Sognefjord to Floro

Snug little corner in Svanoybukta

It was glassy as we made our way from Sognefjord to Floro, but the sky and barometer were telling us a different story. Wind was due, so we found a nice snug little berth on the island of Svanoya for the night.

glassy but look at the sky
The barometer fell 20 mb overnight!!

The wind came and then today it was the rain as we made our way the final 12 miles to Floro. We’re now all cosy in the marina here – and enjoying the afternoon now it has dried up again!! Ready for more next week as we head south along the coast and try even more new places.

Sognefjord – inner

After 9 hours motoring into Sognefjord we arrived in the well populated town of Vik and went to sleep to the sound of a thundering waterfall. Although the pilot book suggests there was nowhere to moor – google earth told a different story. The small boat harbour has been extended with an outer pontoon as a wave break – not great for smaller boats because of wash from the ferries, but ideal for Velvet Lady and a lot of fenders.

Each town in Norway has at least one church and most have more. Old well preserved ones as well as modern new ones. Vik is famous for its old Stave church – originally built in 1130, and what a fantastic sight it is.

After a morning in Vik, looking around the church, visiting the supermarket and topping up the water tanks, it was a mere 2 hours across the water to Balestrand. The guest pontoons are really only suitable for a 35 foot boat so we anchored in the beautiful Esefjord.

Tomorrow it is a shore day. From here you can catch a ferry to Fjaerland Fjord and the glacier, take a fast RIB to Naeroyfjord and the waterfalls, hire a bike or hike one of the many local nature trails. This afternoon the crew visited the tourist information office to make their choices and bookings.

Sognefjord

Billed as the longest, biggest, highest, deepest and oldest fjord in Norway, exploring Sognefjord is the focus of our Norway trips this summer.

Our first night in Sognefjord, the pretty town of Leirvik

We set sail from Bergen 3 days ago and have just entered the fjord. The approach from both north and south are protected by a series of islands so we had some intricate wiggling to do today

Whilst the main part of Sognefjord is extremely deep, there are many smaller, narrower fjords branching off with small towns and villages at the end. Tonight we are in Bofjord and alongside the pontoon in front of the pub in the town at the north end, Leirvik.

Leirvik, right in front of the Kro (pub)!!

Can’t wait until tomorrow when we head further into the fjord – Glaciers, Waterfalls and more await us.

Shetland to Norway

All smiles, under way again

The wind continued to rage through the next day in our anchorage and so we were in the Bay of Quendale for another night, learning new card games and listening for updates. The next forecast was for SE5 – 7 becoming 8, so we upped anchor and moved north to another anchorage in Gruting Voe.

After our third night at anchor the weather cleared and moderated to SE5 giving us a glorious sail around the west coast of Shetland before our haul across the north sea. Our passage to Norway was a classic beat – sail towards the new wind and wait for the shift, so we were hard on the wind on Starboard tack for the first half and then hard on the wind on port tack ! The wind gradually ‘freed’ us and we were reaching at 8 knots trying to catch up time. In the end we arrived in Bergen just before noon on Sunday – in time for some flights but not others – That’s weather for you!

Velvet lady in foreground nestled in between some much larger boats

Noon on Sunday – Bergen quay was at its busiest with lots of smaller motor boats rafted 6 deep for their weekend outing – so we had to find a space with the ‘big boats’. We are quite comfy here, but our neighbours move tomorrow so we will be moving space too.

Not too many jobs to do this week – usual cleaning, tidying, shopping and laundry – looking forward to our Sognefjord trips now and cruising amongst the islands – still some spaces see

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Gale Warning – Viking – NE8

We were sailing along in a lovely NNE 4 breeze yesterday when at 11.30 am the Met Office issued a Gale Warning – Viking, NE8 soon.

X marks the spot of Velvet Lady and we were heading right into Viking. Soon means in 6 to 12 hours time and we still had 48 hours to go until we would be clear of Viking. Time to look at those all important preparations for harbours of refuge. Where would you go?

The nearest option – and importantly within reach in the shortest time – was the Shetland Islands and so we set off on the opposite tack towards Sumburgh Head. It wasn’t long until the wind shifted and we were reaching in ever increasing wind making the sails smaller and smaller as we went. By 1900 the wind had reached 30 gusting 40 knots just to help us on our approach to the anchorage and by 2000 we were all secure at anchor in the Bay of Quendale just north west of Sumburgh Head.

Long ago I was taught – to escape the wind and waves just put a large lump of land between you and the wind – so that’s what we did! It is ‘sheltered’ but there are still waves all around us. Wind dial still registering 32 knots. Glad we are not outside.

I say ‘sheltered’ but even a quarter a mile off the beach there are waves all around us.

Lets hope tomorrow is a little better – now, where are the cards?

What a difference a day makes.

Light house keepers cottage

We left our anchorage in Dores Bay and headed down Loch Dochfour. On the first bend was a lighthouse and this fabulous lighthouse keepers cottage. I could quite imagine living there!

This evening we are anchored in Cromarty with a couple of rigs for company!

Yet another great day in the canal – its been a great but intense rope handling course. Finally we have also found out why it is so green here – plenty of rain. Pete braved the elements as we left the Canal and headed out under the bridge into the Moray Firth – plenty of cups of tea to keep us going!

And on to Cromarty – I have heard Cromarty mentioned so often when listening to the shipping forecast – Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger always seem to be grouped together – but although I knew it was a shipping forecast area I had no idea it was place! Tonight we are anchored in the very flat Cromarty Firth – right opposite the town. A busy and interesting approach very much like being in the North Sea.

We always said this would be the trip of many parts. So far we have done Scottish Islands and the Caledonian Canal – tomorrow it is time for watches and the passage to Norway (2 to 3), Weather is looking good.

We’ll be back on line once we reach the other side.