August 01, 2011
There is a knock on the boat as we are changing to go in for a swim after a walk ashore. Someone has dropped their sunglasses in the water and they hope we might have some dive equipment to help find them. And this is how we meet Anders, Lill and Cornelia (7 years old). They are holidaying with their dog and their cat. Anders has had his eye on the Xc45 for a cruising boat in a few years, so he must have good taste. The glasses are retrieved and Dave scores a bottle of wine for his efforts !!! Happy days.
Anders very generously insists that we take HIS dinghy (a RIB with a decent engine) and go back into Marstrand for a look around. What would take us an hour in our dinghy takes 10 minutes in his. So fate smiles upon is and we get to visit Marstrand after all. Its a great place to wander around the narrow winding streets, between the very well kept old houses. Up to the old fort, later prison, and back down the Marstrand Vardhuset for lunch. unfortunately the fish shop has sold out of prawns, as we wanted to take some back to share with our new friends. The supermarket shelves are half empty too.
After a swim back at the boat, we head over with nibbles and a pinot gris to say thank you. Anders, Lill, Cornelia have been for a long walk with the dog and cat while we were away.
Lill invites us to have BBQ dinner with them, as they need help to use up their supplies before going home tomorrow. Another recalcitrant BBQ, eventually it is hot enough. We sit on the rocks looking at the sunset over the anchorage with some red wine and BBQ ribs, steak and hamburgers – delicious. We are still chatting at midnight, what great friends.
1st August and we have to leave, unfortunately. Anders and Lill come on board to check out the Xc45. Their cat has not come home overnight, and they can’t leave till she comes back.
We delay for one more swim, (Dave’s suggestion !!) and it pays off. There has not been a breath of wind all morning, but as we leave, there is 4 knots, so up go the sails. Now 5 knots, we go a little bit quicker, now 8 knots breeze, fantastic. And for just about the first time we defeat the First Great Mystery of Sailing, and we arrive in port with batteries that actually need charging.
We are staying at Goteborg’s Langdrag marina, after booking a berth. They send us an sms with the berth number and how to find it, isn’t technology great. 3 loads of laundry later I am a happy camper. We fit in a quick walk up to the chandlery to replace the welcome mat that we think flew overboard at some stage, about month ago. We are very glad to get an sms from Anders that the cat has returned and they can go home now as planned.
Rather than go into town by tram for dinner, we eat at the yacht club’s restaurant and have a lovely fish and shellfish soup and a pasta marinara (that is so large I thought was a serve for 2, it was huge. But so delicious we managed to finish it.) I’m off to bed at 21:30, what a party animal !
July 30, 2011
28th July : Astol
Yesterday put us off going to stay at Astol, but Dave comes up with the brilliant plan to go there for lunch by dinghy. Happy wife, happy life is his motto.
It takes about 40 mins with our little outboard, and Dave is a little wet by the time we arrive, but we are here. And what a different place to the one we went past at 4pm yesterday. There are free berths and room to tie alongside as well. We have a walk around town and sit to eat our lunch in the sun, looking out over the harbour. Its a lovely restaurant, complete with sheepskin seat covers. By the time we leave 2 hours later, the harbour is nearly as full as yesterday. Boats are rafted up 3 deep, and still more are coming in. We are happy to be going back to our quiet bay at anchor.
Lunch was delicious, highly recommended. Fish soup with crusty fresh bread ( the cut it yourself, as much as you can eat is not helpful if you are on a diet), and smoked prawns. We visit the shop for some more prawns and hot smoked salmon to take home.
29th July : Another sunny day. Summer is here at last.
We spend the day ‘people watching’, or yacht watching, as the bay’s inhabitants turn over. Sadly our favourite boat leaves. They have a young black labrador on board. She spends her time ashore chasing the neighbours dog around in circles, has us in hysterics. Time for a walk or two on the rocky islands, and a swim.
30th July : Time to move on
Today we pass through Marstrand. It is a yacht racing mecca, and there is a series on at the moment, we have seen the spinnakers in the distance off shore. The place is very busy, boats everywhere and not too many free berths, a few outside the quay, in the channel if you could stand the swell from all the traffic. It looks a beautiful place, with many old timbered houses.
We are off to Utkaften, a long north south inlet, good protection for all breezes except southerly. Just as well, as we end up doing two 360 revolutions over the course of our 2 day stay with the wind shifting around. Its no hidden gem, there must be 60 or 70 boats here. Most are tied to the rocks, though 15 or so are anchored, but there is plenty of room. Here by 1pm, we have a sunny afternoon to enjoy. We put up the bimini for some shelter, while all around us the sit on the rocks baking themselves !! Another swim for Dave, it must be hot !
July 27, 2011
Today shows us how busy it is here in the high season.
We motor up to Mollosund to try and get some diesel. There is a queue of about 6 boats for the bowser. We’ll try somewhere else before we cross to Denmark thanks.
Sailing here is a often a choice of 2 routes. Go outside the islands and this means also outside all the little skerries and grunds – so you will be in any swell, but you have lots of room.
OR, stay inside the islands, and this means you will usually be constrained to a well marked channel or two. Since about 90% of boat choose this option, it means that EVERYONE else will be in this channel too.
So today it is like Pitt Street. We are going south in Kyrkesund, very busy as you can see in the photos. Boats going south, boats going north, stink boats ignoring the 5 knot limit, boats overtaking, boats trying to sail through, with hardly any breeze. Keeps the concentration up.
These routes pass some lovely villages. I think they must find a good spot for a harbour, then build their village up the rocky hills surrounding it over the years. Many are holiday houses, but there are more permanent houses here compared with Eastern Swedish islands, because the water doesn’t freeze here. In Sweden we find nearly all the houses look well kept and freshly painted.
Sunna Holmen was to be our anchorage, but its a small bay and the bottom is very stony so we don’t feel very secure. A quick look at the guide books and we set off again further south.
We sail past Astol, an island marina we are hoping to visit tomorrow night. They have 2 of my most treasured features in a marina – a smokehouse come restaurant, and washing machines !! The small harbour there looks jam packed. The boats are rafted up (tied alongside to another boat) 4 deep – what happens when the person innermost on the jetty wants to leave ? Tossing up whether to bother tomorrow , or perhaps wait till Sunday night, surely some of these sailors will have to go back to work soon ?
We have a lovely anchorage at Karrson tonight. We sit in the afternoon sun and scour the books and charts for the last places to go on our Swedish cruise.
July 26, 2011
Well finally the sunshine is here.
A lovely day of 10 to 12 knots and sunny.
We are heading downwind to the south today, and for the first time this season have a decent sail with the gennaker. Now called the “Fantazolam” (Trade Mark Professor Tony Chu) for its colours – an in joke for anaesthetists…
2 hours of gennaker sailing. YIPPPEEE We overtake a catamaran with its spinnaker up, even when he takes a short cut between 2 islands and we have to go right round the outer one. We even manage a gybe without swearing. So 31 NM today.
The anchorage we aim (Backevik) is very crowded, and we spot smoother water in an adjacent bay to the East. We anchor up there all on our own in 6m.
What do you have for dinner after such a glorious day of sailing – Left overs. See its not all glamour over here !!
July 25, 2011
Where is the bloody sunshine they forecast. Its grey and drizzling AGAIN.
We must be off though after 4 nights here, its time to move. So out with the wet weather gear…
Passing Kungshamn we are able to tie up at a communal wharf at Fisketangen and walk back into town. Its hectic here. There is a circus on tonight and I think every boat with a child on board has come here, and plenty of car tourists too. The supermarket has huge queues. And I get to enjoy them twice after a little mistake with our Swedish involving milk and drinking yoghurt. The hardware store has more gas canisters, the newsagent sells us another week of internet, so have ticked all the boxes. The System Bolaget is on the road back towards our boat, so don’t have to carry the booze nearly as far as the shopping – what a good place this is! Prices are definitely better than Norway.
Only 2 miles to our anchorage, at Keo. A long narrow inlet, with good shelter all winds and plenty of room for us to swing anchor.
July 21, 2011
Poor old Tim is thrown out of bed early (for him) so I can get his sheets in the wash – I have the laundry booked for 9am. He is off to the bus stop and home today, and REALLY looking forward to going back to work.
The forecast after today turns nasty with lots of rain and wind for a few days. We head south to Tjursund, which is a well protected bay, and should be good for us, with wind shifts of 180 degrees forecast. We have a sunny afternoon to sail down and manage to find a spot to suit us amongst the boats already here. We plan to have 3 nights here now and relax, and get my blog up to date.
On our first night here, Jessica invites us over after dinner to their boat for some red wine and a chat. Jessica is a film maker and her husband Peer just happens to be a Luftansa pilot. Not another aeronautical connection !!! On the Hurtigruten cruise we had an aeronautical systems designer, a mainentance engineer, and Oslo Gail was a flight attendant in Aus. Tim is a pilot too, so Dave has been getting plenty of opportunity to talk Flying Shit – as I call it.
They come over in the morning for breakfast with daughter Philine. She writes in our visitors book that we have a nice boat and she is particularly impressed because we have two toilets and one of them is electric !!!!
So it rains for most of the next 2 days, though brightens up enough on Saturday for us to go ashore for a walk and get a few chores done outside. Our little bay empties late morning, just before a big downpour, then fills up again in the afternoon. It absolutely hammers down with rain as a storm goes overhead, the heaviest we have seen over here. Forecast is for a few sunny days from tomorrow, our fingers are crossed……
July 20, 2011
With our plan to go to a marina today, we need to get up early. With better forward planning, we should have gone to bed early too. Next time. Dave, always the early riser (NOT) , does get up at 07:30 to get us moving. Its the middle of the holidays here so there are many boats around, and the marina may be full if we arrive too late in the afternoon.
With not much wind to start with we set about proving the Second Law of Sailing – if you are going to a marina with shore power, you will have to motor that day (therefore charging the batteries when you don’t need to). It does mean we can do the Hambergsund channel. Its about a mile long, and in parts only 100m wide. With the wind on the nose we would not be able to sail down it. Very pretty with houses along both sides with boat sheds and jetties. Their marina looks incredibly packed. There are many many boats going up and down the straight. Luckily for Tim the wind picks up enough that we sail the 6 NM to Hunnersbostrand.
Arriving at midday it’s Pitt Street when we arrive. Boats leaving, boats arriving. A German stink boat reverses around to take the buoy we had our eyes on.
Dave finds a berth that others seem to have missed and we squeeze in.
Hunnersbostrand has nearly everything you could want – laundry, supermarket, hot showers ( unfortunately coin operated, so not unlimited, and with a long queue at 6pm), but no grog shop. We deliberately didn’t fill up on this last item in Norway because it is twice as expensive as Sweden.
There is a fabulous fish shop, so its sashimi and prawns for lunch on the boat.
More seafood for dinner at a nearby restaurant – mussels and langoustines. Delicious.
July 18, 2011
Dave is very excited today. We will be back in Sweden soon, and his precious internet will be available again. Up early we leave at 09:30 and mostly tack into the breeze for a 44 NM day. Luckily for me we sail the whole way and it doesn’t rain today, so Dave can’t get cranky at me for pulling the pin yesterday afternoon.
We anchor at Testholmarna in a bay with great all round protection from the winds. The Norwegian classic (timber) boats must be having a regatta, as 4 of them raft up together after we arrive. It provides over an hour of entertainment as they sort out who goes first, where to lay anchors, how many fenders and then get caught in unkindly gusts of wind. The boats are varnished and polished to gleaming perfection.
Pork Chop Night.
The next day we sleep in, its very windy and we can’t be bothered going anywhere. Our dinghy gets out for the first time this year, so we can go ashore for a BBQ.
We obviously have not chosen the best dinghy rock, as the water gets so shallow I have to get out and tow the boys to the shore line, sinking in the mud and nearly loosing my crocs.
We have a disposable charcoal BBQ, that they use a lot over here. Good for about 30 mins of cooking once the coals are ready. That’s if you can get the bloody thing started. We made a wind break, collected extra kindling and had to resort to pre heating the charcoal on the gas burner we had brought along to do the onion. Eventually it gets hot enough to cook on, you wouldn’t want to be starving. Mental note : don’t buy that brand again!
July 17, 2011
Heading south, the day has a bit of everything in it.
Starting with no wind and clear skies at 11:00, we motor past Oscar Fort again.
An hour later the breeze comes in and we get the sails up in 8 – 15 knots.
Then the grey sky, then the rain.
Now the wind builds up and we put a reef in the mainsail (reduce sail area), so that makes the wind decrease, and we shake it out. So the wind increases and we wished we’d left it in. We all take a turn steering in the rain.
At 16:00, Dave suggests we keep going all the way to Sweden, another 25 NM, or at least 3 hours.
I suggest he *#%$ off, and that we anchor nearby, in Gjetoya, a bay I have already selected. Sanity prevails. By 16:30 we are anchored securely, by 17:00 we are warm and dry. By 18:00 dinner is served and everyone is happy. I just hope we have good winds to continue south tomorrow, or I’ll never hear the end of it from Dave.
July 16, 2011
Enough of Norway’s northern coastline.
The southern trip we have lot of rainy days and by the time we reach Bergen again we are both keen to be back on our boat.
A friend, Tim, is already at the boat as we get back from the airport Friday evening. He will have a week on board with us.
Saturday is a beautiful day. Very sunny, check out the locals packing a little beach in the fjord. Enough wind for a great sail to Sandspollen, or Butterfly Bay as Gail calls it. Hardly a hidden gem, there must be 50 boats here, but there is plenty of room. Don’t be fooled by the map track there which shows we went a mile of two. It was up then down the fjords, 29 NM in all.
We have found one relatively cheap item in Norway – salmon for sashimi is cheaper than in Aus. Entree for the next 3 nights is salmon sashimi. We nearly run out of wasabi ! NOOOOOOO. And the next supermarket is sold out, the Norwegians must have discovered sashimi too.
Roast chicken for dinner – no slumming it here Timbo. He declares his cooking inabilities and offers to wash up instead.