Forced to shore by the weather. Well, the nearest sheltered pontoon. Not sure how it happened really. We were up bright and early (before 7am!! So much for a holiday…) to get going before the gale warnings that were forecast. In theory, we could do almost the entire trip ‘inland’, skirting around islands and along the narrow passages that seem to be a feature of Norwegian coastal waters. So there wasn’t too much concern. A couple of exposed areas where the mainland jutted out a bit, but the worst was behind us with Statt. We had a short wonder round the little village we’d moored up in overnight then headed away again. 

Here’s the marina – what a great place for a cabin!

Call it getting too comfortable, the calm before the storm, whatever you wish, but the first few hours were pretty mundane. We had flat calm waters, barely a breath of wind. We tried to sail a couple of times but it would end pretty quickly with us tacking slowly back and forth trying to get round a corner while the breeze was doing the same thing. There were a few rain showers that past through, but mostly we just drifted along. 

We read books, had a leisurely lunch, watched the world go by and planned our route and anchorage for the night. 

We became complacent, starting to think that either the gale had missed us or it wasn’t coming at all. Then low and behold, just as we reached the one exposed part of the trip, it arrived. All 50 knots. It started slow, with lovely flat water – on the nose but manageable. Captain Haddock called down naively, ‘I’m just going to put a reef in’. A few minutes later that turned into a second reef. While he was up fixing the sail I saw the first 50 knot gust blow through. Unfortunately, it took three more for me to get his attention in all the noise! Once he looked up, all I could do from the helm was hold up my hand – fifty! It’s gusting fifty! Then three fingers – the third reef perhaps? There was some vigorous nodding from the foredeck.  

Still enjoying himself though… We got pretty soaked out there 

We pushed on… The swell took a while to build so we were optimistic. If it stays like this, it’s only 3 in the afternoon – we could just bounce along until dinner time then pull in somewhere. It’s a long way to any shelter if we go back (30 minutes as it turned out) and there aren’t any good moorings about, only anchorages (also not entirely true – we are currently very comfortably tied up alongside a reasonably sheltered pontoon). Anyway, we’re moving forward slowly as long as we stay on port. Our VMG on starboard dropped to 0.5 pretty quickly. And if we keep tacking we won’t drift back into all these rocks… Easy… 

No photos of all this unfortunately other than another max speed reading (55 knots). This house is more interesting. We passed it earlier in the day. It looks abandoned now but to think, someone used to live there to man the lighthouse! It’s a wonder they didn’t go mad… Maybe they did. 

It didn’t take long before the swell started to get bigger and our very slow progress became no progress. So we looked harder at the pilot books until we found a suitable place to spend the night – showers and pub included. Fran ate the pot noodles she was promised in the gale and we settled down for a relaxing afternoon. 

I suppose as it was forecast we weren’t particularly surprised by the weather and took it mostly in stride. It’s just a shame we didn’t make it quite as far as planned today. Hopefully tomorrow will bring calmer seas, otherwise we will be hard pressed to make our flights on Sunday.