Posted in : Hummingbird
Day 4 Wednesday
Motor Sailing to a Glacier
After our day at rest in Bolga, we were eager to make way to the glacier. Weather was still a bit challenging, as we discovered when we slipped lines from the pontoon and were blown around a bit in the marina. However, Roger (at the helm) was well prepared with a Plan A, B and C, and he expertly guided us out to sea with Plan D. We then hoisted the main and were off.
Given the cold and rain, all crew opted to wear the Flaven suits (kind of like a snowmobile suit or onesie for skiing). So the Hummingbird crew look a bit like a penguin colony. But we were all very warm penguins!
Roger and Jasmine executed and monitored their passage plan, giving course headings to those on the helm. As Jane was eager to improve her helming skills, she had first crack at it and with some coaching did a great job. Jasmine did a challenging navigational exercise by turning off the chart platter and using radar only to navigate for a good section of the passage. Great learning experience!
Once we arrived at the western end of Holandsfjorden, we were not disappointed – the glacier was beautiful! Just an amazing view of the glacier on the mountain, lush evergreens below it, a half rainbow touching it, and the mirrored reflection of it all in the calm waters of the fjord.
After dinner David, Phil and Jane worked on the passage plan for Thursday. A plan that is anticipated to bring us to the western edge of Norway’s islands and prepare us for a day or two at sea, sailing in the watch system.
Day 5 Thursday
Whilst Lynn, Jasmine and Harry briefly considered a 02.00 hrs vigil in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights, this was soon abandoned when we realized this would be akin to sitting in an ice box, due to the proximity of the glacier. Sleep won.
After a hearty breakfast of French toast deliciously prepared by Roger and Jane, Jane then expertly manoevred us off the jetty and into the fjord. The day was wet, cold and misty, but our spirits remained high as more amazing mountains and rocks came into view at every turn. Graeme and Jasmine prepared ‘Lofoten salad’ for lunch according to yet another of chef and mate Jonas’, delicious recipes while David, Phil and Jane handled the tricky navigation and passage making through the numerous small skerries on our way to a very beautiful anchorage off the dramatic mountain island of Sanna, in the Traena Islands. After dinner by Roger and Jane, we slept to the sound of the rain and the wind while the boat swung gently on the mooring.
Day 8 Sunday
Spent last night tied up in the harbor at Rorvik. Rorvik is a beautiful town on an island connected to the Norwegian mainland by a high bridge. Met a few folks and had interesting conversation. We slipped lines this morning and headed south to (believe it or not) another beautiful island. Helton is a small island grouping that appears to be a seasonal fishing village, home of a main lighthouse, and also a bird sanctuary.
With beautiful clear skies today we had a tutorial on celestial navigation. We learned how take a noon sighting of the sun with a sextant and then use that information for a sight reduction method to determine our latitude. Longitude tutorial is tomorrow. Impressively, we sighted and calculated our latitude to within one mile!!! We were told anything within 30 miles is acceptable.
Dinner tonight was on board in cockpit at our tranquil harbor. Plans are to continue southward tomorrow to an anchorage/moorage to be determined tonight.
Day 9 Monday
Monday dawned bright and sunny in the beautiful, but apparently deserted, village of Halten. After a relaxed morning with exploring onshore for some of the crew, and passage planning for others, we slipped lines at midday. We were heading to a small island at the head of a fjord south east of Alesund, a trip of some 170 nautical miles, to avoid us having to battle into strong headwinds forecast for Wednesday.
The crew soon fell into the familiar three hours on, six hours off watch system, with cooking and housekeeping tasks being done at sea, sometimes at a bit of a tilt, with a bit of rock and roll thrown in. Jonas led our ‘school’ session teaching us about the Big Five Principles of Boat Handling, a valuable session which we all hope to put into practice as we take turns to helm Hummingbird for the rest of the week.
Sadly, the wind stayed away completely on our journey, and so the sound of the engine, and the generator, broke the silence of the night. But, treats were in store. Aurora Borealis visited on Phil and Lyn’s watch and at the beginning of Roger and Jasmine’s at 0100 hrs followed by a display of shooting stars. Nights at sea on Hummingbird can be so special.
Day 10 — Tuesday
Hummingbird is docked on a pontoon at Oye in Norangsfjord with stunning scenery of mountains, glaciers and waterfalls. A beautiful end to our 30 hour long motor sail while in the watch system. Graeme and David are making a delicious chorizo pasta and other crew are walking around the picturesque village of Oye. Our passage planners – Jasmine, Rodger, Graeme and David – did an excellent job getting us here safely. And, best of all we are now sheltered from the high pressure and Force 7 winds expected tomorrow.
Over the last 30 hours we have all experienced night sailing with its challenges. Waking up, getting our cold weather gear on and being up on deck 5 minutes before watch change and avoiding all hazards and other boats as we make out way.
The historic Hotel Union Oye was built in 1891 in a Swiss chalet style and is a trip back to the turn of the 20th century. We gathered there for after dinner drinks and desserts, and to hear an informative talk by Graeme on cold water shock. A lovely setting and perfect ending to a lovely day sailing the fjords of Norway.