Preparation - Oslo!
2 days work getting the cover of the boat and making her seaworthy so we could get her out of the water. 3 ½ day on land cleaning hull & propellers, changing anodes and putting on antifouling. Then 2 ½ day polishing before we could cast off for and leave Oslo behind.
Not bad after 3 years in the water!
Ready to launch!
Besides all that work, the captain managed to sneak off and skipper a boat on "Færdern", the worlds largest overnight regatta, and - thanks to a good crew and a fast boat - we won our class!
To the right you see the trophy.
All our friends were present at the quay to bid us farewell!
Presenting our rookie sailors for this year:
Scott; a two year old German shepherd and Tommy; about 4 years old - race and origin unknown!
The rookie sailor's corner
Once underway the two ship dogs found their favourite places. Tommy had already taken his involuntary bath - he couldn't make the jump from the boat to the floating stage - and landed in the water - luckily he was spotted by Scott who stayed by his side until the first mate managed to drag him out of the water!
We motored the first short leg to visit friends.
Welkin had distinguished company at Nesholmen, namely the 53 feet long «Staybrite», designed by R. G. Furuholmen in 1954. The yacht is now owned by the president of Furuholmen Motor Yacht Club.
The 27 feet runabout «Magdalena» is also designed by Furuholmen in 1930 and sports a V8 engine and does 37 knots!
After managing to get the final maps for our trip we had a late start. The weather was windy, rainy and cold, but the next morning we were greeted by sunshine.
Misingen is a lovely group of volcanic islands in the outer Oslo fjord, where a couple of years ago a pair of rabbits were (mis)placed. They thrived there well and multiplied year after year. So, now you can see the large furry domestic rabbits all over the island.
Yesterday we took in water, therefore this morning some time was spend, fixing the vent, which had some loose parts. The day was sunny with cold wind from South, which increased during the day to nearly 30 kn. Rapidly we took in more and more sails. Waves were building up and the first mate felt seasick, therefore we decided to stop at Stavern. The floating quay at Stavern guest harbour did not provide the shelter, we were seeking. Therefore we moored up at Torkildsøy just opposite Stavern harbour, and saved the harbour fee of nearly 50€.
On this island, also called Citadel island, there is a stone from year 1714 engraved with
"I stood here - Tordenskiold"
referring to the famous naval hero Peter Tordenskiold!
Closed hauled against the wind and beating towards Lyngøy lighthouse
They say, the North Wind is always cold, no matter where it comes from - and today it came from south. Finally during the late afternoon the wind decreased and we had a quite and calm stay at Nautholmane.
It is still early in the season and we had the place to ourselves.
During the night the wind changed - as it had been forecasted - and we were woken up by the sound of running on ground. We quickly left the island and lay on anchor, while having breakfast.
This natural harbour is quite special, a narrow shallow passageway to get in, and then just enough space to turn around, but it provides a good shelter. Welkin are tied up to the rocks a bit more than half way in the passageway.
Enjoy the wild flowers now - in a month everything will be dried up and brown!
Another mishap of the day was, that the milk has gone sour - and the first mate could not have her milk cafe! In another country, that would not have mattered, as there exists UHT milk. However, for some reason the Norwegians seem to considers such milk (or cream) even more evil than alcohol - you cannot get it here!
After the bad start, the day turned out to be just lovely: fantastic sailing in calm waters with the wind from aft.
On Knutshavnsund the dogs explored the island and Scott found and chased an animal, which seemed to be a mink.
During early morning the wind increased and as soon as we left the rain started. Some people say, there is no bad weather, just bad clothes. So we invested half a fortune in new sailing clothes. It did not help: Lousy weather was forecasted for the next 3 days and so it was.
As waves were building up we choose Blindleia ( literally the Blind Fairway) - a sheltered path through hundreds of islands with summer houses. Some small and modest, others estate like with private beach, quay and golf course like lawn - and all well maintained.
As the sea was very bad and strong winds and rain raged, the captain rather wanted to do shopping in Kristiansand than been beaten by the elements. The first mate is no a fan of shopping in Norway: just like the temperatures are too low, the prices are too high :-(.
Then we discovered, that the fridge stopped working, the thermostat was rusty and there went the afternoon with fixing up things.
The guest harbour was very lousy. Little Tommy got seasick, and Scott just wanted to be left alone.
The harbour in Kristiansand was swelling so bad that we just wanted to get away, so we went in search of the next harbour, and we found a lovely, sheltered and calm place at Helgøya. A couple of motor boats had already moored and were preparing for the St. John's Eve - in the rain!
Behind Helgøya we found a perfect shelter from the SW gale.
Incredible calm compared to the sea just outside the entrance
From the top of the island; a view through the archipelago of the southernmost part of Norway
Once Helgøya was inhabited by German soldiers, now there is sheep! For that reason the dogs could not run free. The sheep lives there the whole year and hides in caves (or better: bunkers) when danger approaches (in form of a German shepherd).
The ground of the lush forest is covered with thick soft moss and fern, the tree trunks are taken over by ivy and wild honeysuckle. All over the place are old fundaments und bunkers.
The island was used as a fortress by the Germans during the war. More than 150 soldiers were stationed here, manning cannons ( above left), anti-aircraft guns (above right) and machine guns to ward of the allies. Today it could be a great playground - but I guess playing war is not considered acceptable children pastime these days.
Left: Building structures emerges from the lush vegetation on this island - it's almost like Inka ruins!
Due to the St. John's Eve party with fellow local boaters the previous evening we had a late start, but as the sea was supposed to be rough during the morning, that just worked out well. When we finally set of we had one hour of nice sailing until the wind diminished and Welkin started to dance around in the waves with no orientation. Therefore we had to motor and pass the most southern point of Norway, moving northwards from then on. The distance from the most southern point of Norway to the northern point is 960nm or 1780km as the crow flies.
At Gjeslingen spar buoy, the wind had dropped but some seas were still left
The rookie sailor's corner
Finally I get some comfort on board here - I mean - it's way too cold for this kind of holiday!
We were alone in the public harbour at Korshavn. A pleasant, sheltered harbour with grocery shop, fuel and hotel close by. The constant rain however, were not so pleasant!
For today a gale was forecasted starting around 16:00. Therefore we had an earlier start (it is really never early with us and the dogs !), in order to reach Egersund in time. It did not really work out as planned: We were fighting increasing waves, wind and current (at least it was sunny!), and had to reduce the speed significantly.
The landscape has changed since passing Lindesnes. Tall, rough, dark green mountains are reaching to the dark blue sea, creating a dramatic impression.
We sailed trough this portal in the sky when passing Lista ( the flat peninsula to the right)
Not much is going on here - besides a few sailing boats and tourists doing fishing.
The helmsmen got a lot of sea spray today! Despite the sunshine the 15 degree cold water was NO pleasure!
The rookie sailor's corner
Look how wet I am!
What are you going to do with that then?
Me don't like that!
What a pleasure it was to reach the complete calm harbour of Egersund finally, were only the current of a little river made it difficult to berth the boat.
Harbour day in Egersund
The fjord of Egersund display quite some industry: fishing, food, oil ... - definitely something is happening here. Egersund itself however is a nice peaceful town and inside the harbour we were well protected, so that we did not experience anything of the strong wind and waves which were - at least according to the weather man - somewhere outside on the coast.
We spend the day doing this and that.
Left; Egersund has a lot of boat garages!
It was very cold this morning when we left and we had to put on woollen hats and mittens! Wind from north again, meaning another day of tacking. However, the sun got a bit stronger, the mittens disappeared (not the hats) and despite the current against us, we had a fantastic sailing day.
Even at midnight ( above) the quays were packed with partying people - We didn't notice when they closed because we were sound asleep after more than twelve hours of sailing.
Arriving at Vågen in Stavanger the outdoor restaurants were packed, we could hardly find two seats to enjoy a drink in the sun!
Went off with an ex-college and had a nice dinner. Out of the blue the owner of the restaurants told us politely, that we had had enough beer - while I was sipping on my alcohol free beer in front of me, and the only drink I had the whole evening was ONE glass of wine! Completely unbelievable!
In today's Norway a red nose seems to indicate, that you are a hopeless drunk, and not, that you might have had a whole day out on the sea in the sun.
At eight o'clock we were abruptly woken up by a big bang and got up to see what idiot had crashed into our boat - but the only thing we could see through the porthole was a white wall with the letters "Costa Fortuna"!
We had been caught in the propeller wash of this big cruise ship and banged against the jetty!