Sailing round Lofoten
We left Tromsø on 4 April with the aim of doing a few more ski tours on Senja and the Lofoten Islands. But we didn't! Already on Senja we only saw old ski tracks in the remaining patches of snow. Now we need a car to get deeper into the valleys. We anchor in a nice natural harbour in front of a hotel resort in Hamn (Senja), which even fills up during Easter. We leave Senja and head for Vesterålen. We moor at the northernmost harbour, Andenes. It's not exactly a ghost town, but it's easy to see that tourism only starts in summer with whale watching tours. Instead, we watch seals in the harbour basin and, funnily enough, many Norwegians driving around in their cars - some of them talking from car to car without getting out.
The weather forecast for the next period is very good with sunshine, moderate easterly winds and calm seas. So we decide to do the outer circumnavigation of Lofoten. A great whale watching season begins. We see whales every day - briefly or sailing alongside them for a long time. Whales surfacing in the immediate vicinity of the ship are impressive and lasting experiences for us. Sea eagles and the various alcove birds are also recurring highlights of the day.
We enjoy the sun and the pleasant temperatures very much. It is a good feeling to be under full sail with Aegir. We test the handling of our genoa boom, which we haven't used since we set off, and start to do more and more training manoeuvres. Our roles within the ship's command are clear. Gregor is the skipper and Christine is responsible for line handling in the harbours. However, it is important to us that a role reversal works. So when conditions are good, it's mainly Christine who has to practise mooring and unmooring manoeuvres in the harbours.
The passage through the notorious whirlpool of Moskenesstraumen was quite unspectacular in the end, as we had caught good conditions and the right time. In Reine, we were impressed by the rugged mountains right by the water. As a large fishing town with stockfish production, the smell is omnipresent - even when we air the bunks in the morning.
A wonderful visit to a restaurant and a dinghy trip including a hike on the beach give us a real holiday feeling.
We use the change of weather for administrative and sewing work: The lead bags for diving are sewn. The rest of the diving equipment is also sighted, everything is assembled and tested in the dry. When the weather is better and the dive site is suitable, we finally want to take the plunge. Before that, we sit out the "worse" weather in Svolvaer and take advantage of the good shopping opportunities and do a great hike in the sunshine.
We realise that for the first time we are skipping a season - spring as we know it - although the little green plants are pushing their way through the snow here and we have also seen a few flowering plants (end of April). The weather in Norway seems to be in permanent "April mode" as it is always good for an unexpected change. We have not yet started a planned first dive in the sunshine because of wind and waves. Instead, we hoisted the sails and the wind was gone - that's how it often goes. Instead, we landed in a very beautiful place, Henningsvaer, and did an impressive hike to Festvågtinden in the afternoon.
We take advantage of the length of the days. So we can set out for a hike only in the afternoon, without fear of darkness - the sun sets at 9.30 pm. Soon it will be midsummer's night time!
Often in the evening we are overwhelmed by the events of the day, be it the whales at the harbour entrance, the coast guard with customs on board, new insights into our energy management or spontaneous encounters with people from Germany who live in Norway, such as Barbara from Hamburg, former sailor and TO member (www.lillelangoya.no). We also had warm encounters at the Hurtigruten Museum (https://hurtigrutemuseet.no ) - a visit is highly recommended. We are amazed and delighted to have received direct invitations and look forward to meeting again. Christine was finally able to go to the sauna again in Sortland because an open-minded Norwegian booked her a ticket - her own credit card was not accepted. The best birthday present!
The new jetty in Sortland (68°41'49.5'' N 15°25'15.6''E) is just made for Aegir and Christine, who were able to practise a few mooring manoeuvres in the harbour.
We're not in Tromsø yet, but an eventful month is drawing to a close. We still have four or five legs to go. In Tromsø, it's time to "clear the ship" for the visit of Christine's mother (83 years old) and a friend from Switzerland. The anticipation is rising!