Farewell Lofoten

We’ve just finished our last trip of the 2018 season in the Lofoten Islands and in fact, probably our last trip there at all. Next year we will be based in Bergen and sailing in the Fjords further south.  This was our 9th summer here and in that time we have visited over 60 different harbours.  Even last week there was time for one last new harbour – Brettesnes, although there was no room on the pontoon for us so it was rather a short stay.

Yet another Minke whale joined us on our journey last week as well as many eagles and porpoises.  We have very fond memories of all of our trips here – surrounded by stunning scenery and often in beautiful weather.  We have had 24 hours daylight until this week, and now it gets dark for about 1 hour.  We’ll certainly miss the light.

That said we are really looking forward to exploring Sognefjord and surrounding islands – even further off the beaten track than Lofoten!  Think about joining us next year.  Getting there is not easy and may require more than a day travel, but the rewards will be worth it.  Look forward to seeing you on board.

A reminder of our times in  Arctic Norway and the Lofoten Islands

 

Midnight Sun at last

Well it was worth waiting for.  After many a night with overcast skies we finally found an anchorage with no mountains to the north on a night with a clear sky.  Stunning.

We had some days with beautiful clear skies but no wind

and days with wind but no sun!  We still managed to travel 200 miles and visit 3 places new to us!

On our last evening we anchored in Landegode and for company had Mariette of 1915, what a stunning looking boat

and she made for a fantastic photo in the glow of the midnight sun.

 

Midnight Sun

Had to share this – this was last night at quarter to midnight – flat calm with glorious light gave these great reflections of the bridge.  You can still see the snow on the hills, so it is still chilly, but WOW

In search of the Midnight Sun

Henningsvaer – one of the magical places we visited last trip, tucked in behind the rocks it is protected from all wind and sea. (We are the black circle in the centre, the white triangles are AIS positions of fishing boats.

‘A great experience sailing in the far north – pity there was no sign of the midnight sun but we saw plenty of wildlife- including a very playful minke whale!’

This comment in our guest book sums up our first trip in Lofoten and Vesteralen entirely.  It wasnt the wettest week we have ever had, nor was it the coldest but it was definitely the greyest.  There was some great wind and plenty of ‘moments’ of clear sunshine but never at midnight.

The highlight was the hour we spend with a very inquisitive Minke whale who must have been feeding, and in between mouthfuls kept circling around us to see who we were!  Lots of camera snapping ensued.

Now we are moored in the tiny town of Stokmarknes and looking forward to our return trip to Bodo next week with sunshine in the forecast!

A trip of firsts

 

Last week , after our Oban to Norway trip, one of our guests described the trip as ‘a trip of firsts’.

  • My first proper sea crossing (after a milebuilding trip on Velvet Lady last year from Plymouth to Oban)
  • My first proper seasickness!
  • First time in Norway
  • First time crossing the Arctic circle
  • First walk to a Glacier
  • First Oil rigs seen at sea
  • First time hailed in the face whilst helming
  • First time shower aboard a boat

We sailed 1100 miles to get from Oban to Bodo, with various stops in the Hebrides as well as a few special places on the Norwegian coast. The weather was a bit of a mixed bag – with calm then gales, rain then sun, cold then warm all to be expected on an ocean crossing.

We will be returning from Kristiansund to Plymouth (via the Hebrides) in September, and if you fancy a trip of firsts and 1100 miles for your log book, there are still a few spaces.  This will be the last of our 1000 mile plus trips, as next year, we are breaking all of the milebuilding trips into ‘shorter chunks!’

Full details of this and all of our trips – including the new look 2019 Schedule are available on the Schedule page of our website.

Velvet Lady in Bodo harbour

 

The tide was with us!

After much planning and deliberation about what time to leave to get the best tides we set off from Fowey at 0600.  We arrived at the Lizard just as the westward tide started and carried this right the way to Lands End to catch the north going tide for another 6 hours.  The tide was against us in the slack bit and then another huge boost from the tide had us surging past the Smalls and Tuscar Rock.  We were about to make the fastest trip to Dunlaoghaire so far, until the wind shifted and the final 12 hours were a beat in a typical Irish Sea gale.  Still arrived in Dunlaoghaire in time for an afternoon ashore in Dublin and a meal out.

Another huge boost from the tide gave us a fast trip up the Irish Sea to Campbeltown where we managed a trip to the distillery.   Yet another boost from the tide took us all the way from the Mull of Kintyre, into the sound of Islay and out the other end to  Loch Tarbert before it turned.

In all we gained 38 miles of help from the tide.  Great sunrises and sunsets added to the enjoyment as well as being accompanied by Dolphins.  In the north channel we were shadowed (radar target with no lights) for 4 hours, was it a submarine!  We’ll never know.

Ready for Norway now, the sun is shining and the wind is forecast to be with us for the first few days.  Great, now to work out the tide for the Kyles!