We are finally in Norway after 14 months of trying—we initially sent off our application for temporary residence in May of 2000 and we received our permission, ten months later, in March of 2001, just as we were leaving our winter home at St. Katharine Dock, London, England.
Then began the boatyard saga! We had arranged to spend about three weeks at a boatyard in Essex to replace the transmission and get the annual haul out completed. Though it actually took longer than three weeks, we were finally ready to head for Norway at the end of May. On May 24th (my 40th birthday) we went for a sail and broke an intermediate shroud. We didn’t lose the mast, thank goodness, but the result was another four weeks in another boatyard in Suffolk and all new rod rigging for Morgan’s Cloud (the most expensive birthday present I’ve ever had!). While waiting for the rigging we cleaned all 14 winches on the boat and gave the entire rig a very thorough going over, of course finding many other things that needed fixing. As one of the riggers told John: “Just stop looking and you’ll stop finding things to fix!” So we finally stopped looking and, after fully provisioning the boat for another 10 month stint, left the UK directly for Norway on July 2nd.
The passage across the North Sea was very benign weather-wise. We managed to sail most of the way, dodging a lot of oil rigs and forging our way through some fog patches. However, when we arrived in Norway in the early morning of July 5th, it was beautiful—a full moon, no real darkness, and a terrain reminiscent of Southern Labrador—a million outlying rocky islands layered with mist and rows of mountains receding in ever-darkening blues. It felt like we were coming home.
We spent three days alongside a town dock in a lovely little village on an island halfway between Stavanger and Bergen. We left there on the 7th and are now alongside the public dock in downtown Bergen, a cosmopolitan and interesting city. Since this is high season for Norwegian sailors, the docks are busy with boats rafted several deep all around. Everyone is friendly, however, and we have already made friends with a couple from Oslo and a couple from Bergen—a good start to a hopefully enjoyable year.
We are planning to leave Bergen on a quick passage to Trondheim in order to explore points north while the weather is still relatively settled.
The Norwegian Cruising Guide is a mine of information on sailing in Norway.
For photographs of Norway, visit our Picture gallery.