Category Archives: 2015 08 NORWAY – North

Cruising Norway: Heading south PART IV


Monday, August 10

Lumpy day of rock-rolling seas got us to Haholmen where SILA also had decided to land. A shared dinner and laughs with Christopher, Molly, Porter and Jack, then back to JUANONA where we once again so appreciated our summer in Norway.

Tuesday, August 11

We awoke to a beautiful day and decided to stay to wait out a heavy forecast of winds on Wednesday. SILA’s friends on another boat had arrived the night before, and both boats took off for a more southerly harbor.

Asking about diesel got Max a ride on a Viking taxi, a replica of SAGA SIGLAR, a boat that was sailed around the world in the mid-80s by 37-year-old Ragnar Thorseth with a crew of seven.

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Can you tell he was a happy sailor? :)

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Plus, the nice guy who captained the taxi and looked like Daniel Craig also showed us the conference room, which told more of Thorseth’s adventures.

The ship’s design followed a 1,000-year old Viking boat that was found in 1959 at the bottom of a Danish fjord.

Not someone shy of challenges, Thorseth had also rowed across to Lerwick at age 20, sailed around the world in a fishing boat at age 28, and at age 35 led a Norwegian expedition to the North Pole.

We saw both that row boat hanging from the ceiling of a conference room

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as well as the salvaged hull of the Viking boat that had sunk off the coast of Spain in 1992 (There had been several replicas of the Viking ship off cruising.). The life-saving zodiac was also on display as thankfully no one was lost during that storm.

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This complex was a beautiful one, and had been sold some years ago to become part of the Classic Norwegian Hotels.

And, we weren’t the only ones enjoying the scenery and hospitality. Some ad folk were here to shoot a Ford commercial. Evidently an iconic bridge had become a popular photo op for car commercials. A Ferrari spot was being shot using the same bridge next week.

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In addition to the television crew there were vacationeers wandering about and another boater named Kjetil who was sailing and rowing down the coast of Norway. He wasn’t the same guy we met in Tranoy in mid July, which leads me to believe this is a somewhat popular pastime. He joined us for a late night and just said he was taking some time enjoying the coast. I can think of other ways to enjoy the summer coastline.

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Wednesday, August 12

We woke to a very windy day with rain off and on, which confirmed our decision to stay put.

Max said we might as well splurge on a good breakfast at the hotel (yogurt and fruit can be a tad bit monotonous), and so we did – our 2nd and last shoreside meal in Norway.

That meal was the highlight of the Wednesday as we drifted through the day and had an early night.


Thursday, August 13

The day dawned sunny and we headed off to Ona leaving behind this wonderful retreat.

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Ona is a very small town with a pottery store and a gallery on the connected island, Husoya,  and several light houses. We had first seen this island as we sailed by her the night we left Alesund to head to the Lofotens June 23rd.

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We walked to the cemetery on Husoya where, along with some birds, appreciated the bright day and warm weather.

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ALCHEMY had mentioned sea-tossed rocks, and we duly noted how strong the waters must have been to create such a pile so far from the waterline.

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Back on Ona  we climbed the short path to one of the lighthouses, then did some R&R in the sun.

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Friday, August 14

Moving south we headed off to Runde and met up with Sila. We arrived a bit too late for walking around but did appreciate a shower at the new environmental center.

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At night another sailboat came in and ended up rafting next to SILA.

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In conversation with him a decision was made to stick close to the coastline when crossing the Stadt, a jutting fist of land just south of Runde.

The combination of current and winds around this infamous headland make it one of which all boaters are very respectful, thus we were planning a careful navigation of this part of the coast. Norway is even considering making a tunnel through the point, a reflection of how dangerous they consider it.

Back aboard we found a communication from our friend Kjetil in Alesund, asking if we wanted to go trout fishing at a cabin. Would we ever! Unfortunately, we were gearing up for crossing back to Scotland, thinking we’d be doing it any day now, so had to pass on the invitation.

We were so sorry to have missed being with him. Not only would it have been fun to go trout fishing but, more, it would have ben even more wonderful to share time with him. Thankfully, Norway isn’t too, too far from the UK coast, so we hope to see him within the year. At least we have a lovely reminder of him as his sailing club’s burgee hangs in our main cabin.


Saturday, August 15

We left Runde to head to our last port, Maloy, where we’d load up with diesel and provision for our crossing.

Fortunately, the forecasted wind wasn’t bad nor was the current for rounding Stadt.

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We took snaps of SILA under full-sail while they took some of us.

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We waved good-bye to Christopher, Molly, Porter and Jack as they continued on to another anchorage, and we stopped off in Maloy.

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We took on diesel at the Shell station

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then crossed to the marina and hopped off JUANONA to provision. Walking down the main street we noticed American flags interspersed with Norwegian ones. Wondering if today was some sort of joint celebration, we discovered it was ‘Elvis weekend’ here.  And, as we mentioned to some friends, if Elvis is here, he speaks excellent Norwegian.

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Checking weather and winds we were ready to bid Elvis good-bye and leave early the next morning for the UK.


Sunday, August 16

Hold it. Doublechecking the forecast we aborted our plan for starting the passage to Scotland due to a change in a low pressure heading from east to west. If it was behind us, that’d be one thing, but since it looked like it was now going to come ahead of us with 30+ knots of wind, we decided to put our passage on hold and head to one of ALCHEMY’s favorite stops, Rognaldsvagen.

But, not before I took advantage of the FREE, let me repeat that, FREE, laundry facilities!! Was I happy or WHAT? So, now that we weren’t heading off across the North Sea I headed across the pontoons and marched myself right up to those six, yes, SIX, machines (three sets of washer+dryer) and surveyed my domain. Ahhh. let me do the bear naked happy dance as our friend Shawn would exclaim :)

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Since we still wanted to leave in the morning, I only had time for two wash+dries, and not all the time for drying; but, what a bonus to get some laundry done.

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We motor-sailed to Rognaldsvagen and found SILA (it was getting a wee bit embarrassing to me to find ourselves constantly encroaching on their harbors, but they were always gracious about us popping up on the horizon).

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Another check of weather and it seemed we’d be continuing south along the Norwegian coast until mid-week; so, we went to bed thinking of meeting the nice guy up at the cafe who promised some good stories and an easy way to cross to Kinn to see a 12th century church.


Monday, August 17

Whoops, scratch the plan. The weather forecast changed yet again and we’re off. Favorable weather windows have been few and far between, and we had to take advantage of this opportunity to cross the North Sea.

We passed the church, which is one of Western Norway’s best example of medieval buildings and was in use up to 1882, and took photographs, which, at this point, was the only way we’d see it.

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Then turned to 224 degrees, our course towards Peterhead.

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Scotland here we come!

Cruising in Norway: Heading south PART III


Tuesday, August 4

This past week we’ve been noticing the change in the amount of daylight. Now we actually had sunrises, and when I awoke at 4:00 a.m. I snapped some photos (the two below are untouched, with color as it actually was that morning), looking east, then towards the west.  As the pictures show it promised to be another beautiful summer day.

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Because we wanted to put some miles under our hull we now were getting up fairly early (but not that early!) and sipping cups of java and noshing our yogurty breakfast along the way. Thanks to our friend Rob Andrews, we were huge fans of EasyYo, a New Zealand invention for making fresh yogurt effortlessly. On passages and in Norway where a small container of yogurt bought at the store can cost up to $4, we’ve been enjoying a delicious variety of yogurts. Anyone interested, just check Amazon. The packets aren’t inexpensive, but they certainly provide an easy method for creating a nutritious dairy product. Oh, and, they’re tasty, too :)

We had a glorious sail with the10-12 kt wind behind us and smooth seas. we even got a peek of the Seven Sisters way in the background.

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This type of sailing is similar to gliding on ice skates:  there’s no friction from waves, just a continuous slipping towards one’s next port.

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We passed a lone fisherman with his harem of gulls trailing behind and famiies summering on sandy beaches, all enjoying the beautiful day.

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We furled our sails with plenty of time to then motor past a statue greeting us as we turned to enter Rorvik’s harbor.

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Tieing up at the dock we checked out the little club house (yes! TWO washing machines) and walked into town where we purchased some wifi access at Norveg, the impressive museum about the local area’s culture.

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We’d also heard the cafe was offered and excellent meal, one some described as the best they’d eaten in Norway. Hmmm… might be out first meal in a restaurant (figuring the Hurtigruten breakfast didn’t really count since we were ‘stuck’ on a boat… :) ).

We walked to the grocery store to provision and when checking out a young cashier, Ellen, asked us where we were from. As the bananas, apples and iceberg lettuce continued their way down the conveyor belt somehow the wifi trouble we were having came up. Ellen said she could easily help us if we wait ten minutes for her break. We said of course! And, this friendly young woman not only made calls using her cell but also used her credit card in exchange for our cash to purchase more wifi time.  (Whatever you do, if you’re in Norway, was not the way to go but our only option since we didn’t have a Norwegian address or a credit card that could be used without a signature. We had tried Telenor but no luck).


When pulling items out of one of the washing machines, a young woman asked if I was off the American boat that just pulled in. She was off the other one that Max had spotted when we pulled into the harbor, and one we were planning on stopping by. Molly and Christopher along with their sons Porter and Jack on s/v SILA were our first American boat we’ve met since leaving Ipswich in May. It felt a little bit like a homecoming.

Molly and Christopher had started and ran a school in Leadville, CO, which mixed academics with wilderness adventure attracting students for a semester course from all over. In 2013 they decided to take sabaticals from work, sell their house, and with their two young sons take off cruising for two to four years. They left from France where they had purchased their boat, sailed to the Caribbean, circumnavigated South America and even sailed to South Georgia and back. They then recrossed the Atlantic early spring, headed to Ireland and were now cruising this area.

A job interview was on the horizon for one of them so they weren’t sure of their future plans; but, after sailing to South Georgia, this family didn’t seem fazed by tackling the North Sea or English Channel later in the season. They obviously were cautious but also excellent sailors.

We thought of Lily sailing with her mom Jayne and Paul and thought how great it would have been if these two families could have met up. Perhaps in the future they’ll be sharing a harbor. Hope so! As it was, we hoped we’d meet up with them ourselves since both JUANONA and SILA were going to be hopping down the coast; but, we might keep missing them as they were leaving early the next morning.

Wednesday, August 5

We woke to rain as forecasted. We were finishing errands and then hanging out at the museum for wifi and a tour, and possibly lunch.

The tour began with traipsing to some buildings, some replicas and several originals, which explained those who had lived here before. Like Kjerringoy, this had been a fishing village and, similar to Kjerringoy, one merchant’s business interests generated livelihoods for the rest living here.

Some of the buildings created wonderful nesting perches for gulls, of which there are plenty around.

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Both Max and I felt we could have skipped most of the buildings having seen Anna Elisabeth’s estate on Kjerringoy; but, I did enjoy the homes where Rorvik’s merchant family and some employees lived. There was a definite difference between the two houses, one having low ceilings and small rooms…

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The other high ceilings and large rooms.

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The large house has a cafe for the month of July and is available for functions. The kitchen is huge with the old stove on display and its built-in waffle maker (which all Norwegian kitchens seem to have).

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Back inside the museum itself we wandered through time using audio guides automatically cuing up explanations as we passed exhibits beginning with early man and culminating in current times.

All of this was interesting but what I was really looking forward to was our late lunch. We had decided to splurge and, after checking menu and associated prices, ordered fish & chips (Max) and chicken salad (moi); and, both were absolutely fantastic. Definitely well-worth being our only restaurant meal to date in Norway.

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One last provisioning stop (this time for dry goods) and we prepared for leaving the next morning.

Thursday, August 6


We were able to sail the last four hours, which was a nice change from motor-sailing. We pulled into a small island’s harbor where we docked next to a huge catamaran. It was a little dicey docking due to having a heavy wind pushing our stern towards the rocks, but we managed to rein in JUANONA and hunkered down for the night.

Friday, August 7

After walking up to the community center and back we decided we might as well continue on. The island felt deserted with most of the small number of holiday cottages uninhabited.

However, there were black guillemot , and I shot a video of one that didn’t seem to show any fear as I carefully approached where it was hanging out on the boulders making up the jetty. I love how their orange feet splay backwards as they take off, similar to Puffins.

Watching it then return with food, I was curious where it was going, so I put the video back on and realized why it had been hanging out there. It obviously was tending to its baby hidden underneath some of the rocks.

We then jumped on JUANONA and headed for our next island port.



Three hours later we reached Sauoya. We thought about anchoring on the west side of this island but, after checking the depth and the size of the cove (quite small and a bit crowded feeling with one large fishing mooring), we opted for the little harbor, which promised some pontoons and a wooden fishing quay.

After tying up on one side, we checked the depth knowing the tide had several feet to go out. At this point the only sure way to verify water level all around the boat when docked was using a makeshift depth sounder:  a shackle on a string. Sure enough, where we originally planted JUANONA seemed a bit too shallow so we moved to the other side after checking out the depth.

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With JUANONA secured we walked up the road a bit to see if there was anything else to explore.

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Finding only closed up cottages, we turned around and started back down to the dock. As we came around the bend Max saw a man sitting in the quiet of his garden enjoying a beer and a cigarrette. He was very friendly and after a five-minute conversation we decided to continue it on JUANONA.

His name was Tommy, and he with his family lived on this island up until four years ago. He and his wife moved here in late 80’s getting lots of press because it was so unusual for a young couple to emigrate from the mainland to such a small island. There was a post office, a church but no stores and just a few other families, primarily second and third-generation summer residents.

Although his grandparents had lived there Tommy and his family were welcomed at first. Like many small communities, these islands were closed-minded to newcomers. But Tommy and his wife persevered and proceeded to make a living. The first five years they bought and sold fish (earning one of the best reputations for their fish among Parisian restauranters), later they switched to raising some sheep, opening a pub, and generally trying to bring vitality to this small island. Sauoya and neighboring Halten had been huge fishing magnets back in the 1800s up to the early 1900s, hence the large church on Sauyoa (could seat over 100) and the community center on Halten.

After 20 years they decided to leave. Their children, now 12 and 16, were going to a small school on a neighboring island, and the older one was getting bullied due to a disability. They relocated to the mainland where Tommy actually became a contestant on one of Norway’s most popular shows, the reality program called “The Farm”. And, he won (!) in 2011.

Now he was back visiting with his son staying at the house where his grandparents had lived and now owned by a cousin. His wife, now in a medical field, was working and his daughter attends school and would never come back to this place due to memories of the bullying.

We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Tommy as we’ve had with all the Norwegians we’ve met.  There’s a gentle graciousness with which they welcome strangers to their land.

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Saturday, August 8

We had decided to stay another day so we thought we’d try our hand at fishing, only this time from land. Climbing up and down across the rocky and lumpy ground, no one was around except we did attract attention from a flock of sheep.

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Finally making it to the other side Max tried for a bit

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but no luck, so we made our way back passing through the farmyard of the largest house (no one there)

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with its emblem of the sea eagle over one of the out buildings. We had seen a pair when coming in here the previous day. Always love watching these majestic flyers, and, here in Norway, we’ve been fortunate to see these birds in the wild.

Not quite ready to give up on fresh fish, Max tried his luck off the ferry pier.

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I’d like to say we were successful but a back-up meal was a chicken & mushroom risotto dish  (yes, that canned avian item again).

We walked back to JUANONA, which was sitting rather low due to tide having gone out.

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Well, the risotta tasted good but not when two hours later I felt an odd stirring in my tummy. Opting to sleep out in the main cabin with the wastebasket next to me was a good decision, for I soon was heaving.

Max gallantly offered to remove the basket and bring me a fresh one but I was okay for I just would heave, then put the bag out in the cockpit, reline the waste basket, and hope I was done. Four relinings later I was ready to call it quits. I didn’t have any more to offer the vomit god. Furthermore, by this time, Max’s stomach wasn’t feeling so good. And, so now both of us were sharing the can.

By 2:00 a.m. we both collapsed on either side in the main cabin. And, the cockpit was lined with white bags. So much for that risotto dish…

Sunday, August 9


Instead of the 4:30 a.m. rising, we got up at 9:00 a.m., both feeling a bit woozy from our episode earlier that morning. But, the forecasted head wind didn’t appear, so we decided to leave for the next port.

Heading out we saw some of the sheep perched on the opposite side of the harbor. Tommy had told us the sheep were different from other kinds for they could stay out all winter (!) thanks to their fat, which surrounded the organs versus being marbled through the muscles. Also, their fur was so thick underneath their wool couldn’t be used in most modern factories. Sounds like a great niche sweater to me! :)

So, with a final shot of the sheep, we headed further south.

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Our original destination was Mausundvaer but due to winds being favorable we ended up 20+ miles further at Veilholmen.

Entering this island’s port is a bit daunting because you feel as if you’re hitting a dead end with no turning room.

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We had some happy watchers whom I caught peering at us from the above, two-story, white building on the left as we turned the corner, so I snapped their photo.

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As we made the final sharp turn into this scenic little harbor, Max saw SILA! We happily tied up behind them and later got more of an oppotunrity before and after dinner to share stories and plans.

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What was really cool is they had met Jo Breen, a young woman we had first met in Ipswich last September when she was on Paul, Jayne and Lily’s boat s/v DELPHINUS. Jo was crew on one of Skip Novak’s boats down in the Southern Ocean, and SILA had shared several meals with Jo in South Georgia. Like our friend Steve Keener has said the world is a small ball.

Monday, August 10

Knowing we had some really strong winds forecasted for Tuesday, both boats wanted to be a bit further south but also in a protected harbor. We could have remained in Veilholmen but decided to get a bit further down the coast. So, SILA set off in the early morning

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while we stocked up on some fresh provisions then also headed out.

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Another day in fairytale land with more to come :)