Sunshine and Umbrellas

We have enjoyed a spell of pleasant sunny weather for the last few days. This is all the more surprising  as we have spent a couple of days in Bergen , which is reputed to be the wettest place in Europe. To give you an idea of how wet ,  in one of the side streets we found a shop that did nothing but mend umbrellas!

We found it to be a fine and dry city, and as in Stavanger , were moored right in the centre at the head of  the old harbour. To one side of us was the extraordinary  Bryggen area :  a jumble  of many storied timber warehouses  still pretty much as they were in the 15th century when they housed the stores of the German Hanseatic traders that were the reason that Bergen developed as the most important city in Northern Norway. Wandering through the narrow streets and passageways one really understood what  a higgledy piggeldy environment medieval cities created , and the fire risk of so many timbered buildings so close together perhaps explains why so few such areas have survived.

Fire wasn’t the problem on this visit , but we were at risk of being trampled underfoot. Festina Lente was not the only ship in port that day. 30 yachts were gathered for the annual race to Shetland , including a very smart Sigma 33 called Roundabout which had sailed over from the islands for the race back.  Just outside the old harbour, a series of cruise liners disgorged their hordes on a daily basis to rampage through the town, and getting caught by a group of elderly camera wielding Italians in the attic rooms of one of the old warehouses was definitely the scariest moment of the trip so far. 

By Bergen we had been a month away and had 1000 miles on the log and so celebrated  in the cockpit  bathed in evening sunshine and enjoying a feast of  Norwegian prawns , mayonnaise , bread and white wine , thereby  unwittingly becoming another tourist attraction ! We had hoped to be feasting on fish most evenings, but compared with British waters , this seaboard   seems devoid of life.  There are no seabirds to speak of , and we haven’t seen seals or dolphin since the Kattegat. Is it overfishing , or  are the waters just so deep so that there are no shallow nursery areas to raise the small creatures that would support the birds and mammals that we take for granted back home? Maybe everything just happens deep down and out of sight ( and out of range of our hooks!).

From W Norway

The wind has been NW for the last two days, so we have been sailing to windward. It’s not a problem as the wind  has never been more than 14 knots and the sun has been shining, so life has been pretty civilized albeit cool. Rather than take the steep sided inner leads, we have been beating through the outer skerries, alternating between complex navigation in shelter and more relaxed periods in open water. The skerry sailing in these winds is a bit like being on a magic carpet as the water is completely flat, and we waft through with scarcely any feeling of movement. Our anchorage tonight is at the top of a spectacular narrow  inlet in the island of  Hille at the mouth of the Sojnesfjiord. Our pool is guarded by a passage scarcely wider than the boat yet there is still 7 m under the keel. It is eerily quiet, with not even the ubiquitous oystercatcher to disturb the spell, and the only sign of life is a large group of jellyfish solemnly blobbing away around us. We think our spell of good weather is coming to an end  and hope to  get up early and make our way to Floro tomorrow before the heavens open for a couple of days , so it’s time to turn in even if it won’t be dark till well past 11 o’clock.

 So , goodnight from  the Festina’s , peacefully at anchor at 60 59.01N  4 51.36E.  All well.

One Comments

  1. Sounds like you’re having the same weather as us, a day or so later. Just back from sailing La Nef (John Noe’s boat) to Brittany. He’s now pressing on towards La Rochelle with other crew. Good to go cross channel again, not having sailed far since 2007. We lost a few days to the same depressions you have had, but nice to see the Cote du Granite Rose again. Also some very bonne French cuisine.

    Today finally it’s warm, 28 deg, so hope it makes its way to you. Norway sounds a great cruising area – stay safe and well.

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