Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Northern Norway

glassy water, Ebbesvik, near Bergen
Twister departed Ebbesvik (on the island of (lille)-Sotra) Wednesday the 20th of May 2015. Lovely first day: sunny, nice breeze from NW, sailing close-hauled up (northward) the inside passage from Sotra to Fedje (Hjeltefjorden). As southerly winds were not forecast to arrive till next morning, spent the night tied to a wooden wharf on the quaint little island of Fedje. 

Thursday morning the southerly winds arrived, we motored out of the harbor, and after the ferry had sped past, the genoa was unfurled, we headed offshore, and we were on our way north. It was an uncomfortable passage at times and more than once I vowed to head back to the tradewinds ASAP. We piggy-backed on the bottom right quadrant of a low pressure system. Fortunately it was a weak one, but we did not escape without a little bit of a thrashing. As seems to be the case with any bumpy passage, it’s all a bit of a blur now, but it left me plenty of time to do not much but hang on and contemplate life, the universe, and everything. While it was uncomfortable (and there is an aspect to cruising of sometimes simply enduring the discomfort), I was never concerned and I continue to be impressed with how Twister handles rough weather. And hey, if it was just fun and pleasant all the time, it would get boring. 

Sunday may 24th, the winds eased and turned northeasterly. We had made it to nord-Norge (northernNorway). I set a course for the nearest anchorage I could find among the outer islands outside of Brønnøysund and the distinctive mountains on the island of Vega. I tied to a mooring next to a fishing boat in a snug little cove at Bremsteinen which is the name of a little group of islands exposed to the full fury of The Norwegian Sea and where one would think no one could live (but people did up until the 1950s). It continues to serve as a temporary harbor for fishing boats.

fishing boat in the evening light at Helløya
Monday arrived with light northeasterlies and Twister was able to do about 4 knots almost due north. We sailed outside the maze of skerries and rocks of the Helgeland coast and when the winds died in the evening, we headed back inside the labyrinth (which is how Captain Cook described sailing inside The Great Barrier Reef, but which could just as well be applied to this area) to anchor for the night. The winds had almost died, but there was still sufficient swell coming in from The Norwegian Sea to cause breaking waves on the rocky reefs scattered in every direction. Again I found myself next to a fishing boat as I anchored by the little island of Helløya. I continued day-sailing and night-anchoring and the next evening found Twister at Hjartøya with a great view of The Seven Sisters mountains on Alsten Island. It was bordering on the pathologically compulsive as I had to pick up the camera every few mintues to take another photo of the mountains as the changing light and clouds presented another stunning picture.

The Seven Sisters
Next stop, Træna, another small island community which sits on or just below the arctic circle (whose position is not fixed but currently is around 66° 34' N), followed Myken, an even smaller and even quainter island hamlet where I spent a couple of nights.
June 1, departed Myken and initially set a course for Bodø, but the wind forecast was less than reliable that day, and after a couple of wind and course changes, I headed to Støtt (another charming island group). Good day for wildlife - saw lots of Puffins and one whale (long, pointy dorsal fin could be consistent with Minke Whale). Next day, nice downwind passage to Bodø. 

More photos here

1 comment:

  1. Great picts. Nice to have some news from you. Take care. Dda