For us, this summer began on 21 July in Hammerfest when we returned from Spitsbergen. We are now enjoying temperatures in the 20's and the heating is off. The door and hatches are mostly open. The sun is warm. We have swapped the merino underwear for normal T-shirts. Christine swims around the Aegir again, provided the bays are not besieged by jellyfish. And our senses are reactivated by the intense colours and smells of the sea. We left the Norwegian mainland almost in winter and now everything is green.
An impressive hike on Arnoya (Årvik) leads us to cloudberries. We find a huge birch mushroom for a fine omelette. We scramble over rocks and enjoy this summer atmosphere as well as the increasing evening atmosphere. We moor in small harbors (Årvik, Laukvik) and stroll into the mini-supermarkets. Here we get a few apples and fresh milk, otherwise we still have so much provisions on board that we don't have to do any big shopping.
A highlight is a visit to the island of Lille Langøya with Babara - a new acquaintance - a former sailor. We enjoy the food, the conversation and the familiarity. Once again we take advantage of the absolutely perfect weather to go for a hike and to pick berries. To use our equipment and gain experience, we make two dives. Diving is far from routine for us, but there is already a hint of security and more joy than stress the second time around. As a side effect we see the strong growth on the hull of the Aegir. A new project. Now we have to find a dive shop to fill the tanks.
Our destination is Ballstad. Until then, we sail through a beautiful archipelago landscape, pick a lot of berries, sail at 9 kt through Gimsøystraumen and carefully navigate our way through some shoals into the harbour of Ballstad. The harbour master gives us an exceptionally warm welcome - we are happy to stay here. We can fill our scuba tanks and, from the jetty, do the first cleaning of the hull with long brooms and wipers. We have already got rid of the small pox on the waterline. After work comes fun! The "local mountain" of Ballstad beckons. We go hiking again. Christine & Christian (www.alpenwerft.de ) also pay us a "sailor's visit". Their journey is now heading north, just like ours a year ago.
We have our eye on the weather to the south and are in no hurry at the moment. But a wind window from the northeast lets us move on and we say goodbye to the Lofoten. Myken and Traena are our next destinations.
With a good wind, we sail quickly across the Vestfjorden. We are pleased with Aegir's good speed. The underwater hull is getting a good whirl. After 9 months in Arctic waters, SY Aegir crosses the Arctic Circle again - this time towards the south.
The temperatures around 24 degrees Celsius are quite noticeable. The air pressure has also dropped and a thunderstorm is approaching. We reef the sails in time and give the engine a boost. The front moved on behind us. However, we heard a distress call on the radio about a capsize and people in the water. We are too far away, but there are fishermen nearby and we heard that four people had been rescued.
Off Myken the wind and waves picked up again and Gregor steered with great concentration through the narrow entrance. In the natural harbour we immediately have calm water and a spacious basin. The tension is gone for good. We drop the anchor after 90 intense miles and enjoy a beer at this great anchorage. We visit the Myken whisky distillery (and we had a taste too...).
We barbecue and eat on deck - it's summer in northern Norway! The only news we get is of the storm "Hans", which brings a lot of wind and heavy rain, especially in southern Norway. At Traena we anchor in a fantastic spot surrounded by small islands (thanks to Baptiste from SY Sailer & Lula for this tip!). We go diving without finding any scallops, but are very pleased with our progress in diving. Diving is all about equipment. There's always room for improvement when it comes to handling heavy equipment. Fortunately, we have lost weight ourselves and use less lead.
Alone at anchor, surrounded by small islands, we really enjoy this archipelago landscape. On the island of Lovund we take a beautiful hike up Lovundfjellet. The mountains in Norway are rugged. Exposed grassy slopes and loose rocks are the order of the day. This is a mountain that is secured with chains in an exemplary manner. As you can see from their light footwear, the Norwegians themselves are very experienced. We are glad to have sturdy walking boots and poles, especially for the descent. The view from the top of the mountain is fantastic. We can't even count all the islets. Cooling off on a deserted sandy beach and picking cranberries make the day perfect.
We take advantage of the bad weather to clean the boat, do the laundry, bake, pre-cook and plan our time back in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. Then we take advantage of the north wind and sail a longer leg towards southern Norway. After 400 nm we reach the island of Fedje, north of Bergen. We stay here, letting the south wind pass by and look forward to exploring the small, flat island. We also prepare for our next leg: Should we make a detour to Sweden? Will we sail through the Great Belt of Denmark? Will we take the Kiel Canal and finally bring the Aegir to Hamburg? Let's see...
P.S.: We were also lucky with the fishing:=)