Norway - The west coast

Did you know: 

The longest total length of mainland Norway is about 968 nm, or from Miami to just north of New York City. Not all that long you may say, yet Norway is a small country. 

But there are more to the story...and here's the kicker, that is not the coast line...!

The coast line is about 13.579 nm, or about three quarters around the world...!

With the circumference of our earth in mind, being a mere 21.638 nm. The coast line of Norway, including all the islands and fjords is about 36.237 nm. 
This is not only the second longest coastline in the world, beaten only by Canada, but it is just 7039 nm short of spanning the earth two times!

Newest posts at the bottom!

Norheimsund

We finally arrived to start off our sailing. Starting a flurry of activity. Thoroughly clean the whole boat. Things to pack away. Things to get. Shopping. waiting for packages to arrive. Washing all boat fabrics, etc., etc. 
 
Norheimsund And we're off! Rosendal

 

 

And we’re off!

May 7th. Off we went. Under dark clouds and with snowcapped mountains all around us, we sailed towards the mouth of Hardanger. The sailing only lasted about 20 min. then the engine had to pull the load. But it was a very happy feeling to finally be off. Went to Rosendal; saw the ‘Barony’ on a walk before the rain finally poured on us. But the next day, the sun came out in full and it was a beautiful sail – even though the engine had to run on the mirror-calm Hardanger on our way to Lysøya. Lysøya was the home of famed Norwegian violinist, with an eccentric taste in house. We saw his house last year. Wooden with lots of embellishments and even an onion topped tower. You get to the wonderful little anchorage, through a very narrow entrance and you have birdsong as the only noise. Enjoyed the sunshine. Only ‘disturbance’ was a man who came, rowing in his traditional wooden rowboat. Beautiful. On another windless day, we sailed to Bergen, which totally did not live up to its reputation of a city where it rains most of the year.

Bergen

We had a flurry of activity and crisscross walked Bergen from marine electro stores, chandleries and also had our Butane bottled gas, exchanged for Propane (expensive switch, but better in the cold and more easily obtained in Norway). Rested a day in lovely Strusshamn, where we also filled up the diesel. Rest and rest, we also tried to install our new AIS, but kept finding that we needed more thingamagigs to make it work. Finally, after a quick run to Bergen for flares, bigger first aid kit and other small stuff, we were starting up north.

First idyllic anchorage, a ‘poll’ (pond), usually gotten to, through a narrow entrance, was Uttoskavågen. Beautiful sunshine and complete peace and quiet. KjerringvaagenNext day we crossed Sognefjorden and finnaly got some vind – except right on the nose, of course. Soon it was a lot of wind and we decided for Kjerringvågen, also an idyllic ‘poll’ with a mooring we had all to ourselves. It blew hard outside, but we were in complete shelter. 

Next morning it blew near gale – of course right on the nose – so we motored some and tacked some with very little sail. Arrived Askvoll a little cold and tired.

Wind turned 180 degrees. That should be good, right? Well, except that it rained buckets. But since it was only a 3,5 hr sail and with a good following wind – we went. We got soaked, but the sailing was good, even with some surfing. Only the staysail up and still we made 5.3 knots on average, with a max of 8.3 knots. Arrived Florø and tucked in nicely in the marina. 

Friends arrived the next day in pouring rain - so just relaxed on the boat.

Florø May 17

May 17th Norway.s 200 year celebration of constitution day. Had planned to be in Bergen, but we had to move north, in order to make time for a funeral in Haakons family on the 19th Instead we got a small town celebration. It started with 3 canon salutes at 7 am, followed by a marching band parade, ‘to wake everybody up’ J

We got up and raised a larger Norwegian guest flag, and flagged over top, spelling “Norway May 17 - Hurra” with our signal flags. Then we dressed in our celebratory best. Me in my Bunad (Traditional dress: Runda stack from Gudbrandsdalen), which I inherited from my mother in law, the skirt being handwowen original from Haakons great, great grandmother, the apron almost as old, also handwowen and the beautiful shirt and the silver.

     Flag over top     May 17 Bunad     May 17 boy

Then we went to see the children’s parade, which lasted several hours and had to include schools from the entire district. Lots of Norwegian flags and Hurra’s! Everybody was greeting each other with “Gratulerer med dagen” (Congratulations on this day). After that we had cake and coffee at the municipal house. Later in the afternoon, we saw the organisation’s (baton twirling girls, scouts, theater groups, sailing, riding, motorcycle, etc. clubs) parade, which was not quite as cute, but very creative. We followed it to the stadium, where we heard two speeches, some author celebrating democracy and a young “Russ” (student) giving a very poignant speech about, among other subjects, being able to stay and get their education in this small town, instead of having to go away.

    May 17 girls     May 17 flag     May 17 children

All through the day we enjoyed all the beautiful Bunads, both on women, men and children. Everyone have one that’s traditional from their home area. So two main Bunads were seen here, the Flora county bunad and the coastal bunad (real pretty with a bird & two flowers embroidered on the back.

We finished off the day with an excellent dinner on the boat.

Went away for a few days, to attend a funeral in Haakons home town. Luckily our friends had arrived by car, so we made a trip out of it and went by Brikdalsfjorden, a Glacier, that had receeded enormeously since we were there 10 years ago. Also stopped several places along the way – having a really nice trip (though funerals are never fun).

Around Stad

After Florø, we motorsailed through narrow sounds and fjords, around Hornelen (The highest sea cliff in Europe – located in Bremanger Municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county). We liked it for the nice current we had showing us along. Ended in Selje, where we were met by Haakons sister (Liv) and brother in law (Stein), who then took us to their summer cottage and offered coffee and cake :-)

We also did the walk up to the viewing point, giving us nice views to the foreboding mass of a peninsula foreland, which is infamous for the rough passage it, more often than not, treats passing ships to. Weird wind a wave patterns – sunny and calm 10 miles away and storm at the cap – that sort of nasties.

     Haakon ready for Stad     Buholmen

We were ‘armed to the teeth’, everything battened down, lifelines at the ready, prepared for anything Stad would throw at us. Not at all prepared for the benign conditions. Wind southerly between 5 and 10 knots. First motoring, then getting out the main, turning around the cap it was dead astearn and we sailed wing on wing past Stad :-D Arrived Runde happy and relieved.

     Stad in a benign state     Honningsvaag     Stad wing on wing   

Runde

Went for a long walk to see the Puffins way up on a cliff. It was foggy and wet and we got there a little late. Met people on the way down, telling how magical it had been. Anyway we still saw loads, but didn’t want to climb down a steep wooden ladder to get to the plateau, where you’re closest to them.

Puffin

Ålesund

Sailed around to the birdcliffs to see more Puffins and Gannets in the water and on the bird cliffs. There was a bit of a swell, but otherwise nice and sunny. The swell, though, didn’t reach us on the sail over to Aalesund.

Didn’t know there was a Jazz festivsal going on, so the harbour was rather full. We got a space, though, and lived with the noise till late in the evening. Delightful town, full of Art noveau houses 8due to the town having burned down and being rebuilt in that period). Walked around and up to the viewing platform above the town. Couldn’t complain over the weather – lovely sunshine.

      Aalesund     Buying 'Kveite'     AalesundHaakons first cod

Vestnes

Wind, right on the nose and small steep waves. Very varied wind. One moment calm, then heavy gusts from between the mountains. Then a nice small gale right in the back. During a calm, Haakon let out the fishing pole and almost immediately caught a nice 3 pound cod from a depth of 82 m. 

Unfortunately, John fell into the cold water in the harbour, from the wobbly pontoon. Luckily we were meeting Martinus, and his wife, Astri, another of Haakon’s many cousins. So they invited us home to their very lovely self-built cabin, where John had a hot shower and got his clothes washed and dried. To top that off, we even had coffee, cakes and a lovely plum desert. 

Molde Guest harbour     Molde mountains   

The next day, we motorsailed the few miles to Molde, where the weather really showed off. Next day we had the perfect sunshine to go up to Varden 404 m above sealevel, reputed to have a view of 222 snowcapped mountains. Plus a view over infamous Hustadvika. We cheated and took a cab up, but nevertheless walked a lot around on top and the trip down. Relaxed and enjoyed the excellent weather before we took a flight home to visit Derek, attend various functions and meet with friends.
Funny to be in a place, where it nearly gets dark in the night – it hardly gets dark where we are in Norway now. And very soon, the midnight sun will shine.

Grip - Brekstad

Our sailing friend, Yngvar, met us upon our return to Molde and we quickly got ready to sail the next day. We had planned to go into Bud, but the weather was so lovely, we decided to press on for Grip. We could clearly see the bridges of ‘Atlanterhavs veien’ (the Atlantic Road), the fabulous roadtrip we had last fall. It’s not always that Hustadvika is so friendly, it’s has a real bad reputation, probably not least due to the many skerries in this area. Navigation needs to be done with much care; including getting into the miniscule harbour.

   Grip Stave Church     Grip Barrel fishing traps     Grip quiet place
Grip has a stave church from 1621 and is an idyllic little island, which used to be a thriving fishing community, but now just a few fishermen live here in the summer and the houses are just used as summer cottages, but at least it’s all very nicely kept. There’s even a little museum, open to all. Grip was well known, way back, even featuring on maps of Norway from the 16th century. Midnight was really magical. It never got really dark.

     Grip Lighthouse   Grip old house     Touche at night

Next day we went to another little skerry that was formerly a fishing community: Hallarøya, where one of yngvar’s friends was born. On the way, we didn’t Torsk nr. 2have much wind, so decided to stop and have a go at catching the huge monster fish (no doubt inspired by a story in the grip museum of a 175 kg ‘Kveite’, that was caught in 1975). Haakon first caught a ‘Sej’, but it got away (wasn’t that big, either), then afterwards, caught a Cod. Saw porpoises on the trip and had a nice visit on Hallarøya (another deserted island) before we went on to Straumen, on the island of Smøla. A very nice and quiet little harbour where we enjoyed another fabulous sunset.

We had a gorgeous sail, in full sunshine (although ending in much needed rain in this very dry area) to Brekstad. Brekstad is just at the mouth of the Fjord into Trondheim, but instead of the long sail in, we had planned to take one of the ferries into town. Both to meet friends and to see this town, which is called the Venice of the North. However, the next day promised perfect sailing weather and we had some smaller things to take care of on the boat, so this visit was put off till when we go south.

Brekstad - Brønnøysund

After Brekstad we sailed in a beautiful beam reach, although it quickly got more afront, than abaft the beam. Got some heavy gusting and then the wind died. We motored on to Roan, a small fishing harbour where we just anchored up. We saw several fishing boats and a whaling boat come in (saw no whales, though). Next morning we sailed in drizzly, grey, foggy weather, which fortunately changed to abaft the beam. Our destination was another tiny Island and on the way we were treated to the company (albeit short) of a pilot whale. It came up right next to the boat – I could’ve reached out and touched it (if I’d been fast enough).

Sørgjeslingan is another idyllic, deserted, fishing island. Previously up to 6000 people were supported here, due to the rich fishing. Lot’s of fishes Sør gjeslingan Staværhanging to dry. A nice little old-fashioned shop. Most of the island is owned by a museum and it uses some of the house to rent out. On top of a hill was a pole with a shed at it’s foot, that turned out to hold a cone, a ball and a square, which used to be hung on the pole and with various combinations used as a weather warning. 

Weather warnings     Weather warn shapes   Sørgjeslingan


Next day we sailed at a leisurely pace, so leisurely that Håkon put out the pole, and in less than 10 minutes, caught a nice cod. Arrived at Leka in drizzle, butLeka although we didn’t do much, this is definitely one of those place we have to spend more time on, when we go South. There is a lot of walking paths and a cave with old cave paintings. Unfortunately, one must join a guided tour to see them, and they are only run on Saturdays – and today is Sunday.

From Leka we sailed to Møyhamna (virgin harbour), which is closest to Torghatten, the cliff (that looks like a hat) with a hole through it. We walked up to the hole, a good half hour walk from the harbour. It was much bigger than expected and quite lengthy to go through. There was a marvelous view to all the skerries below, but the drizzle moved in and we walked back.Torghat hole

Torghat hule     Torghat cod   
Next morning the sun was shining, so we sailed around the ‘hat’ to see the hole from the south side, wherefrom it can be seen. Haakon used the time to fish and caught a small cod, which he threw out again; quickly followed by a bigger cod for keeps. Then we sailed into Brønnøysund, where Yngvar was flying home from, the next day.

Brønnøysund     David and Goliat     Brønnøysund sunset
Now we were in the geographical middle of Norway. Equally far from Brønnøysund to Lindesnes, as to Nordcap: 840 km as the bird flies. In the afternoon the Hurtigruten came in – filling almost the whole sound. Also noisily manifesting its arrival and departures with large toots. As it sailed past the pontoon to which Touche was moored, it was truly David and Goliat, quick cruising (Hurtigruten) and slow cruising. And here at 20 min to midnight, the Sun was still not touching the horizon. Not quite at the Arctic circle, but we're running out of sunsets .
The second day we had lovely sailing conditions in the evening : Fair winds and a following sea. Lovely evening sail to Tjøtta taking advantage of the nice sailing conditions and not having to worry about getting into an anchorage or harbour in the dark.

Brønnøysund – Lovund

Actually sailing fromTjøtta. wanted to get an early start, to get to Lovund before the forecasted wind change and gale. Lovund is way out from the mainland; we had a lovely beam reach, at times from exactly behind, ending with a tack. So quite various configurations of sail, but all in drizzle and various shades of grey. Saw a couple of eagles.

Eagle angry birdsArrived in due time in a nice snug harbor well protected from the approaching gale from the North. Had a lovely walk in the cliffs, along the water, the next day (we chose the side in lee of the wind). This island is actually increasing in population, probably due to the big salmon packaging plant, plus two other industries.

     Lovund beach     Lovund gæs    Lovund midnat

Lovund is also known for being the island where they celebrate the return of the Puffins, every April 14th which with little variation is the day the Puffins return to nest and rear their young. We went to see them the next evening (after our cliff walk). Unfortunately, here their nesting area is cordoned off, so even though we waited over two hours (in lovely sunshine), we only saw them flying to and fro. Instead, though, we were treated to an eagle which flew by several times. Most of that time, it was being chased by some irate little birds, whose nests it probably had raided.

    Eagle 1     eagle 2     Eagle 3
Finally, some sailing friend came by, sailing from the Røst in Lofoten towards the mainland, and we had a lovely evening exchanging information on points north and south. So nice to meet kindred spirits.

Svartisen – Bodø

What a lovely sail – only with the Genoa – with the wind in the SW (10-15 knots), abaft the beam until we got into Holand fjorden, which leads to the Svartisen Glacier. Since we sailed into the archipelago from north of Hestøya, we never saw that we crossed the globe, marking that we were now north of the Arctic Circle.

Touche in front of SvartisenAccording to http://svartisen.com - is Europe’s lowest placed glacier – only 20 meters above sea level. It actually didn’t form until the middle ages, after the ‘little ice age’. It got markedly colder as we approached the glacier. Saw ‘Old Sailor’ (the French boat from Norheimsund) again. They took off, as they had been by the glacier, but not before treating us to a glass of Calvados. The Glacier has definitely retreated the latter years, but we could walk to the edge of the ice in little more than an hour. The last bit was a bit tough over the rocks that have been scoured by the ice. Beautiful rounded almost organic shape with deep crevasses in between. We scooped up fresh ice cubes in our thermo (for drinks later) and then returned to the boat. Wanted to photograph it from the dinghy, but the water was very choppy and it kept drizzling. Also the pontoon was moving a lot so it wasn’t a nice place to stay for the night.

     Svarisen     Svarisen evening light    Svarisen Judith

So we motored on to Hopen, now in nice evening sunlight, where there was a nice anchorage. Alsmost bright daylight at midnight. We actually thought we hadn’t crossed the Arctic Circle yet, but we had. At any rate it isn’t quite midnight sun yet, the sun apparently dips just below for a minute – but then it never gets real dark. However, we actually dragged our anchor, so left relatively early the next morning. Sailed in drizzly, grey fog towards Sørfugløy. More cold and wave action than wind. Two sides of the story! We're anchored at Sørfugløy. In the front, this lovely 'inviting' beach, in the back, mountains with new snow on top!

Sailing to Svartisen     Sørfugløy beach    Sørfugløy mountain view
The harbor was tiny and even with our low draught, we weren’t sure whether we could fit. There was a visitor pontoon, but the good side to be on was reserved (found out later, that that was only two times a week), so we just anchored up outside a beautiful little stretch of a white sandy beach. The rain didn’t invite walks on the island, anyway.
The cold, grey drizzle continued on our way to Bodø. This is supposed to be one of the most beautiful stretches of the Norwegian west coast and we could see that there must be beautiful, with high ragged mountains with fresh snow on the top – but it was all enveloped in grey, low-hanging clouds. quite a bit of swell and wave action on this exposed stretch of coast. Arrived Bodø, got a very exposed place, and thought it wasn’t that interesting, so we just shopped some essentials and decided to press on to a small harbor: Kjerringøy.

Bodø/Kjerringøy – Harstad

Now there was an idyllic place; eons better than Bodø. We arrived close to midnight (gotta love the all night daylight), but unfortunately Haakon decided to go for a swim, just as we were docking. He jumped a bit early and the wind caught the bow, so he fell in between the dock and the boat. Now there’s a scary situation. It was 11 C! I didn't get to film it - he wanted me to help get him out ;-) He didn't get hurt, though and managed to hang on to the mooring rope, while I carefully got the boat in Again. And then two Dutch sailors came and helped us.

Breiflab

Next morning was gorgeous, sunny and so incredibly beautiful. We took walks, lunching at the cheese-making factory/café and then took off. It is very shallow around Steigen and very intricate leads, through skerries galore. But that made for beautiful turquoise water, white sandy beaches, where we spotted eagles, puffins and other birds. Anchored by Morøya, Nordskot.

    Steigen 1   Steigen 2
Up early, as to enjoy the sunny weather. A litle more skerries and then some open water. Wanted to go in at Tranøy, but the wind direction was exactly from the direction, the harbor guide warned against, so we continued to Korsnes. A bit wet and cold as we reached that tiny harbor.

    Steigen 3     Stone art     Korsnes
While Korsnes is an extremely tiny harbor, with no facilities, it is very close to one of Northern Norway’s largest and finest rock carvings from the stone ages, 9000 years ago. Dyreberget på Leiknes is just one km away, almost too short for a walk ;-) It was very nice to see, but difficult to photograph, as some of the figures were very large – including a large Orca. Also many of the carvings were on top of each other. Quite amazing that one can freely wander around among these, with only a sign admonishing to please not make any carvings of your own.

Sailed away in beautiful sunshine, but at least with enough wind to sail. In Tjeldsund the weather was grey and drizzly, but we had planned the tide right, so had a nice sail to Harstad. The guest harbor in Harstad is very exposed, so after some search among the private marinas in Harstad Botn, we got us a nice spot (still find it funny to be happy to be in a spot of shade at midnight), while we go away to Oslo to visit with Derek.

     Tjeldsund     Tjeldsund_fog     Harstad

Harstad – Tromsø

After a lovely visit with Derek, we got back to the boat in the evening and took off as soon as we got our sail returned (a small reparation). Fresh sail over Vågsfjorden and tranøy fjorden to Solbjerg fjorden. Stopped on the way to fish and almost got a shock, as we didn’t catch any ;-) Arrived Djupvågen, Raisafjorden, in the evening in lovely sunshine. Such a little difference between midday and midnight – just a small difference in the quality of the light. Enjoyed a slow day, waiting for friends and getting the boat ready for company.

     Harstad receeding     Djupvågen Midday    Djupvågen midnight
Met Ingvild, whom I’ve been corresponding with, regarding drying food. She graciously offered to dry some for me, in her purpose built drying oven (now I have that on my wish list).Finally we could sail to Finnsnes to pick up our friends. Had to try fishing on the way back to Djupvågen, but again, caught nothing. Until now, we have usually caught a fish within 10 minutes, when we’ve put out the line.

Djupvågen Touche og GydaTook a long walk with Trine next morning and enjoyed lovely sunshine, till all food was onboard and it was time to get going. We had to stop in Finnsnes for gas and right out of the harbor, Haakon caught the first cod. A litle further up Finn Fjorden/Gisundet, Henrik caught two more. Dinner was secure. Anchored up next to Hestøy in a nice quiet spot.

     Henrik fishing     Henrik and Cod     Henrik 
Next day we continued north in Gisundet and Malangen while drifting along to allow for fishing. That paid off by catching 3 cod, one of which was found too small and chucked back to grow bigger. We even went to a very deep spot – nearly 300 m, in hopes of catching the real big one :-). We thought we’d found a great anchorage and it sure was nice and idyllic. However, the wind increased and the waves found their way in, and made it quite lumpy, so we decided to press on to a more sheltered anchorage. We eventually anchored up in Straumbukta, just before Rystramen, which is known for very strong currents. We had a peaceful night and left just when we would get the current to push us along. Drifted and fished some more and was rewarded with a large cod and 2 herring :-) The weather was still sunny and smiley when we sailed into Trømsøy sundet and reached Tromsø (and the next day after it would actually reach 30 degrees celcius (78 F)).

     Henrik og Johan styrer     Tired     Trine og Judith

Sightseeing – Tromsø

    Ishavs katedralen indvendig   Ishavskatedralen udvendig   Tromsø 30 C     

     Toppen over tromsø     Judith in snow     Tromsø toppen     

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This page will be for our trip up along the Norwegian west coast during the summer of 2014
Judith L. Jacobsen