In the last few days two landmarks have been passed.
Three days ago I sailed away from the island of Loppa in Norway's Finnmark region and eventually made land at Seglvik in the Troms region. There was a sense of achievement at having sailed Finnmark. It's big - the size of Denmark - and parts of it are truly arctic in a biological sense - in that the warming influence of the gulf stream is less than further west. And having come through the wintry weather at expedition start there is a sense of privilege at having been gifted the opportunity to sail this unique part of Europe's coastline, and to have tasted (a little bit) the conditions that grip it for most of the year.
I will look back on and miss Finnmark, and the profound solitude and closeness to nature experienced.
And yesterday was another landmark. After an initially difficult day that included heavy winds and - a while after that - being becalmed on an ugly sea, I finally moved south of my starting location at Grense Jakobselv - the border hamlet where Norway meets Russia. Three weeks of chipping away - just doing what seems sensible and safe - and occasionally being bold to get round or across a difficult bit - a preparedness for the long haul - and a respectable dent on the map has been made.
So I'm now in Troms, going south, beautiful weather, and with the landscape exploding into summer. Spring has been bypassed this year. It's gone from snowy and subzero to 24 hour blue skies and genuinely hot, all in a matter of hours. It is truly glorious.
A short clip above of some short-lived but joyous sailing conditions heading up Sørøsundet. When sailing a coastline the local conditions are constantly changing. The fjords and mountains channel, block and bend wind and turn every day into a challenge. This day, for example, started with a paddle to reach the wind line. The nice planing conditions lasted for 30 minutes, and then there was an increasingly slow crawl to reach the target of some distant mountains. At 15km the mountains seemed close, but a lower shoreline would be below the horizon at that distance. The last few miles the mountains blocked the wind entirely and recourse to paddling got me to shore.