The last lap of our summer expedition in now completed. We are in Åsgårdstrand, our home harbour, after 53 days of sailing, new experiences, new acquaintances and fun at sea. The trip distance was 1446 nm and 29 harbours were visited. Two 80 year old senior citizens made the crossing to Shetland, learned a good deal more about the group of islands, the way of life there and the friendly, helpful people. Back in Norway earlier than planned gave extra time to visit new and fascinating marinas on the West coast, before sailing round the South coast in a leisurely way.
The photo shows our tracks at anchor in the West Rauane skerries on Thursday night. The anchor had a good grip, fortunately!
We sailed a short step from Tvedestrand on Wednesday afternoon, when most of the rain had fallen and moored up by the new quay at Furøya. A surprising countryside opened for us with a long pier, new barbecues of high standard, trash collection and the like. The countryside was of most of interest with natural forest, and a restaurant in the next bay. The island was owned by the Smith family from 1758, had a good harbour, good storage conditions for timber and farmed land. Since 1993 when the state took over ownership, the area has been developed for leisure use. There is a ferry service in addition to many berths for private boats.
The area around is in the process of restoring fish and shellfish growth, so fishing is prohibited.
All in all the stay around Tvedestrand was inspiring and certainly worth another visit.
We had a great sail northwards to Kragerø next day ,and decided to anchor up at Vestre Rauane, one of our favorite places many years ago, and perhaps even better now. There were few boats there and even fewer in Tallakshavn where we spent Friday night. The water there didn't inspire us tp take a swim - too much grass, and not clear at all. Better this morning though.
Tuesday 28. July
We sailed into Lillesand harbour on Saturday morning to find it more than full of boats, but our neighbours in Liberty, from Dolviken pointed out a vacant slot for us, which we were thankful for. Lillesand Sup and Stup festival took place that weekend, one of the reasons for so many boats moored up there, the other reasons were the Tall Ships race in Kristiansand with no room for privat boats, plus the heavy rainfall all day. We bought groceries then prawns from the pierside. We enjoyed them for lunch in the cockpit, pretending summer, with good shelter from all the rain!
Sunday and fine sailing conditions northwards Arendal. We moored up as usual and were welcomed at Arendal Seilforening. The barbecue ready for use every evening and coffee is served continually.
We continued on to Tvedestrand on Monday, a really attractive, well kept old town.
It is known for all the books shops, particularly antique books, there, one store even says it has 65 000 books , 50 000 of them on line! We met several friends there and have decided to stay for at least one more night in this area, which we haven't visited since the 90 s.
We are fascinated by the place and are going "book crawling" today. Our cruise is now nearing the end and we're thriving, taking life easy for a few says.
Friday 24th. July 2015
Another fantastic day today. Wakened early by boats lifting anchors and moving off before we even had begun breakfast. No complications with anchor chains or ropes and we were on our way towards the south west end of Blindleia. While crossing the fjord we caught a couple of mackerel, just enough for dinner. Then the skies opened with a mighty heavy rain shower making us wish we had window wipers, and we anchored up in Gitkilen, just south of Lillesand. It is always a challenge sailing through Blindleia with so many boats moving at various speeds in both directions. Some pay little or no attention to the speed limit!
We planned on stopping in Kristiansand yesterday but the galeforce wind and lack of space in the harbour meant we had to find an alternative mooring. We chose to go to Stokken, one of our favorite moorings.
The sea temperature has now reached 15 deg.C., tempting us to have dip. We'll remember 2015 as the year with a really cool summer!
Wednesday 22nd. July
Friday 17th. July
Skipper and crew enjoyed a day in Tananger with a bit warmer sunshine but gales at sea. Several walks to the boat museum and the old pilot stasjon before a hearty dinner with steaks followed by strawberries.
A really early start today to take advantage of the weather, made it possible to eat breakfast in Egersund in brilliant sunshine after 5 hours and 45 nm at sea. We met up again with the Swedish couple we first had contact with in Lerwick.
Wednesday 15th. July
Back at our haven ved Dolviken, 4 hours motoring from Gripnesvågen, a lagoon on the northern end of Tysnesøya, where we spent the night. The lagoon had a narrow opening, was reasonably large in diameter and had plenty of space to anchor in. Many cottages and a camping ground surounded the lagoon, but there was little activity, perhaps due to the inclement weather.
Monday 6th. July
We motored slowly up to Rosendal, fishing unsuccessfully on the way, yesterday. Rosendal marina has expanded since we last paid a visit here, and is very popular. There is a new building with showers and toilets, and the whole seafront is in the process of rebuilding. The village itself is small but the area around has industry and attractions of various sorts. We walked to the “Stone Park”, a fascinatingly creative and informative part of the National Park describing the geological fenomena around the Folgefonda peninsula – how the fjords, valleys, lakes, rivers and waterfalls were formed. There are also 150 different plants to be found here. We visited Baroniet today, now celebrating its 350 years anniversary, partly to see the exhibition of art by Queen Sonja and Queen Margarethe of Denmark.
We continually meet interesting people and learn about many walks of life. The days pass quickly, wind and sea changes bringing challenges, all part of this life at sea that we enjoy.
The last few days have been packed with contrast to our experiences in Shetland, both in weather and nature. One common factor though is the friendliness of the people we meet. We are inshore motoring in calm, warm weather and have even had a dip in the sea today. The water is almost 17 deg.C now, and the air temperature has been over 25 deg.
We left Bergen on Thursday afternoon after a fun “meet” with Olaf and his friends before they boarded Midnatsol.
We spent Friday in Bekkjarvik, one of our favourite places in the vicinity. This was only a small fishing harbour and village about 10 years ago, but the increase in salmon and fishery incomes is obvious. The marina has expanded, there are new apartments, a spa, hairdresser, medical centre, a wine monopoly and many high class shops in addition to all the new bungalows built up the hill. The local guest house “ Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri” was built around 1650 to please the Danish king, Christian IV, who demanded a guesthouse every half or whole day’s travel along the coast. It is thriving now with a new modern restaurant building, due to the two sons in the family having won honours in gourmet cooking in recent years. We treated ourselves to a gourmet meal last night, as did many other families.
Our tour among the myriad of islands took us to Uskedalen today, a fascinasting place of historic interest, with buildings dating back to the 18th century. Uskedals river is well known for both trout and salmon fishing. Our attempt at sea fishing though, was rather negative! Most spectacular are the mountains with glaciers surrounding the fjord, the highest being Ulvanåso 1247 m. The marina here is sheltered and has o relatively new pontoon for guests
Thursday 2. July
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.