An Overlord trip brought us to Norway in 2003 when we explored the Oslo Fjord, so in Kristiansand we decided that, not having sailed in this area before, and without any immediately pressing deadlines, we would spend a few days cruising up the east coast. A good decision as it turned out, before heading across to Västra Göteland in Sweden which we know and love.
Strangely to us, the season here appears to end in August! We arrived on the 22nd and already everything seemed closed down. Few boats in the marina, office closed, no machine issuing tickets (the norm in Scandinavia) and all very quiet, so we had a free berth and power!
The next day in gloriously warm sunshine we slipped lines but had to motor to Revesand near Arendal where we anchored for the night. Quite a pretty spot but again no one else around apart from a Wednesday evening racing fleet (worldwide that event!). Fickle as ever, the weather changed … still no wind but rain!
Nonetheless we set off, taking the inshore route under a 25m bridge (our mast height is 22.5m), past an oil rig under maintenance, out to the open sea again before reaching the charming village of Lyngør nestled amongst a group of small islands and moored alongside the only pontoon.
A grey afternoon …
A grey afternoon, but we went to the only small grocery store which was open, to be served by a Portuguese student! Walking around the village was interesting but the following day on the recommendation of a Norwegian sailing couple, we motored a whole mile to do something we’d never done before … mooring Scandinavian style, against a sheer rock face!! It is difficult to get more idyllic than that, especially as the weather decided to show itself off at its best!
Again, on recommendation we headed North once more towards the island of Jumfroland or ‘the island of the Virgin’ in Norwegian. Close to the mainland at Kragerø, it being the weekend and fine, it was busy. We managed to go alongside on a sort of hammerhead and in fact stayed for two nights. Paying at the ticket machine took some working out and once we were ‘official’ we set off on a walking expedition. As the island is small and flat, it was easy terrain.
It is fascinating, as it was originally part of the seabed, and created as a glacial moraine, which then rose from the seabed. Consequently sizeable areas are comprised of large round stones, which obviously do not support any vegetation, in contrast to some extremely fertile areas. In the middle of the island there are two big lighthouses, one old, one new, that can be seen all round for a considerable distance. We enjoyed our walks, the north eastern end comprised of solid rock and a pebbly shoreline, and the south western end having pleasant beaches. The whole island protects the Kragerø archipelago which in itself is an ideal sailing ground with so many sheltered islands. How often on our travels have we come across areas we would love to explore further, if we had known about them earlier and had built in considerable ‘buffer’ time. This was one definitely of them, but unfortunately time was not on our side!
With a good weather window for the passage to Hunnebostrand, Sweden, we left the small marina to anchor in the lee of the island, making it easier for an early departure the next morning (ie fenders and mooring lines already safely stowed, just the anchor to weigh!).
The weather gods were with us, and we had an enjoyable if chilly 60 mile day sail with the wind on the beam, arriving late afternoon to continue our cruise in the land of the Vikings.