Captain Simen was sleeping in as usual as I started out from Haugesund. Little did I know that the little passage in open water straight in from the North sea would act up hard this early morning. But it certainly did, and for two hours I had my hands full while Simen was tossed between the walls in the cabin. It was rocking pretty bad until I finally was set in a position where I was able to hoist the sail to gain some stability onboard. As the waves came crashing one after the other we made a steady 8 knot ahead with only the foresail hoisted. It was totally amazing and at the end of the run I could see a rainbow pointing the way I myself was fighting to keep the snow out of my eyes and the ship away from the thundering shore on the starboard side.
First we sailed from Egersund to Tananger. We have, as you might understand, been getting pretty sick of waiting for storm-systems to pass and was eager to get some miles behind us. Tananger didn’t have much to offer as we moored. I suppose this is one of the places most people go in the summer or to work on the shipyards (or whatever they are) covering the entire bay. Once again we were of course lucky to arrive just as the snow came whisking into our faces.
In general I think the gods must be following this blog, cause they tend to make sure that we are safely tied to a pier before the skies open the daily waterfalls. Luckily February is over tomorrow, noting that this of course is a leap-year, and we are getting very close to spring. As we passed the Stavanger fjord however we finally hit snow. We are officially in waters where the snow is licking the salty waters of the ocean. Our wishes to reach green bushes and blooming hills are still a couple of months away and the truth may be that we have picked the wrong time of the year to experience these things along the Norwegian coast.
After spending a night in Tananger we made a huge leap. 54 nautical miles in 10 hours. It was great to do some sailing in the dark again. It gives me a special feeling to navigate by the lights. In some strange way, at least here down south I feel much more comfortable maneuvering the waters based on light-signals. this way I always know exactly where we are and there is little to no room for mistakes. At the end of the day we found a quiet little harbour in Klokkarvik that sadly had no electricity for us to heat our frozen bodies. We went to bed early.
Next morning, still frozen I started the engine and sailed off in some great shine from the sun. From Klokkarvik there was only about 2,5 hours to Bergen and it was done in a coffee. In Bergen they had electricity. And rain. And snow. Shitty weather as always and a wind that made us walk in thirty degree angles. Can’t expect anything else from the only city in Norway with more days of rain than anything else. But! It’s the end of the month, it’s Saturday and it’s the first extra day of the decade. I’m off to celebrate!
For the first time since we left Fredrikstad, it looks like the storms have given us a chance to make some real progress. Leaving Mandal felt great, but we didn’t get further up the coast than Farsund before the winds once again locked us in for a few days. We have been getting pretty good at playing the waiting-game and have once again survived a lock-down without developing too harsh of an cabin-fever. We are now working our way toward next big port of call and Norway’s second largest city – Bergen, sometime this week.
The fairly short sail to Farsund was a smooth one. We did of course not have any wind to sail in so once again we ended up motoring the whole way. It was a beautiful journey in some of the exact landscape that make thousands of people spend their summers here every year.
Farsund itself was pretty much closed down for the season. But they did have a free guest harbour, however it took us a while to find some electricity. After some walking around and a couple of phone calls to the right officials we found a spot in the local fishing harbour. We then took some time to do a few fixes on the boat before having a nice meal and went to bed. This was to be our home for the next tree days. I think I personally completed two entire series on Netflix while the other Captain did whatever he was doing on the PlayStation.
Before leaving Farsund we had a pizza-dinner the night ahead. This made sure we got a good night sleep and didn’t have to do any dishes. Something we found fitting since Captain Simen had just finished his two day project of cleaning all our stuff. The only thing we didn’t do was the laundry, but we sailed ahead bright and early next morning aiming to make this happen as soon as possible.
The morning came when we could finally venture on. Unsure of the weather on open water we didn’t plan to go too far the first day. 22 Nautical miles later we had found a little guest harbour in Kirkehamn which by the way literally means Church Harbour. This small little fishing village is home to about 120 residents and to our great amazement they had both free showers and a free guest harbour. We did however pay to use their laundromat, but this was a much needed investment. Kirkehamn was a quiet little place but if you’re into gaming – you may remember the place being mentioned in Red Dead Redemption 2 as a village where a mother and child was murdered. How much truth there is to the story is something I haven’t dug into. As for us the place was a quiet little harbour with no internet what so ever. It was the time to take a warm shower and find a new book to read. Luckily our library still has plenty of stuff I haven’t even looked at yet.
Next morning, actually it was almost midday, we continued north. As this particular stretch of Norway offer few places to stay and has no cover from the harsh weather in the Norwegian Sea we have planned it out so we can sail for about 6-9 hours a day and in a couple of days from now reach the city of Haugesund. Sorry Stavanger, but we will be skipping you this time around.
Today we had some great wind and finally got to hoist our sail. We did an average of 5 knots all day long and even though I called the sea rescue this morning to check on the weather and they said it would be stormy, we didn’t see a speck of it. We had pretty much calm seas and good winds the whole crossing. At the moment we are safe in Egersund, here we’ll take a slow and early evening before the long stretch to Tananger tomorrow.
Since Elsa – last weeks storm, took out our weather station completely I won’t be able to tell you exactly how bad it got this weekend. It wasn’t too bad and we enjoyed a couple of days getting to know Mandal. Not the biggest of towns but it left us with a good vibe and some great human interactions. We went out and had pizza for Valentines Day spending the last of the budget for the week. Right as the storm came swooping in, another northbound boat docked next to us. Also we had company from a local sailor awaiting good weather to cross Skagerak over to Denmark and ultimately down to the canary islands.
The couple’s ship came from Tjøme, just across the Oslo-fjord from where we started out. They had sat course for Svalbard, but where sailing in good time. Meaning they are planning to spend vacations and holidays until they reach northern Norway.
The weather makes it hard for us to plan ahead. After we spent a couple of days in Mandal we finally had one good day of sun and little wind. We used this little pocket filled with amazing sun to sail passed Lindesnes, and get started on our journey north. We have officially passed the most southern coordinates and the spirit onboard is high.
Then the gods decided it was time for some more heavy rain and even a bit of snow. We are once again awaiting some more sailable elements to take us over the next couple of days which also include the only non-protected waters until we hit Stadt, much further north. As long as we can get our asses passed Stavanger, we’ll have protection from fjords and islands to press on – even with some nasty winds or precipitation.
For now we are docked in Farsund. This is a smaller town than Mandal with less than ten thousand people. Their guest harbour is closed for the season, so we didn’t have to pay but this also ruined our plans of getting some laundry done. We spent some time figuring out the electrics, cause they seem to have closed it down due to a technical error somewhere. A phone-call to some officials fixed the problem and we are now able to make all the waiting-coffee we can drink.
Captain Simen took on him to seal the exposed steel Elsa did to our hull. We then made a quick fix by spraying the area with some simple white color and hope this will hold until we eventually get the boat in dry dock this summer. At least it should keep the rust away for now. The jerry cans with diesel have also made some damage to deck and had to be moved around on deck a bit. I wish of course that we’d have more space for stuff on deck but we’ll just have to make the best of what we have.
For now, it’s supposed to rain pretty much constantly for the next ten days. We don’t really have the liberty to wait that long so even though it will be wet, we’ll be sailing on as soon as the low pressure have passed and the waves are down at a respectable level. The exposed coastline up to Stavanger is long and I’d hate to have side-waves all the way. My dream is for the winds to turn north and give us a great long surf the whole way. One can only dream. Until then, Simen has connected the PlayStation and I’ll be working on some writing.
For the first day since we started our journey north, we’ve had calm seas and hail. Apart from the hail it was amazing to have the autopilot finally getting to do it’s job. Most of the day we enjoyed reading books and sipping a nice cup of coffee. We have this little camera pointing forward to see ships and other things that may get in our way and it seem to work fine whenever there is no rain or anything else blocking the view. We can sit at the chart-table and just pop our heads up to check for other ships once in a while. The sad news is that another storm is coming this weekend. We have to use the days between the storms effectively to get as far as possible, but then there’s this balance of taking care of ourselves, stay safe and enjoy the journey at the same time.
We docked in Kristiansand. It’s a fairly big city in Norway of well over a hundred and ten thousand people. Lucky for us they had electricity for heat. My hopes of filling our cans of water disintegrated as I almost walked right off the pier. The people running this place had disconnected the whole pier, no wonder there were no other boats around. Result was; we suddenly had our own little downtown island, cut off from the world with barely enough water for the super-important coffee next morning.
The trip down the coast to our next destination was short and sweet. We only did 24 nautical miles with an average of 4 knots. It was a beautiful day on the water, the best so far – probably what is know to be the silence before the storm. It’s not that I would ever complain about this horrible weather, but if the gods get what they want it will be shitty for the next 5-6 days. We can take a bit of wind, we can take a bit of waves, we can respectfully take some rain and even snow – but not all at once. Better stay put and await further orders.
In the last post i mentioned that Lindesnes is the most southern point of Norway, I’ll take this back, I stand corrected – cause it’s not. It will however be our most southern point on our venture north from Fredrikstad. The most southern point, and I learned this yesterday, is actually a small reef called “Pysen” and we passed north of it earlier today.
Mandal is a whole lot smaller than Kristiansand but have ten times the charm. There is only about 15 thousand people here, and they have all the amenities you could need in a small place like this. Time will show if its enough to keep us occupied during our stay. To get here we passed through an amazing archipelago with hundreds of cabins in all shapes and sizes. The people we have met so far have been most welcoming and we’ve found a great spot in the harbour. This is of course one of the best things about living onboard, most of the time you get to live in the down-town area of the cities you visit. This give you short walks to almost anything.
Besides reading a few books and drinking tons of coffee, we are settling in for a few quiet days in the boat. If we are really lucky we’ll even get to take a shower in the service house which for some reason stands unlocked. From here I have calculated about 20 active days of sailing to hit Trondheim. It’s a reach, but our working-goal is to hit Trondheim before March 15th. It’s possible to make it – but as we will be entering the Norwegian Sea whenever we start from Mandal we need to get the boat back to ship shape first. We are likely to encounter quite a few waves and there is still many weeks left of this years storm season.
After the boat got scratched and badly manhandled by “Elsa”, the storm, we sat course south-west – away from Stavern. The winds blew into our faces the entire day and for the first few hours we were busy securing stuff on deck and getting resettled in the boat after the few days spent in Stavern. The waves came down a bit after a while and we only had to deal with those in the area of four meters or 13 feet at the highest – But out on deep water this was almost pleasant. What was no fun at all however was the last part into the harbour of Portør, which was one of the hardest tackles I’ve ever attempted. For future reference; Going in to Portør in any form of bad-ass weather is hereby not advised.
But this crew made it, and inside we found a winter-abandoned village with plenty of space. There was no guest harbour as anticipated, but we made use of the side ferry dock that we guessed would not be in use for another couple of months. The port itself has been in use for as long as we can tell. In 1981 there was found a boat out here that dates back to the 1500’s. Portør have always been an important safe and emergency harbour for ships passing by.
We took a short walk in the last bit of daylight. There is really just one tiny road that run from our dock and across the bay passing a small shop that sell extremely expensive ice cream. The only person we saw during our stay was a kayaking man in a red jacket. The early evening was spent refilling engine oil and cooking potatoes with fishcakes for an already sleeping Captain Simen.
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Arendal welcomed us with calm waters. The largest waves we tumbled over today must have been 7 meters high. It’s a total rush, but good old Ella get the job done. The average height of the waves was probably somewhere in between 3-5 meters, but it’s always a special feeling having a mountain of water coming toward you. We drank some sea-spray for a few hours but there was no problem out there at all. Except to maybe make the coffee, that turned out to be quite a hazzle. Since we had a whole night with no electricity in Portør, it was good to get back the heat here in Arendal.
We are currently prepping for tomorrows sail. Actually; tomorrow is supposed to bring close to no wind, no weather at all actually… No wind, no rain no centigrade’s – I guess we’ll have to make use of the engine again. Our hopes are high to go fast enough ahead of the bad weather coming in this weekend to see Lindesnes in daylight, this is the most southern point of Norway. If not tomorrow, maybe we’ll be there the day after. It’s extremely hard to say with all this global warming going on – it makes planning your day almost impossible.
We’ve been tossed around in our boat for a good 36 hours now and are finally seeing the last of this storm. You could’ve said that we should have been smarter with where we dock and that an opening straight out to the bay possibly wouldn’t be the best of choices. It has resulted in us losing much needed sleep and a couple of fenders. On top of this we’ve had a few scratches to the hull, but nothing critical. It does not look optimal and will require us to take the bat ashore at some point after our arrival at the final destination for this trip. It’s all cosmetic, except some exploded fenders and a need to invest in some new ropes.
We are luckily not in the hot zone for the coming super-flood and are currently tied to a floating bay that should keep us safe throughout the night. In some parts of Norway, somewhat in the area where we’d be next week are currently dealing with the largest spring-flood of the last hundred years. Best of luck to all of you out there, may you not obtain any lasting damage. Our plan will be to set sail at first daylight tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be good enough and we should be able to get quite a few miles done in a fairly short amount of days – if we push on before the next storm system is due to arrive in a weeks time.
This storm did not come as a surprise on us and we should definitely have done a better job on where to dock our boat in a situation like this. But the experience has been archived with other files for steep learning-curves and will not happen again. On the other side, we’ve had plenty of time to discover Stavern. Ibby, the cadet, survived until Saturday afternoon before setting course for the city of Halden. Before this we had to check out the local pub and had the pleasure of meeting all of the towns originals in one night. This of course called for a great party that lasted to the early hours.
All of Sunday then went on with regularly checks in the powerful storm outside and making sure that everything was tied down. Our beloved stack of Jerry cans on deck need a new system, in short I suppose it’s time to install some more bolts on deck and to make sure there won’t be any unwanted leaks or loss of life essential fuels. We are in good spirit, have had visits from friends and families. The crew is mentally preparing and is getting ready for another great week of sailing; This time some of the most visited coastline in Norway. It’s a freakin’ summer paradise and we can’t wait to have it mostly to ourselves.
The day before we set sail the harbour is covered in ice and all our ropes on deck are due to previous rain frozen to solid blocks of ice. There is a storm heading our direction – so large that it may cover the entire kingdom. The weather-people are staying every one better stay inside. On the bright side; the boat is packed with everything we should need for weeks to come. The deck is prepared, food stoved, dishes washed and all clothes clean. Tomorrow morning we will engine ourselves across the Oslo-fjord to our first port of call on this voyage: Stavern.
The map and safety-apps are downloaded, along with games to the PlayStation for lock-down days at port. The mothers have had their chance to speak their minds, the routes have been semi-planned and other thinkable complications have been discussed. We have bought new sailing suits and flares in case shit hits the fan. There was a party on Monday to say farewell to our local friends in Fredrikstad.
We are at the peak of winter and from here on the temperatures should in theory rise. The days has become a lot longer and this is important since we are in need of all the heat we can get from above. Not that we worry too much, there will be plenty of cities and guest harbours for the first half of this journey north. Meaning we’ll have lots of places to get some additional electricity and maybe even a hot shower.
For the first day we have recruited Ibby, an old Mate of Captain Simen, to sail with us to Stavern. It’s going to be his first sail ever and it will be nice to have someone help us out with all our frozen sails and ropes. Tomorrow morning will be the start of a special journey. Wish us luck and feel free to check in on the blog once in a while to get the latest news on the venture.
Scrapping all other plans. The ship is currently being prepared for another new and even longer venture than those attempted by this crew before. During the course of the next couple of months we are going to put another 1000 nautical miles under our belts. The ultimate challenge for these two captains; sailing close to the entire coast of Norway. If you know the area – There will be plenty of weather as the storms keep rolling in from the Norwegian sea. Both the boat, our skills and everything we know is going to be tested to the fullest. This is going to be awesome.
Don’t worry, we are of course going to be careful. Nobody in their right mind would mess with the ocean this far north at this time of the year. We are expecting long days on the water when the weather is good enough and longer days in port when the opposite is true.
At the moment we are busy getting shit organized. Since this journey kind of got decided last minute (about two days ago) there is a lot to get in order. Originally we were actually setting course in the other direction in about four weeks. But when Captain Simen’s family set off to buy an entire Arctic campsite up north, we accepted the invitation to come help out for the season. Besides, I’m getting to see all of Norway’s famous enormous coastline.
The inside part of the boat is getting ready. We’ll start out on the deck tomorrow. Then there is a few purchases needed to be done regarding safety. Since we somehow ended up using all of our flares as firework on new years eve, our stock will have to be updated. Also we are investing in a couple of new sailing-suits that will keep us somewhat warm and floating in case one of us decide to take an unwanted bath in the freezing water. Departure is set to Wednesday or Thursday depending on the weather.
As you might have noticed. The winter this year never really arrived in the lowlands. But as the world is entering February we are still expecting a few days in the reds, and a few narly storm-systems that will lock us in for days – if not longer. Still we are trying to make the trip before 17th of May, the Norwegian national day. That will give us about two and a half month and knowing us, this mean we’ll be rushing. It took us about 3 months to do the 755 nautical’s around the south of Sweden, and since this trip is a tad longer we’ll have to press on to make it in time. This will be a true expedition.