Cruise to Shetland 2015
Thanks to our great crew, Åsmund and Bernt, we docked at Dolviken, Søreide on Sunday afternoon. Bernt, as is his custom, had a swim in the 12.5 deg. sea as we neared the mooring. Now after a few quiet days in the sun in the Bergen area we are expecting to meet Jon Erik’s brother who boards Midnatsol this afternoon. Bergen is teeming with folk of all nationalities, coming ashore from at least 3 colossal cruise ships. Internet connections are more or less nonexistent here so the few lines will be published later.
Sunday 28th. June
7am and 25 nm from Marstein lighthouse which marks the entrance to the Bergen area. The North Sea crossing, which has taken 24 hours so far, was rough as we crossed the Bressey Sound but the sea became calmer as the day progressed. Mostly motor sailing again, but we had a demonstration of the advantage of active AIS. We saw on our screen some large installation being towed and info to keep at 3nm distance from it. We were called up by name from the leading ship warning us of the 6 nm towing line, whereas a fishing boat, much nearer got no warning.
The last day in Lerwick was fun. All the boats taking part in the Bergen to Shetland race entered the harbour and filled it with up to 6 boats fendered together. The crews gave the impression of an OK sail, but with too little wind at times.
We left yesterday and could thank the staff at Port Control for pleasant and professional service. They even dug out from the archives several ledgers with lists of all the ships arriving during the years 1913-1930. I was looking for information on fishing boats from Cockenzie and Port Seton.
Our skipper was forbidden to sail across the North Sea after his hip dislocation, so he is meeting us in Bergen after ferry transport to Aberdeen and a flight to Bergen. Luckily, his hip is in position again and we intend to sail around the western coast.of Norway until we go off to Tronheim for a few days, then sail with Hurtigruta ship Midnatsol back to Bergen
Jon Erik has been discharged from hospital and will travel to Bergen on Satyrday while Åsmund, Bernt and I sail over, leaving Lerwick on Friday morning, weather permitting.
We're all doing fine! Jon Erik is rather disappointed, missing the North Sea crossing.
Changed plans! Skipper Jon Erik dislocated his hip while only putting on a boot, getting ready to leave Simbister. He is now in hospital in Lerwick and his hip is in place again, no pain now , but restrictions about sailing, unfortunately. Åsmund and I took the boat down there too. There was plenty of avtivity in the harbour yesterday with 26 knot wind blowing right inn and 3-4 boats fendered up together all the way along the pontoon.
More news later. In the meantime we enjoy local fish and chips, a dinner at the Queens Hotel and a lunch at the Grand hotel, both hotels dating back many years.
Sunday 21 st. June, Midsummer!!
We motored up to Simbister on Whalsey yesterday and moored up at one of the quays in this active fishing harbour. The village has one shop that sells all you could imagine, and even more. The variety of food was unexpectedly good. Otherwise, the Boating club with a disco last night was completely different from the club in Lerwick. The reason being that a large charity effort for football had been organised and was being clelbrated in the evening – not exactly the atmosphere for 80 year olds.
More details about Simbister later.
We leave soon for Balta Sound on the northermost island, Unst.
Saturday 20th, June. Norma is going to the Shetland Museum to finish downloading her (this) webpages and Åsmund and the skipper are checking weather forecasts and tidal tables . We are ready for the next leg: The short distance up to Simbister in Whalsey .
Friday 19th. June, a bit warmer and drier weather but we spent it mostly indoors at the Shetland Museum gleaning more facts. Norma tried to get more info about her fishing ancestors both in the museums archives and in the Port’s lists of visiting boats. We notice that people around are very service minded, and other yachties are interested in our boat and its travels. The local boating club is the evenings meeting place.
One of our new conacts is German lady,Susanne, in S/V NEHAJ, in a 40 ft. Coopman aluminium boat. She is sailing alone and is heading for Iceland and Greenland. Yesterday, a Norwegian auto-longliner moored in front of us. M/S Haugafisk is now a museum vessel connected to Florø Kystmuseum. Going onboard, Jon Erik impressed Åsmund by explaining the development of Mustad Autolin, in which he played an important role as chief of reacearch and development at the Mustad company .
Thursday 18th. was cold and blusterous, but we braved the weather up to the lighthouse at Sumburg Head and the bird sanctuary. Shetland has profited from the oil industry activities in many ways. Roads are better, fewer are unemployed and many new buildings have been built, probably with support from EU. The lighthouse extension is one of those, also several museums. Hotels are still scarce so the harbour in Lerwick has two enormous ships moored up, for several years at least, to function as housing for workers.
The lighthouse was built as late as 1832 and is now more of interest because of the bird life around the steep, rocky cliffs. Our aim is to learn a bit more about the places we visit on our sailing cruises. Even though we were at Jarlshof 9 years ago, another visit was imperative. The one hour trip around the area with head phones gave a great deal of well organised information on the development of the island form several thousand years back until today. The evening was spent aboard with guests from Australia who had been cruising with Leon Schulz, a well known HR sailor and owner.
On Wednesday 17th we took the bus to Scalloway where there is a new, impressive museum. Åsmund was particularly interested in the Shetland bus, all the traffic between Norway and Shetland during World War II, being an MTB officer himself. We are reading David Howards book "The Shetland Bus", giving us even more interest in the subject. It was made even more alive by the fact that we met and ate lunch at the same table as Howard’s wife’s sister. Howard has been dead for many years but his wife is still alive, 93 year old. She told us that David Howards ashes are spread in the bay of Lunna Voe, tha original base of the Shetland Bus.
We went to the Shetland boat club after attending the local rotary meeting and ended up later in a pub where 7 musicians , both professional and amateur played until 1 am. A terrifick display of folkmusic and improvisation. What an atmosphere there!
Tuesday 16 th. JuneJon Erik, Åsmund og Norma have had a busy and very interesting time in Lerwick and the surrounding area after the celebrations on Tuesday when Siller Lass moored up in Lerwick at 3 pm, in good time to celebrate Norma's 80 th birthday.
Monday 15th. June
A good deal of time was spent studying Ugrib and other weather forecasts. There was a posibility of a "window" giving a reasonable crossing to Shetland from early monday, otherwise almost in about a weeks'time. We chose to leave early and had rather rough seas to start off with, but the wind decreased as forecast and the trip was much easier than on our visit here in 2006.
From Skudeneshavn kl 6 we had 3 watches and I was lucky to evade stearing by hand while sailing in the strongest seas and winds, less than 12 m per second though. Progress was fine all day, little to report apart from some couples of gannets, fishing boats and traffic to plethe oil rigs. The rigs are impressive both in size and number and quite an "attraction" when lit at night. We were called up by Bravo while we were taking in our sails and politely asked to keep a distance of more than 1 nm to it!
At midnight JonErik and Åsmund surprised me - they sang Happy Birthday for the 80 year old on board!
We continued through the night in gradually decreasing wind and more speed and arrived in Lerwick after 33 hours at sea. Several boats from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Malta were in the harbour. Everything had changed, the sailing boats were in a different harbour area, a bit more roomy but less attractive. The original harbour entrance was closed by two large ships used as accomodation for some of the workers in the oil industry. After being treated to a gourmet dinner we went along to the Lerwick Boating club to meet some of the local sailors and that was fun.
Saturday 13th June
A relatively uneventful day. The wind was head on again and increasing hourly. We covered 66 nm in 8,5 hours, passing Kvitsøy on the way. Decided to go offshore to Skudeneshavn and therefore not go into Tananger. This gives us a chance to sail directly from there to Lerwick. The weather forecast for Sunday is anything but favourable for a crossing so Sunday will be spent in Skudeneshavn, hoping for the temperature to rise, the wind direction and strength to improve and the sun to shine - perhaps a bit much to wish for! Anyway, we'll enjoy a day ashore.
Friday 12 th. June 2015
Progress is great, even though today's trip was only 50 nm. We had sunshine all the way and increasing wind , relatively flat sea and moored up in Egersund at 13.30. Egersund is a pleasant town with a flavour of the previous centuries. We walked around the old town, admiring how well kept the buildings were, and had a really god meal at Peking House - can be reccomended. The North Sea cycling race starts in Egersund and the town was preparing for the start on Saturday. Son, Bernt, is cycling the 90 km to Sandnes along with his friends from CIOR. I had hoped to see the start, which was from our quayside, but skip. Jon Erik has planned an early start for Siller Lass again (6am)!
Thursday 11 th June
Wind 6-7 m/s now at 8 am. Sunshine and fine sailing southwestwards along the coast.
Sailing gradually changed to motorsailing, then to motoring for the rest of the day. We had a long haul, 92 nm in 13 hours.
We chose not to go into Mandal since the sea and wind were reasonable in strength, and continued on to one of our favorite marinas, Farsund. On the inner passage we manouevered our way through the narrow canal at Skjernøysund and under the 19 m high bridge.
Rounding Lindesnes with wind stregth 12ms was a rough, but short experience. We thrive with this type of life!
Wednesday 10 th June
Six am and ready to go. The start of a long days' motoring- either no wind or a strong head wind. To get to the west coast in time we are obliged to motor. 9,5 hours and 75 nm to Arendal sailing club. This too, is an active club with several boats taking part each week.
Calm now in the evening and another early start tomorrow.
Tuesday 9 th. June
Siller Lass sails from her home harbour where the regatta enthusiasts have their weekly competition. Groceries, wine and water are filled and organised. Siller Lass is now ship shape and ready to go!
A couple of hours later we moored up at Kruke marina, filled diesel and spent a short night there with our new crew, Åsmund Tveit, a well known HR sailor, aboard.