We’re currently stuck in Brekstad waiting for the latest gales to pass through before we carry on to Bodo tonight, which is why all these blogs posts are coming through together… 

A couple of weeks ago, Gareth paid a visit to our good friends at Arthur Beales chandlery (by far the best place to buy boat, climbing or set design stuff in London should the need arise… much preferred over the chain marine stores) and came home with a merino wool balaclava. He even texted me at the time to see if I would like one too – I said no. Mostly out of pride, probably because my parents made us wear them skiing growing up. But we get down to the boat and I pull out Gareth’s old wool balaclava to remind him he already has one and he decides I can use the new one. So I put it away in the cupboard thinking there’s no way I’ll need a balaclava. Then I discovered it again tidying up last night. i try it on and think OK, it’s pretty cold out and we have an early start tomorrow and it’s probably going to be cold and windy, I’ll give it a go… So, 5am this morning and we’re cruising out of Kristiansund in 40-50 knots of wind. I have my inshore jacket on (not waterproof or windproof) with boots and waterproof sallopettes. And my balaclava… And I am toastie! Not just warm but Fran-who-is-always-freezing is TOO HOT at 6am at 63 degrees North of the Equator in 45 knots of wind. This thing is amazing. 

The Trip to Norway already feels like forever ago even though it’s only been two days since we arrived in Alesund. We had a wonderful long day yesterday and pulled into Kristiansund exhausted but happy. The forecast was sounding more favourable so we were re-excited for the possibility that we might make it all the way to Bodo. We have all found our sea legs again and I’m making up for time spent with my head in the books. I now know exactly what 1500 revs feels / sounds like. Gareth worked out that we use 1.8L fuel per hour motoring at 1500rpm. Upon reflection, he also recalls that we have had at least 50knots every day ;P. We bought another variety of tea for Terry to try: Twinings this time, there’s not much selection here – definitely something to put on the list to bring from England. We are absolute pros at making sandwiches. And tea and coffee. We’ve even got arguing over routes and passage plans down. Our current system is for one person to put a route into the GPS and the other one to check it for rocks. So using that, we put in a route all the way to Bodo. The plan was to leave as early as possible, follow a protected channel round some islands for the first 50-60 miles as the wind was expected to die down throughout the day, and then head out to sea again for the 270 or so miles to Bodo. It sounded simple given what we’ve just done. Unfortunately when we tentatively, no boldly, stuck our noses out of our sheltered bay at 6am it was very very windy. The maximum recorded wind speed was 53 knots. Had we been more organised and less asleep, we may have braved it. However we hadn’t thought to get the main up in the shelter of the Islands, and there were still halyards tied to various points on the foredeck so we couldn’t unfurl the jib either. Perhaps this was for the best. We quickly turned and retreated back to our mooring, tails between our legs. 

Spottted a space-ship on top of the hill on the way back in:

And here’s our route… 

By the time we’d tied up, had tea, first breakfast and looked at the forecast, it was 8am and still howling. We needed to decide on a plan. With everyone needing to be home by Sunday night, it would be tough going to try to make it to Bodo. The forecast was saying the wind would die in the afternoon, pick up again overnight and then ease off over the weekend. This was good – just a day too late. The only really good spot to leave the boat between Kristiansund and Bodo is Trondheim. However it’s 30 miles up a fjord and doesn’t actually get us any closer to our end destination. The decision therefore was whether we leave the boat in Trondheim, or carry on and risk not making it home for work on Monday. For Gareth and I this was OK. Unfortunately though for Terry this wasn’t going to work – he needed to be in the office Monday morning. So as a team, we went looking for a taxi to go to the airport so Terry could head off early. Wondering around Kristiansund at 8:20am we couldn’t see a taxi anywhere. So we knocked on the window of a car with a couple inside and asked for directions. The guy in the driver’s seat said – jump in, i’ll give you a lift to the taxi rank. In the end he took us all the way to the airport. Turned out he worked for the local government advising on education policy. Gareth got chatting and mentioned that the Norwegian education system is regarded as one of the best in the world and that the standard of living is also very high. He responded – yes but we Norwegians are never happy, we look at Finland and see they’re better than us. We want to be more like them!! So he dropped us off at the airport and we went to sort out flights for Terry. This was a sad (although very rushed) time as we’ve had some wonderful adventures these past few days and Terry is always an excellent sailing companion. 

G and I headed back to the boat, tired and probably a bit stunned at the sudden lack of crew. Gareth messaged Graham, an old sailing friend to (jokingly) see if he wanted to join us but he has a policy of never sailing north (or south if south of the Equator) so that was out. Gareth had a brief rant about this: I can’t believe Graham doesn’t want to sail North. I didn’t want to sail across to the Caribbean and the Bahamas and drink rum, but I did it because of him. ;) We made second breakfast then started researching routes and marinas. We found one about 60 miles up the coast where we could spend the night if the wind eased in the afternoon. Then we crawled back into bed and quickly fell asleep.

I was awoken an hour or so later by Gareth running around the cabin yelling “the wind has died the wind has died! We need to leave – it’s only 10 hours to Brekstad!!” His enthusiasm just about got me up and dressed. Coffee and the promise of lunch helped more. So we threw on our kit (including the balaclava), cast the lines and headed out again, this time in 30 knots. We followed an inland passage, past two Islands, Smola and Hitra, towards Trondheim with the aim of spending the night in a marina at the entrance to the Trondheimfjord to wait out the wind forecast for the night and set off tomorrow for Bodo. 

At first it was all song and dance as we were on our way again (Kristiansund is not a very pretty town – mostly oil and industry, some fishing), then it was all song and dance to keep warm! The thermometer showed 2.9 degrees!!! It was pretty cloudy again and rained from a couple of hours in – at one point there was sleet!

The water was lovely and calm though and the wind slowly dropped off through the day until it was positively tranquil!

The route was a success! 

Now, after a very windy night, 57 knots again (I’m starting to think our anomometer doesn’t read any higher than 57), we’re hanging out in Brekstad until the wind eases enough to move on. Hopefully the forecast is correct and we can set off this evening.