Leaving Norway, 2003

Our last newsletter ended with our decision to spend a second winter in Tromsø. What a good idea that was: We cemented the friendships we made our first winter and made new friends; we improved our skiing, though we are still nowhere as good as the Norwegians; and we realized that Tromsø, Norway, and Norwegians, have worked their way into our hearts.

We saw a bumper sticker early in our time in Norway that we now realize is true: ‘There are two kinds of people: Norwegians and those that want to be Norwegians’. Well, we definitely fall into the second category!

After we wrote our last newsletter, we spent September and the first half of October exploring a region of deep fjords just south of Narvik. We also managed to cross Norway on foot to the border with Sweden—in case you are completely impressed it’s only 8.5 km to the border from the bottom of the Tysfjord; though with a 500 meter climb up a wilderness path in intermittent snow squalls it was challenging.

We arrived back in Tromsø in the middle of October to our familiar berth and rapidly settled in for the winter: cockpit cover, 8 dock lines—some with chains, large balloon fenders, 3 electric heaters, et al.

The winter passed quickly as we wrote articles, sorted and catalogued our photographs, put up a website and dealt with the resulting business. But we managed to find time to visit with our friends, to spend a month in North America visiting family and friends there, and to get out of Tromsø to various cabins and skiing destinations. Once again the dark time and the returning light fascinated us with its myriad moods and colours.

But spring quickly arrived and the time to head south loomed. After delaying a week in order to ski up to a mountain cabin, spend a few days at another mountain hut with friends, and spend a few days with friends on their sailboat in one of our favorite anchorages just north of Tromsø, we finally tore ourselves away and started south on April 19th.

We spent one day at our favorite Norwegian boatyard to haul Morgan’s Cloud and replace her 16 year old propeller—a very cold endeavour out on a windy point with snow squalls blowing through and a temperature in the region of 0 degrees Celsius. But the next day the sun came out and has stayed with us ever since, despite the cold northerly wind. Norway continues to stun us with beauty—snow-covered mountain tops, just-budding trees, sea eagles circling above sparkling fjords.

Our plans remain as stated in the last newsletter: To head south until Trondheim, then across to Shetland, Faeroe, North Iceland, East Greenland, Labrador and then to a destination somewhere in North America.

It will be hard to leave Norway after nearly two years but instead of saying “goodbye” to our Norwegian friends we say “vi sees” (see you).

The Norwegian Cruising Guide is a mine of information on sailing in Norway.

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Meet the Author

Phyllis

Phyllis has sailed over 40,000 offshore miles with John on their McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, most of it in the high latitudes, and has crossed the Atlantic three times. As a woman who came to sailing as an adult, she brings a fresh perspective to cruising, which has helped her communicate what they do in an approachable way, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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