entire coast.
WHERE IS THE CREW FROM AND WHAT EXPERIENCE DO THEY HAVE?
We have 2 resident crew members, meaning they are always the designated crew on the boat. The advantage of having resident crew versus constant crew changes on a yacht is that the crew knows the boat and the cruising areas very well. Both live in Norway. The Captain is a local Norwegian and has an international Sea Captain license, the world's highest rank at sea according to the United Nations (UN) International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). He is the only person in all of Norway who has this license and has over 30 years of experience at sea. He speaks Norwegian and English. The Catering and Crew Manager is Japanese American and has a portfolio of experience in business management, food service, and the maritime industry. She speaks English, Japanese, some Norwegian and Spanish. Most of our tours will only have 2 crew members, but there may be some charters where we will have up to 4. All the crew of World Sea Explorers is highly experienced and local in Norway.
ICE CLASS SHIP
Can it break through the ice like in the movies?
It depends on what movie you saw! Stella Oceana has an ice classification of 1c. This means the ship is very safe and can sail through up to 50 cm of ice flows. There are no other Norwegian flagged sailing yachts in Northern Norway that have an ice classification.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT TRAVELING TO NORWAY?
Stella Oceana is based in the town of Svolvær in the Lofoten archipelago within the Vågan municipality which is part of the Nordland county municipality. The nearest airports are Svolvær (6km-taxi), Evenes (163km-bus) and Bodø (250km-boat & bus). The local currency is Norwegian Krone (NOK). No other currencies are accepted but credit cards are accepted everywhere including the taxi and bus. Keep in mind that Norway is not a budget destination. It is one of the most expensive places to travel in Europe. This is due to the tax structure that benefits the social system. Their are 2 official languages in Norway: Norwegian and Sami. Norwegian is by far the most commonly spoken language and like Swedish, Danish and Icelandic, Norwegian is a Germanic language derived from Old Norse. In towns with bigger populations, many Norwegians also speak English. The time zone is Central European Time or UTC/GMT +2 from the last Sunday of March and UTC/GMT +1 from the last Sunday of October. Electrical outlets are types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Norway operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. Some people do not need a visa to visit Norway because they hold a passport from a country that Norway has a visa exemption agreement with. Visit the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration website to learn more. The tap water in Norway and particularly in Northern Norway is of excellent quality. You can drink pure, clean water directly from a tap and a mountain stream, which is a luxury in the world we live in today. Wearing layers of clothing that are wool, down, waterproof, and meant to be worn in cold temperatures below zero is key for your comfort. Hats, gloves, socks and boots are essential. Thermal suits are available onboard. Wi-Fi is available in the airports, hotels, some cafes and onboard Stella Oceana. Personal travel insurance is not required but highly recommended.
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