Cruising Norway Part 2

We moved the boat to the town that was hosting Sildajazz International Jazz festival – Haugesund. In previous years there had been so many boats moored together that you could walk from one side of the quayside to the other without getting your feet wet.

The jazz festival was in full swing but you seemed to have to buy a ticket to even get into the pubs if they had a band on. The quayside was full of restaurants and bars and they certainly filled up in the evening.

Cruising norway Haugesund

Cruising norway Haugesund

Haugesund norway

After returning to Leirvik to re-stock we travelled to the outer island of Espevaer. Espevaer island is part of Bomlo which is part of Hordaland county. Bomlo  consists of more than 900 islands most of which are small and unihabited.

Cruising norway espevaer

There was a completely automated pedestrian chain ferry on the island which everybody thought was great ! You put your 20 Krone coin in a slot and pushed a button. The ferry would come and get you and take you across to the other side. Simple – no man power needed !

Espevaer island norway

Refurbished grand house next to the water –

Espevaer island norway

Almost seemed like you were wandering around Scotland what with all the heather growing everywhere –

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Small beach on the island –

Espevaer island norway

This was ‘allegedly’ the place of Espevaers UFO landing. Back in 1975 a local fisherman saw a light and a local dog which was not known for its barking – barked. A clear indication that something was not right and a UFO had landed. It was so heavy it left its imprint and you can see the oval ring shape still on the grass.

Espevaer island norway

Many inlets and lochs surround Espevaer –

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Looking down on the small harbour on Espevaer island.

Espevaer island norway

Sunset at Espevaer –
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Time to leave Espevaer but everybody had enjoyed going there. It seemed that quite a lot of homes were holiday homes and many were being refurbished to a high standard. An up and coming holiday island if it wasn’t one already.

We set off to the neighbouring island of Utsira. Not made famous for the 20, 000 herring fisherman who use to congregate there during the fishing season, but because its one (or two) of the north sea shipping forecast regions – North Utsira and South Utsira.

View from the lighthouse –

Utsira island norway

Utsira island norway

Not nearly as developed as Espevaer,  Utsira felt a little more remote and felt as though it had more local people living there rather than being a holiday island like Espevaer.

Our next stop was Skudeneshaven, a place recommended by a local couple who were sailing around. The place to moor was well protected as it was well away from any harbouf entrance and there were tall buildings at everyside.

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Boat moored in Skudeneshaven –

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Skudeneshaven norway sailing norway

Inside one of the entrances to Skudeneshaven harbour was this fantastic looking set of houses next to the waters edge. Certainly would have had their privacy as only accessible by boat.

Skudeneshaven norway sailing norway

The final stop of the 3 week trip was going to be Stavanger. The plan to go back towards Bergen changed so the boat was going to be moored up in Stavanger for a month. Stavanger was a popular destination for the cruise ships so you would quite often have up to 3 moored in the harbour area. A lot of people who work in the oil industry also live in Stavanger so it proved to be a very expensive place to stay.

The marina near to where we moored up –

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Harbour front in Stavanger full of restaurants and bars –

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My 3 week sail around parts of Norway had come to an end. It was an interesting trip having never come here before. Its obviously a very expensive place to come for any kind of extended holiday, everything is at least double if not treble the cost !! The fjords are stunning and due to Norways relative low population nowhere seems that busy and populated. The transport infrastructure is impressive what with long tunnels, big bridges, many ferries, all keeping people on the move between various islands.

Unfortunately they had not experienced a good summer so the weather wasn’t always great but you can’t have it all !!

Definitely a place to come back to and explore the more northern and remote regions.

Takk Norge !!

Cruising Norway Part 1

The start of a three week cruise around the fjords of Norway started with a flight to Bergen via Stavanger. I only had a night in Bergen and a few hours the next morning to get a taste of the place.

Cruising norway bergen

The narrow residential streets of Bergen –

Cruising norway bergen

The boat was moored at a small village called Norheimsund in Hordaland county, only just over an hours bus ride from Bergen. The bus ride was very scenic as most transport links seem to follow the coast at some point.

Norheimsund village –

Cruising norway Norheimsund hordaland

The small marina in town, mainly catered for the local cabin cruisers but had enough space for the Oyster.

Cruising norway Norheimsund hordaland

Leaving (or maybe entering) one of the many fjords –

Hordaland region norway

Our first stop after leaving Norheimsund was going to be the small village of Sundal about 30 nautical miles away. Not much sailing could be done in the fjords so we  leisurely motored for a few hours until we got there.

Approaching Sundal –

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Moored on a small jetty at Sundal – just squeezed on !!

Sundal hordaland norway

View from above !!

Sundal hordaland norway

Many waterfalls and rivers in Norway !!

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A short distance from where we had moored was Lake Bondhusvatnet. A small hike up from the main road for half an hour or so got you to the edge of the lake.

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Nice stop for a break….

Sundal

At the other end of the lake was the Bondhusbreen glacier that has been receding over the last few years, not quite as impressive as it once was.

 

Bondhusbreen glacier sundal

The campsite by the mooring soon filled up in the early evening with motorhomes and campers. They were going to be in for a damp night as the poor summer continued !

We moved from Sundal onto Larssto about 35 miles away. Our mooring was a bit strange, apparantly a private mooring but visitors were allowed to stay. It was full of strange sculptures and lots of things ‘sea’ related like old pots, fishing nets, anchors, etc.

Larssto norway

Larssto norway

Larssto was the place where we seemed to have a coffee and slice of cake in an old peoples home. We walked into a very clinical looking building which had an advertisement for a cafe. There were lots of old people sitting around with visitors coming and going. They served us no problem and later found out it was some sort of ‘village’. I guess you could go and live there and have things supplied to you if you needed it. It just felt a bit strange as if you were invading somebodys privacy.

Our next stop was Leirvik on the island of Stord, only a short hop away but it gave us the shops we needed to re-stock and most importantly buy some wine !! This was more of a port with some big ships coming in and out including the all important ferries that keep people moving between islands. There was also the big Havyard shipyard nearby, one of the biggest employers in the region.

Leirvak stord norway

View from the hill top looking out into the bay –

Leirvik stord norway

We stopped here for 2 nights, explored the town, did some shopping, eat at 2 restaurants, located the vinmolopolet (off licence) – busy times.

We moved the boat onto Hjellestad but unfortunately the weather turned against us, we drove into wind and rain with the wind blowing up to 25 knots. We had trouble mooring the boat as it was blowing us off the pontoon but we got it safely tied up, just as well as it was a rocky wet night.

Hjellestad was another local mooring facility more suited to smaller boats.Hjellestad norway

The owners wife joined us in Hjellestad as you can fly into the local airport, it is then only a short cab ride away. The next morning we moved to Vage, Tysnes, the Norwegian summer weather was still with us and we motored through wind and rain. Apparantly the last two summers hadn’t been great with very unreliable weather, it sure can change quick here !!

We moored against a floating pontoon but we were a bit exposed to the swell that came in from outside the bay. It proved to be a very rocky night and the weather got worse, crashing us up into the pontoon. We moved the boat to a safer position in the morning and then found some damage to the side of the boat, the toe rail had broken and been ripped back a few inches.

We had thought about moving it the day before just after we had moored up. As the old sailing phrase goes ‘ if you’re thinking about doing it – you should really do it’ (or something similar).

Although Vage is the largest village in the Tysnes municipality, its still rather small with only a couple of supermarkets, petrol station and one restaurant/pub.

The restaurant proved to be a great place, not a massive menu but how could you when there are so few people. Unfortunately the highly recommended deer burger was not available as they couldn’t shoot one until next week. The standard burger was excellent and the following I had the fish soup which was brilliant. I also tried a local beer brewed nearby on one of the neighbouring islands,  a beer called Oselvar. It was a great tasting beer, a kind of pale ale, it was about 12 pounds a bottle which sounds a lot but this is Norway !!

Highly recommended beer !! –

Oselvar beer vage tysnes

I was also fortunate to try some of their very own beer they are preparing, not yet available for sale. Although they already sold beer and other alcohol it seems you have to have another type of licence to make and sell your own beer on the premises.

If you happen to be in Vage or nearby check out the Mandelhuset restaurant,  well worth a visit !!

Vage harbour –

Vage tysnes

Vage tysnes


Life on the road isn’t always so glam – the washing has to be done sometimes !! Always easier when its raining though.

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Fortunately the weather cleared up after our wet stay in Vage as we headed of to Sagvag. Sagvag was back on Stord virtually opposite Leirvik.  It was a small village with an even smaller entrance to the channel leading up to it. As it got narrower we were worried there might not be enough space to turn around but we found a very sheltered spot to stop for the night.

Sagvag mooring –

Sagvag stord norway

Sagvag stord norway

The only restaurant in town happened to be a Chinese so that solved that problem for the night !! Strangely though there seemed to be about four womens hair dressers nearby – maybe a favourite local past time for the locals.

We had heard about a jazz festival that was being held in Haugesund to the south along with a small boat regatta. That therefore was going to be our next stop………….

Route so far –

Travelling the world by sea……..(and a bit of land)