In the homeland of the Vikings

According to official data, the length of Norway from North to South is 1770 km, while the length of the coastline of the country — 28 953 km! And this is without Svalbard. Just imagine how its indented coast, abounding with fjords, bays and Islands! Imagine a picturesque scene of the most incredible shades of dark blue sea and black rocks, the green colors of the forests located on the slopes of the mountains, and white snow that surrounds the rocky high peaks; waterfalls, clear as crystal, silvered and trout rivers; the colorful houses, scattered in secluded corners, then gathered together in a vigorously pulsating city.

It is not surprising that this land has long attracted travelers. And the first thing (or rather who) most associated Norway is the Vikings. Their image in the North country we see everywhere: on t-shirts and cloth bags, in the souvenir shops, including in the form of chess… One drunken native with a red hot face, good-natured smile and sly eyes in Eivindvik, hugging me by the shoulders and mentally asked what I know about their native land Gulen. I hesitated, and why the interviewee came in happy delight and chastise not to listen to anyone, he told: IT was HERE (in Eivindvik, of course) and nowhere else in Norway and especially in Sweden, or any of Denmark — the original homeland of the Vikings.

  • Under his feet — the Norwegian sea. And there, over the horizon, Iceland, Greenland and finally Canada

  • Under the wing of the plane — the fjords of Norway

Later in the shop in Skudeneshavn from a booklet I found out that HERE (on the island of Karma, of course) and nowhere else in Norway and in Scandinavia — the one and only homeland of the Vikings! I believe with all. Vikings live, Vikings live, Vikings will live! And we are in our journey to take a Charter sailing yacht “Charlie” (Elan 40 Impression) let’s see what else there is in Norway, except for the Vikings.

Sea country

As for the recreational fleet, Norway is a country of more motor than sailing. This is clear when we approach some of the local Marina, and according to statistics.

As stated in the report of the Royal Norwegian boating Association (2018), in Norway, there are over 900,000 boats; motor (without cabins) about 400,000, and a motor with cabins around 160 000. Sailing yachts, respectively, 13 000 and 27 000; the rest is a rowing boat, kayaks, etc. of the total number of boats 81% consists of vessels made of fiberglass, a 9% wood and 6% aluminum alloy. With a population of about 5.3 million, you will agree, such a pleasure fleet is impressive.

This begs a logical question: where are all these boats? Here statistics has been more vague. Classic Mediterranean marinas with water, electricity and shower at the same time in Norway, not so much. They are mainly located in major cities, next to, or in some tourist areas, for example in Roosendaal. The rest is the small jetty and pontoons, often with payment in full trust in the form of a small mailbox where you want to lower the amount due, in cash only. In such places, of course, also possible to connect to the services, or to find a shower, but there is sometimes it doesn’t hurt to luck or personal ingenuity. For example, the hot shower may be just in a hotel room nearby, but you never get there if you don’t ask. And that is the main problem, because to ask is often just not one.

Champagne crabs and not only

Our route started and ended in Bergen. First we went up North to the entrance to the Sognefjord and, drawn by a fair westerly wind, almost reached its end — to the little village of flåm. This is one of the main attractions of Western Norway, the place where cruise ship passengers, already weary voyage and crabs with champagne, and transplanted in the trailers an ancient and very picturesque railway in the hope to enjoy mainly terrestrial landscapes and, maybe, drink black tea in faceted glass with lump sugar. The scenery is there, but the tea in faceted glasses (in glass holders) will be served on the railway about 1500 km to the East, and the disappointed tourists will return to the champagne and crabs.

We had interesting and varied. Out of the Sognefjord we went along the North shore, the wind was a counter and drinks in the light of the partial change of crew and replenishment of the naval reserves in Norway have dramatically changed the color: sunlight spilled in amber at dinner in wine-glasses of brandy.

In relation to overnight and on the southern and Northern shores of the Sognefjord quite a large selection of Parking, but perfect only in the Sognefjord area, for there is even a washing machine. To the rest of the sites have questions. For example, in Adjame, in addition to majestic mountains, you will have to enjoy the views of the hydropower plant and the plant for the production of sodium chlorate. Yes, Norway is not only oil and cod!

In Balestrand in turbulent weather, the Parking lot seemed insufficiently protected. As for anchorage, it is desirable to have the anchor chain length of at least 70 m: everywhere depth a fair, and where shallow, very close to the shore. In other words, with our 50-metre chain anchor we can not everywhere.

But this is a General comment for Norwegian waters. The same General recommendation and the size of the vessel. When the length of the boat 40 feet you can count on a mooring almost anywhere, but for that bigger place you have to look. For planning travel I have enjoyed yacht sailing directions Norway (author Judy Lomax, publisher Imray). Everything is described not as detailed as Greece have a kind of Hiekel, but if the chart be considered complete with Norwegian publications (alas, in Norwegian, but the pictures are good) and the Norwegian paper cards, very good selection of materials.

Fjords, fjords…

Outside of the great fjords cutting deep into the Scandinavian Peninsula, cleverly infused small fjords like twins Swedish and Finnish archipelago. Here, on the way to the Sognefjord, I noticed Strahan is a small island connected by a Causeway with the larger island Sandana.

There was a large two-masted yacht under the British flag, which we later crossed paths a few times. To get can lag the inner side of the floating dock; you only need to carefully watch are the chains that attach it to the bottom. There is another pier at the houses, but he was busy with yachts. Stand closer to the exit I liked: I love it when deep in unfamiliar places. Besides near the pier so much sticking out of the water stones — just horror! For Norway that’s fine, but I’m still not used to it.

The place is very cute. The local people here coming down the shaft, primarily in the restaurant, of course. But all is not so simple. This village has long been the center of the intersection of local waterways. For example, in 1929 there was a hotel, store, post office, Telegraph office, mechanical workshop… in Other words, Screamn flourished in the absence of other roads, except water. With the development of onshore transport network and bridges its value, as has happened with other such places, came to naught.

Now there were only the hotel and a small Park with a monument to Norwegian king Olav V, son of Haakon VII. A monument of some unprincipled, in the style of Soviet monumental. Incurious alien pass by and not stop to think, and all because a man like Olaf V, it would be possible to erect a monument, and with more imagination to the traveler interested in: who is this? Because the king really was an outstanding person.

“All for Norway” — that was his motto, and he called the people’s king, he was so popular among the people. Largely due to his acts — until 1957 as crown Prince and then king, and Norway became such what we see it today. It is significant that he drove the car himself and said that he had four million bodyguards, referring to subjects like the Norwegians. By the way, Olaf V was the champion of summer Olympic games of 1928 in sailing a 6-meter R-class. In 2005, the Norwegians proclaimed king of Norwegian twentieth century.

Islands, the Islands…

Traveling among countless Islands, and I thought, “how many Islands in Norway in General, and what country has the most?” Did some research, and here are the results. A clear answer to the question is no. The most frequently mentioned Indonesia, but more than the assertion that it is the largest island state, not the state with the greatest number of Islands. Among the contenders for the championship — Sweden and Finland. The numbers vary, but some information exceed 150 thousand. However, many of the Islands is rather small rocks and stones sticking out of the water and sometimes decorated with pine. A sort of Northern version of a cartoon island with palm tree. But a steady second place is just Canada and Norway, where Islands, large and small, around 50 thousand. In my beloved Mediterranean sea, for comparison, in Greece there are about 1400, and Croatia — 1145. What am I? Moored on the island Fedje.

This is the most Western point of our journey. And near Holleben genuine westernmost point of the country, the Cape on the tiny island of Stanza in the archipelago of small Islands to the North-West of the Islands of the Utvær in the municipality of Solund, Sogn-og-Riordan. That’s not counting the island of Jan Mayen, of course.

The weather turned bad. The sun hid. We are so used to it that even became somehow uncomfortable: lead wave and low sky look dull coupled with low bare cliffs of the island. Good that the local fishermen paint their houses in cheerful colors, white and red. The entrance is narrow but well marked. In the main port a few pontoons with water and electricity, where you can get boats. Easily find the place…

Fade attracts tourists the remnants of the German fortifications of the Second world war and near the sunken German submarine. As an old submarine lying at a depth of 150 m somewhere in the open sea, can brighten up leisure arrived on the island a tourist? It is not clear, but this fact appears in all the found sources of information about the island. Spice adds that the boat was dangerous cargo — 40 tons of mercury that was supposed to deliver to Japan, but due to a malfunction of the diesel boat returned to Bergen.

It was possible to detect the ships of the British Navy, and British submarine “Venturer” sank an enemy submarine, firing at a target four torpedo… Like it was planned to lift submarines and clean up the sea, but when it happens and will continue if the program is unknown to us.

It completely destroyed the German artillery battery, we also took a walk, but not for her sake, of course, but for the sake of the view of the open sea: for obvious reasons, the battery is located on one of the commanding heights. Somewhere over the horizon — the Shetland Islands, only 180 miles away…

The most fun entertainment in Fedje cable ferry across narrow proleptic separating deep into the shore of the Bay of Islands. We stand on one side, and the ferry and the supermarket on the other. Electricity is on a five minute phone call, and you have to start the movement using the lever control and the time to cross. We have the most time was spent not on the crossing, but to find a small box where to put 10 crowns for the use of the attraction self-delivery. In the process of searching I had almost dismantled the force shield; well, in our team, not all of these smart engineers like me, and a box of money was found before I was dead the only, though small, ferry crossing to the island.

And again — the sea

In the morning we leave. The forecast promises a nice tailwind, and we first really good go, putting the sails, “butterfly”. But then the wind dies down and the sails replaced the engine. At 10.00 we meet the ship with the unusual shape body. Once closer, we see the title: “Ivan Gubkin”. Here is what they write about him online: “the research vessel geophysical exploration “Ivan Gubkin” (Ivan Gubkin), formerly Polarcus Amani, 21 APR 2017 was acquired by a subsidiary of group of companies of JSC “Sovcomflot” — OOO “SKF GEO” for the production of Maritime geophysical research, primarily on the Arctic shelf of the Russian Federation”.

You guys are going North and we South. Next will be the oil capital Stavanger, but that’s another story.

Interesting meetings

I met at one of the stops with Dedkov, captain of a small sailing yacht. To his question how long I sail, revealed that started on the wooden “Dragon”. He listened, then handed the sheet of paper and says:
— Draw the profile of the yacht and the hull in cross section.
I, of course, drew.
— And sediment — asks — what? And the weapons?
After receiving the responses, the old man grunted with satisfaction, they say, passed the exam, the young man (I haven boys were not). Then on another sheet of paper he drew two Islands.
What is — asked — you know?
Drawn in two nearby pieces of land are easily recognizable New Zealand.
— Here, — said the grandfather. — It is. I’m out of there. Came here on the boat, I captured these places with their beauty, and besides, then met a blonde beauty with blue eyes and disappeared altogether, married and never left home.

While we drove leisurely conversation, the sun went on a date with the horizon, the wind died down, and the surface of the Bay began to resemble a mirror. And sparkle in the sky with white clouds and admire their slender mill pine bordering the Bay slopes, and thoughtfully stared up at him a few red houses, bored waiting for their owners. So quietly began. Grace — well, just no words!

I returned to the boat, my grandfather went about his business. And I thought about what a beautiful and romantic story told to this sea wolf. Simple language about love, the sea, a great peace and freedom. New Zealand, Norway, blond beauty… Oh, sounds nice!

Extraordinary adventures and good luck on the sea routes to you, friends! And, of course, not only in Norway.


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