Misty Musings

As we make our way slowly North through the marvellous archipelago that cloaks most of Norway’s coast , it is hard not to dwell on how it was in years gone by . The original Norsemen travelled by water because it was by far the quickest way to get anywhere. Their speeds were not very different from ours; downwind their long ships were probably even faster than us, and upwind they motor sailed, albeit with oar power.  Interestingly their modern day compatriots also favour the motor sailor concept, usually enclosed in a cosy cabin where they can laugh at the rain and low temperatures.  Perhaps one of the reasons the Vikings developed the art of rowing was that before heaters and glass wheelhouses were invented, rowing was the only way to stay warm!

You may have gathered that today was rather cold and wet.  We have sailed to the outer Hardangerfjord area which is by all accounts spectacular, but it is hard to see much through the rain and low cloud. Every so often the visibility lifts just enough for the shoreline to shift from grey to green , and then a further  clearing reveals surrounding mountains that spread in overlapping shades of ever fading purple , and we realise what a treat we are in for when the weather improves.

At one point a Dutch yacht appeared out of the mist; a fine cruising boat proudly flying a typically large ensign, and we duly gave chase. This must have often happened in these waters in the 17th century , when Holland and England  were competing  for the timber to build their respective navies. There was at least one big fleet action near Bergen, when the Dutch roundly beat us , but on this occasion we soon had her under our lee. One can take these historical musings too far, and when I ordered Lynda to “Fire a shot across her bows and get her to heave to, Mr Mate. We don’t want any unnecessary bloodshed.” I got one of her looks in reply – the one where she raises her eyebrows and half smiles ,half frowns  to let me know  I may be a bit over the top!

What breaks into these musings even more effectively is when we are passed by one of the new catamaran ferries at 25 knots  , or when we sail under one of the vast bridges linking the islands and watch the cars whizz past faster still.  The travellers in these 21st century machines don’t get wet or cold  or scared  in their journeying , but yet again they don’t discover another perfect little wooded anchorage , safe from the wind  and waves where they can stop and rest for free , and take time to marvel at the view  ….when the clouds permit!

Moored alongside a little wooden quay , 59 48.45N 5 40.36 E.

All well.

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