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Eshamy's Northern Passage
Adventures in Ålesund
10/23/2011, Sandshamn, Norway

We got held up in Ålesund for quite a few days waiting for a storm to pass and then the gales which followed. The weather hasn't been very good since we arrived and we've had rain and hail with only the odd ray of sunshine in between. Monday afternoon wasn't too bad though so I climbed Aksla, the hill above the town, which has fantastic views of Ålesund and the surrounding area. On Tuesday we were fortunate to meet several of the volunteers on M/F Bilfergen who showed us about the boat. They do work on the boat once a week and in the summer they take it out for short trips, its a beautiful old ferry which was built in 1921 and an engine from 1916 that still works! We were filled with coffee, bread and pickled herring (very tasty) and spent the afternoon chatting which was most enjoyable. We must thank Amund Halsebakke, Odd Reidar Eide and Dagfinn Leira for their help, kindness and advice, it was such a pleasure to meet you all :-) That evening we got to go for a drive up the hill to see the view at night and then went past two museums to see Uræd at one and some traditional boats at the other. Uræd is an 18 foot egg shaped lifeboat that four Norwegians sailed across the Atlantic in 1904, the journey took them 5 months and they arrived in January 1905. On Wednesday we went and saw the full display and replica of the inside of the lifeboat at the museum..just incredible! We departed Ålesund on Thursday afternoon after a lovely coffee and trying some local dishes. It was sad to leave as it is such a beautiful place and the people were very welcoming. We'd hoped to make it around Stad with a short window in the weather forecasts but unfortunately the southwesterly gales arrived earlier than predicted. So we decided to wait again in a tiny little harbour called Sandshamn near Stad. The harbour is quite exposed to the south and on Friday night we had a southerly Force 10 with waves breaking across the pontoon. Was not the most enjoyable evening! The forecast is beginning to look better and hopefully we'll be able to get away again soon..


View from the pontoon at Tonneshaven..the other picture is of the grotto near the harbour.

Slow progress in Norway
10/19/2011, Alesund, Norway

Apologies that we've been neglecting the blog here is a quick update! After quite a few days spent in Bodø we set off early on Tuesday morning and made our way to a little place called Tonneshaven. After passing the polarsirkeelmerket or polar circle seamark (goodbye arctic!) we arrived there late in the evening. It was an interesting harbour to come into in the dark and the rocks near the channel seemed very close, but we found space on a pontoon and had a good nights sleep. The wind picked up not long after we arrived and there were strong northwesterlies on Wednesday morning so we walked into the village where we found a small shop. They were very kind and let us use their net to get the latest weather forecast. We decided we'd leave on dark that evening so I had time to dash up the hill to the grotto (a large cave going some 180m into the mountain) which was a fun but slippery adventure as it'd been raining most of the day! The wind was still quite strong and we had a few squalls in the evening but it gradually eased and the moon came out again. I'm sure I saw a 'moonbow' it looked just like a rainbow but was grey rather than coloured..perhaps I was seeing things! We arrived in Rørvik mid afternoon on Thursday and left the following morning for Kristiansund which took us about 36 hours. Kristiansund is quite a large town with a impressive but relatively narrow harbour, and our timing wasn't the best as the Hurtigruten (a large cruise ship that travels up and down the coast and fjords of Norway) arrived at the same time we did. We caught up on some sleep and left early the next morning for Alesund arriving after dark that evening. We weren't sure where was the best place to tie up so ended up along side a boat in the harbour. On Monday morning the harbourmaster recommended we move and tie up onto the next boat which turned out to be the M/F Bilfergen. Will let you know about our adventures in Alesund and all the wonderful people we've met on the next blog :-) So its been slow progress since we arrived in Norway..the weather hasn't been that great but hopefully we'll make it across the North Sea soon!

Voyage so far..

Thought we'd put up a short summary of our progress so far for those who've only recently started following our voyage on the blog. After departing the UK in late June we sailed to the Faroes, Iceland and then on to Nuuk in Greenland. We then sailed up the coast in early August to Upernavik via Sisimuit and Godhavn before crossing Baffin Bay into Lancaster Sound, Canada arriving in Cambridge Bay on the 19th August. We left Cambridge Bay heading west on the 21st August and didn't set foot on land until arriving in Hammerfest Norway on October 1st. This was our longest passage and took us 40 days, including 2 nights at anchor off Point Barrow, Alaska. We are currently in Bodo, Norway and hope to be back in the UK in the next week or two. A big thank you to all that have helped us along the way so far..more thanks to come when we finally arrive in England!

10/10/2011 | Douglas Pohl
Congratulations! Please post your entire Spot GPS data file so your East to West Clockwise POLAR CIRCUMNAVIGATION in one season accomplishment is supported.
God Speed,
Bodø Harbour
10/09/2011, Bodø, Norway

A view across the can make out Eshamy on the left behind the other boats.

Norway and Onwards
10/07/2011, Bodø, Norway

After first sighting land early on Saturday morning it took us a very long time to get up the fjord and into Hammerfest. With our diesel gone and variable winds (which eventually died) it was quite a struggle and we didn't get in until late evening. But how good it was to step ashore and walk on land! We'd missed the nice hot meal but had a beer to celebrate and finally got some sleep. The major highlight on Sunday was having a desperately needed long hot shower which was followed by good food then beer at the pub :-) So glad I'd saved some clean clothes for when we arrived on land. It was nice to see trees again (don't think we've seen any since Iceland!) which were looking very autumnal. On Monday it was time to depart and after doing some sail repairs, shopping (yes fresh food!) and topping up the diesel we were on our way to Tromsoe. Everyone we met in Hammerfest was kind and helpful, we were also given a delicious apple cake by one of the harbour staff. Thank you! The passage to Tromsoe was comparatively very short and it was such a change to be sailing in coastal waters and the fjords rather than open seas. Quite different to be seeing other boats about too as there wasn't much traffic between Cambridge Bay and here! We arrived in Tromsoe in the late afternoon on Tuesday and departed again on Wednesday afternoon for Bodø. The passage took us about 36 hours and the scenery was just spectacular! We made it in just before the wind picked very early on Friday morning and we're hoping we can get away again soon. This feels like the hardest part of the journey now, knowing we are so close but still so far away from finally making it back to the UK.

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Eshamy's Northern Passage
Who: Jeffrey Allison, Katherine Brownlie, Alex Taylor, James Allison, Paul Brossier, Martin Oakley, Chris Phillips, Tanya Hargreaves, Philip Schofield (Onshore Communications Officer)
Port: Hartlepool
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