Dr F had read in the pilot book that a UFO site was on Espavaer, a little island with a winter population of 170 which lies just off the west coast of Norway and almost directly on our route south – it definitely deserved exploration…

The sail from Sunndal to Espevaer was a little wet but at least we were sailing. It didn’t make it any easier though to hear that the UK was experiencing a heat-wave whilst we were wrapped up against the elements.

On the way to the UFO landing site we chatted to a local chap who was preparing his boats and house for when his grand-children visited. It sounded idyllic to retire to such a remote and beautiful island and spend your time tinkering with boats. He had been a naval architect working on rig support ships and survey vessels but now focuses his attention on his lovely wooden boats that he kept alongside a quay next to the family home or in a purpose built shed over a berth.

The UFO site was an elliptical shape in a field on the opposite side of the island to the harbour. Although it bore an uncanny resemblance to a lightly trodden path, it was obviously clear evidence of an extra-terrestrial visitation and we did our bit to preserve the evidence by walking around the path a couple of times.

I think the stone alien heads might be fake though…

The walk back revealed some interesting sites too. Particularly the crowded town quay which was something that we weren’t used to.

Back on the boat we were treated to yet another glorious meal by N2, it was truly delightful to have such keen and talented cooks onboard. I don’t think I cooked a thing whilst they were with us! We also drank pretty well too!

Given all this wonderful cooking, we had been using the oven quite freely so I wasn’t too suprised that we were getting through gas pretty quickly. Dr F and I had discussed this several times and she was quite convinced that we had a gas leak somewhere. I was less convinced as the Norwgian gas bottles were smaller than the UK ones and contained propane which doesn’t burn as hot as the UK butane. Normally a UK ‘camping gaz’ bottle should last 7 days, these Norwegian ones were now lasting approximately 4 days. Whilst in Espavaer I opened the anchor locker (where the gas bottle is stored) and was greeted by an overwhelming smell of gas. Covering the gas regulator with soapy water immediately identified a leak through a tiny hole. No problem, we can fill the hole with epoxy I thought. It turns out that the hole was quite important as with it blocked with epoxy gas escaped uncontrollably from the hob! We swapped back to a UK regulator and our last remaining UK gas bottle and headed off for Haugesund where N2 had a bus to catch!

We had glorious weather for the 13 mile jaunt down the coast and despite the lack of wind we managed some lovely sailing and skipped lunch at anchor to continue sailing.

Haugesund is a beautiful town set along a ‘water-street’ between the mainland and two islands, Risoy and Hasselhoy. It was founded in 1854 as a herring port but is now an industrial and commercial town with a population of 32,500. It prides itself on its culture with annual film, arts and jazz festivals.

 

Shortly after tying up alongside a chap introduced himself from the quayside and very politely asked if he could come aboard. I was immediately a bit wary of some stranger wanting to come aboard but he then went on to saying he wanted to buy and HR352 and was in fact viewing one in a few days. He had never been on a 352 before so was very keen to look around. He was a lovely chap, we gave him one of our Hal business cards so maybe he is reading this blog! If so, we’d love to hear if he did buy the boat he was looking at.

After a quick scour of the chandleries to (unsuccessfully) find a new gas regulator, we returned to Hal to find a boat about to come alongside. As we were almost ready to leave we said a very quick goodbye to N2 and slipped our lines. They were catching a bus back to Bergen, then an overnight train to Oslo before flying to sunny Spain. It was great to share a few days with them and so glad that we got a little bit of decent sailing in!

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