Starting to Explore Norway

Neptune toyed with us on our passage to Norway. He boxed our ears in the shallow waters of the Friesian islands , gave us a welcome kick north as we took the tail of the gale across the German Bight, and then teased us with a light NW that one minute allowed us to hold our course for Stavanger , and the next had us 30 degrees low. Finally he increased the wind to 20 + knots , and the thought of a third night at sea , trying to weather Jaerens Rrev and the rocks and islands in the approach to Stavanger made us bear off and seek an anchorage for the night. That’s when Neptune took pity on us. He helped us in to a picture perfect landlocked bay where we lay as steady as a church, then blessed us with sunshine and a light SW wind to complete our trip under kite the next day.

So here we are in Norway enjoying a few days of sunshine before the next low comes sweeping across. Our first proper night was spent in Stavanger’s old harbour , surrounded by picturesque merchants houses ( hooray) that have (groan) all been converted into very noisy bars . The next night could not have been more different . Just two miles from the centre of Stavanger is a small island called Lindoy, with a perfect little sheltered bay , a wooden pier with mooring places – and all for free. The island is run as an agricultural project , but is covered in walks and barbecue spots all laid on by the state for the benefit of the people. As it was midweek we had it nearly to ourselves.

Tonight is different again. We are some 15 miles north, having sailed in a brisk bright NW wind to a group of little islands that we fell in love with on our last visit. Alas, there is a bridge over our favourite anchorage, and the opening up of this particular island by the bridge seems to have changed it beyond measure. Every anchorage I chose had a “do not anchor sign” (although to be fair they may have been “do not anchor near this cable” notices) and we eventually came across a little collection of rather flimsy pontoons in the middle of nowhere – with no boats at all. We had heard it was a cheap place to get diesel, so gingerly approached the fuel dock – only to run aground with 20 feet to go. This may not seem too strange until you realise that 90 % of Norwegian coastline is deep enough for a freighter to come alongside, so to site a fuel dock in shallow water takes some ingenuity.

Eventually a genial old chap turned up on a quad bike and indicated an area of fendered rock which we should come alongside, assuring us it had 6 metres. Well not according to our depth gauge it didn’t , it read 0.2 under the keel ! Eventually we did find a deep enough bit, established that they could give us some diesel tomorrow – and we could stay overnight for the princely sum of £5. So here we are, in what was a priceless little sound, bridges sprouting everywhere and houses going up in front of our eyes – but it’s still very pretty and the natives are certainly friendly so we will gladly stay, even if it wasn’t the deserted anchorage we were looking for.

Our plans are vague. Its due to blow and rain from the South from tomorrow evening for 4 or so days, so we will probably use that to get further North. Everyone we meet gives us tips about where to go, and we have rapidly come to realise that you would need about 5 years to see it all! Everyone is agreed that the area around the Lofoten islands is the grandest, but that is 600 miles from here – and 600 back again! I think we will see how it goes, and if it is easy to get a long way North, we will do it, but it is far more likely that we will explore nearer at hand.

One thing is certain , if the scenery is anything like today’s , we are in for a treat.

One Comments

  1. Oops! Should have told you about the bridge that has ruined what was probably the best anchorage in Ryfylke!

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