60,3913 N, 5,3221 E, Bergen, 22.05.17
The Germans wear you down spiritually. They look through you with eyes of ice. It hurts when you see your friends turn their back on you. When you see the girl you loved, kissed in the canteen by a *****. Your heart burns. What has he got that I haven’t? Apart from the muscle that pads out his boiler suit. No-one wants an intelligent man. I sit here sipping coffee in a fishing village café in Bergen. The coffee is hot and my heart aches. Soon we will be making our way up through the fjords to Geiranger. The beautiful fjords that embrace you. There is not so much to bear witness to here. The Gravlax is poor and overrated. Everything is shut. The dreary rain comes down on * A colleague drove me all the way to Hardanger Bridge. The bridge that connects Oslo and Bergen is truly breath-taking. I have seen the Milau Bridge in the South of France, the Somerset Bridge, Clifton Suspension Bridge. However, this is really the highlight of Bergen; unless you are drunk.
17.00 - we leave for G.
62,1008 N, 72059, E, Geiranger, 23.05.17
I wrote to Nan last night. I asked for her guidance. I want everything to be okay with Aline. 05.00 hours I got up to see the Geiranger fjords. They were breathtaking; we passed the Rock God in the cliff face. Or rather; he let us pass. Norway is really a paradise. I think how people only think with their bellies. Helen the nurse abandons us half way up the waterfall. I turn back. The Germans have an acute interest only in themselves. One wonders where love lies. I have found Ole’s café – at the base camp of the waterfall. It is here I feel at home. At this coffee shop I must remember everything properly. I must also forget Helen and how angry she makes me feel. Mr. Edin said: “It’s the system that makes them so. Everyone is born the same.”
62,0861, N, 6,8687 E, Hellesylt, 23.05.17
I hate my life. I hate my inability to fall in love with anyone and anyone to fall in love with me. These days I can’t stand to look at the face that I see in the mirror. Parts of me crumble away to dust. I feel more and more bitterness, in port, towards couples that have found love – to the point of absurdity. Ice-skating; I drift slowly around the rink. It is the only real time I feel complete when I am alone. I see a couple kissing and happy in love. I feel anger and a bitterness burning up within me. Why can’t I find someone that loves me simply? Why do I have to do all this **** – the garbage of personal relationships. Hellesylt is truly beautiful. At least I feel at one with nature; even if I don’t fit in anywhere else.
59,4136 N, 5,2680, E, Haugesund, 24.05.17
The war against fat, like finding love, is ongoing. I always feel I am the loser. I am a loser. I am sat in a coffee shop overlooking the red and yellow houses. I try and chat up the waitress; a beautiful Norwegian blonde. I try and embody the image of a sailor. It works to some extent, but actually only reflects back on myself as a person. The aching has grown less. The coffee helps to balm the dissatisfaction I feel with life; as does the view across the river. There is an English couple opposite. How can you complain with that view out across the river? Twenty-five degrees, surely we must be able to leave our pain behind? I feel myself become more and more alive; back to life. The wounds are healing again. The pain passes.
5,89700 N, 57331, E, Stavanger, 25.05.17
We are going to sit and hammer this out. This book, this journal, bears witness to life. That is its meaning. Why is it so hard to find love and to be loved? I am only an anatomical structure – corruptible, breakable flesh. Stavanger is quite simply a boring town. You can walk from one end to the other in thirty minutes. There is a church; a freedom monument and slated, wooden houses. Yuliana the Belarusian pushes her body onto mine, beneath the Northern Lights like a teddy bear; she hugs me again and again, never letting me go. I kiss her delicately on the ear. She giggles. I can still hear her voice now and the smell of her sweet perfume. Oh, how I burn inside. How many thoughts and feelings wheel in an instant. How capricious this heart is. I must drink another coffee.
59,9139 N, 10,7522,E, Oslo, 26.05.17
I am on the hunt for a Durian fruit in Oslo. My hunt for Hardanger Beer with the appropriate label also continues. We dock right in the centre of Oslo. The sun warms me. Trust me to fall in love with the only lesbian on board. In Oslo’s most popular café, Kaffebereint, I think how I get myself into such situations. Maybe it’s because I love long nails on a woman. She has forgotten her scarf. I should really do more sit up and visit the gym. My feet are too busy wandering. Sauna Night takes place onboard – a reward for all those who helped out at the party below the mooring deck. I serve punch and party the night away. For a while I forget the disappointment of people and the strangeness of my body. Oslo is beautifully serene. I walk in the footsteps of Ibsen. I try and make my writing smaller and smaller so that it is almost like Chinese ideograms. I close the gap. I try to be neater; to be better. I walk along the boulevards of coffee shops, wondering how I can be better.
53,35 N, 8,35 E, Bremerhaven, 28.05.17
I am back home (in home port) from the Nordic Voyage. I need to rest up in Hamburg before embarking on the next adventure to the Northern Cape. 21.06.17 at 1700 hours – Bergen. What else is there to report on as we approach the quaint fishing port of Bremerhaven? Home. Only that my ex-girlfriend from Algiers has given birth to a baby girl; she wrote to me. Two years old. Name: Eline. Letters are wonderful. The waves lap gently at the boat. If you ever thinking about writing a letter, you should; we haven’t spoken for two years and she writes to me, out of the blue, because of a Christmas card she picked up in Dar Es Salaam. That is life; life on a boat; life at sea; life on the breadline. A sailor’s life is a funny thing; full of unpredictability. Even as an enthusiastic merchant sailor I can see the draw of this life. – as tough as I am, what else is there to say? Only that another adventure waits me in Hamburg –
The rest of this transcript, as subsequent potential voyages is lost.
excerpts from my latest book