Kristiansand was our departure point from Norway and as such we need to ‘clear out’ with Norwegian customs. When clearing in and out previously we had managed to do this all via email so I was keen to do this again and avoid a physical visit to the Kristiansand customs office.
Our temporary importation of Hal and exemption of import duty expired in early August so I was keen to leave by the book, however my emails to the Customs requesting email clearance had gone unanswered. Finally I emailed the helpful Tromso customs who offered to do the paperwork on behalf of their southern colleagues. After a quick email with passport details we were set to leave.
We motored through some of the islands surrounding Kristiansand for an hour…
and then out into the Skaggerak heading towards Gothenburg with a slight detour to avoid a Traffing Separation Scheme (shipping lane) and the tip of Denmark.
The wind was behind us and stronger than expected so we made great progress.
It was 140 miles to Gothenburg and we had planned our 0700 departure to get us into Gothenburg around noon the following day if we averaged 5.0 knots as we had done the previous few days. As we were rocketing along under full sail we made cracking progress. We passed Skagen on the northern tip of Denmark in the early evening. The wind died slightly and the seas smoothed which eased the task of cooking, before picking up again slightly to whisk us on our way to Gothenburg arriving at the entrance to the river around midnight. Average boat speed of 6.3 knots and an average speed over the ground of 7.0 knots (the difference being due to favourable tide or current).
This was the first landfall at night since arriving in Hartlepool last year. The plethora of shore lights obscured the navigational lights making pilotage ‘interesting’. All the starboard hand navigation marks had the same light characterist; Group 2 flash every 6 seconds. This made finding the ‘next’ mark tricky as they all looked the same! There was only one mark that we knowingly didn’t spot!
After motoring 12 miles up the river we moored in Lilla Bommen, a guest harbour right in the centre of town nestled between the Gothenburg Opera house and the sailing barque ‘Viking’.
Although it was dark when we arrived, it was definitely light by the time the three of us went to sleep (drinking beer takes time you know!).
As we had now re-entered the EU (talking about the Hal, not about a Brexit reversal) I needed to clear customs and immigration. The Pilot book and RYA website list the documentation and process required, however in the end Swedish Customs didn’t require anything and I got confirmation over the phone and via email that we were now cleared into Sweden and the EU. So much for worrying about this!
After showers, bacon sarnies and coffee from a cafe overlooking the marina, we headed off to see the sights.
Gothenburg (or Goteborg or many other variations) sustained a large ship building industry until the 1980s but now it just remains Scandinavias busiest port and the home of Volvo. We walked along the waterfront admiring and discussing the boats that belonged to the Maritiman Musuem. Mr T and I were impressed by MMB’s ability to identify the manufacturer of missiles on the destroyer Jagaren Småland – apparently Saab missiles are quite distinctive. You can take the man out of the army, but ….
Then it was off to the City Museum to look at Sweden’s only original Viking boat:
To be honest there wasn’t much left of the boat, and the rest of the museum seemed a bit ‘odd’.
We’d heard through a couple of sources that the Swedes all go on holiday during July with stories of restaurants and shops being closed while the owners and their families went to Norway. Walking around a deserted Gothenburg, it was clear to understand what they meant:
It was MMB’s last night so we marked this in true ‘boys’ style and had a curry! The waiter was an interesting Nepalese chap who had recently returned from a trip to his home town of Kathmandu where he had been helping with the earthquake relief with a team of his Swedish customers.
We saw MMB off at the bus station with slight hangovers (again) – I am beginning to think MMB doesn’t like sailing on Hal as he always has to leave the boat half way through the trip! I’m going to keep inviting him though as I’m sure I can break him.
Mr T and I then sorted the boat and set off down the river to explore the myriad of islands off the west coast of Sweden.