Saturday, 12 May 2012

Around Statt

Calm departure from Bergen
The spring weather in the Norwegian Sea offers an almost continual succession of gales interrupted by brief pleasant periods.  Rain falls on mountain, sea, saints and sinners with complete indifference but strong winds and large waves can be largely avoided by navigating Norway's sheltered inside waters.

The notable flaw in this strategy involves the Stadlandet peninsula [Statt].  Rounding this inconveniently placed piece of mountain involves a 25 mile sail from shelter out to the open sea and back again.  Our premature departure from beautiful Bergen was dictated by a desire to round Statt 2 days later on May 12. This was the only date forecast to have acceptable weather out in the ocean.

Our departure day from Bergen was so calm that the only waves on the water were the ripples Traversay made as her motor pushed us through the water.  By anchoring time in the afternoon, the 20 knot headwind was just a mild preview of the following day.

The 11th dawned with the headwind still there but we needed lots of miles to be in position to round Statt on the 12th.  There was a gale in the forecast for the afternoon but that was for offshore right? Hah!

All went well until we had about six miles to go to our chosen anchorage at Botnane, Froysjoen at which point the wind cranked up to over 40 knots right on the bow.  My those last miles were a struggle!  But with perhaps 7 miles of fetch at worst,  our speed rarely dropped below 2 knots.

Finally, still outside crashing about in the waves, we identified the range markers and channel markers, turned right and galloped into the harbor basin.

As we passed those channel markers, the waves changed to ripples and the gale transformed itself into a breeze. The white creche against the mountains photo taken at anchor suggests the peacefulness of the scene. But you really had to arrive escaping the weather to fully appreciate it.

In the end, the overall plan worked.  The morning of the 12th dawned calm and the four hour passage around Statt, though rolly from leftover waves, was uneventful.  Once again our inside passage resumed with its well marked channels, shores decorated everywhere with small villages below and mountains above and wireless broadband everywhere.

The next projects will be to rest from too many successive days of travel and to travel up and down a fjord or two.

At anchor,
Raudoya, Orstafjord

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