Tern's Travels

Pacific Seacraft 37

Vessel Name: Tern
Vessel Make/Model: Pacific Seacraft Crealock 37
Hailing Port: Falmouth UK
Crew: Larry & Manice Stabbins
12 July 2017 | Tranoy, Norway
06 July 2017 | Tromso, Northern Norway
06 July 2017 | Bjarkoy, Northern Norway
06 July 2017 | Northern Norway
27 June 2017 | Storvagan, 68.12.6N, 014.27E
24 June 2017 | Henningsvaer
24 June 2017 | Lofoten Islands, Norway
24 June 2017 | Arctic circle, Norway
04 June 2017 | Bergen and the fjords
03 June 2017 | North Sea 60.45N 004.57E
03 June 2017 | Caledonian Canal, Scotland
20 May 2017 | Oban, Scotland, May 13-17
19 May 2017 | Gigha, off Kintyre, Scotland
09 May 2017 | Kilmore Quay, Wexford, Eire
08 May 2017 | Waterford, Eire
07 May 2017 | Waterford, Eire
30 December 2016 | Falmouth, UK
21 August 2016 | Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
14 July 2016 | Port Joinville, Ile d'Yeu, Vendee, France
Recent Blog Posts
12 July 2017 | Tranoy, Norway

Five Star Day

Five Gold Star Day 8-9th July, 68 deg N

06 July 2017 | Tromso, Northern Norway

Tromso

Tromso, 69.39N, 018.57E, FURTHEST NORTHERN POINT

06 July 2017 | Bjarkoy, Northern Norway

Mountain Hut, Bjarkoy

We came across this exquisite mountain hut but had no matches to light the fire which was so beautifully provided in the centre. Never mind, it was lovely to just sit and admire it and eat our biscuits with cold water instead of hotdogs and a brew.

06 July 2017 | Northern Norway

Northern Islands

North of Lofoten, 28 - 30 th June

27 June 2017 | Storvagan, 68.12.6N, 014.27E

Vagan: Vikings to Stockfish to tourism

26-27th June, Vagan, Austvagoy, Lofoten

24 June 2017 | Henningsvaer

Midnight sun, Lofoten

Henningsvaer, Austvagoy, Lofoten

Five Star Day

12 July 2017 | Tranoy, Norway
Manice, warmer than Tromso, sometimes sun, sometimes rain, sometimes windy, sometimes calm
Five Gold Star Day 8-9th July, 68 deg N
The journey south from Finnsnes involved some tidal gates through leads which were bounded by the mountains of Tjeldsund on the west and the mainland to the east.Whereas the leads on the west which we followed northwards were through innumerable peaks with abrupt shorelines, the leads south are wider, more winding with wooded foothills, homes and small farms and mountains slightly further inland. There is inevitably a coast road which appears to be populated mainly by motor home holidaymakers.
There wasn't much wind so we motored much of the way with intervals of downwind sailing with the Yankee. Indeed, two excellent methods of seeing Norway are by motor home or motor boat. Suddenly we were motoring into 15knts of SW, on the nose, so we bailed out a bit before schedule on Thursday 6th to a small harbour on the island of Andora, where we found a youth outdoor pursuits competition underway, activities such as summer skiing with skis on wheels, complete with marquee and live bands at night. Compared with the Caribbean, this liveliness was nothing, but it was different from the usual, quiet Norwegian harbour.
The wind stayed in the SW so the next day we followed the recommended path to the WW2 ruins where the largest gun in the world at the time was located, together with a whole village of army building ruins. There was also a marked route to the top of the mountain, (there's always a mountain), which we followed through ancient natural birch forest and onto granite heathland up to a summit of 370m. Back at the harbour, our friendly neighbours pointed out some special places in Vestafjord mainland, our next southerly destination.
After another 40-odd NM passage south and a night in the harbourof Lodingen, at the south end of Tjeldsund lead, we headed across Vestaford and sailed most of the way to Hammaroy. Picture a horse shoe with toe pointing north, Bodo is at the bottom
right heel and Rost is the southern tip of Lofoten, the bottom left heel. We sailed from Bodo to Moskenesoy, about a quarter of the way up the left side of the horse shoe, all the way to the top, then about 100 NM north through leads and sounds to Tromso, then back via a slightly more easterly route to Lodigen, and then resumed the horse shoe to go down the east side to Bodo again. Tranoy, where we are now going in our story, is about half way down the east side of the horse shoe.
Many people have praised the Tranoy area so we followed instructions and headed for a "secret" anchorage in the bay of a small island called Tannoy, wiggled our way in and picked up the mooring buoy. The bottom was very rocky so the mooring buoy was most welcome. This place may be the most beautiful and memorable anchorage of the trip. No one had used the mooring as we pulled it up to disturb a huge growth of mussels. They were mostly small, just this year's growth, but they made a delicious moule spaghetti for supper. I energetically pumped up the canoe, which we had not found a use for since the trial in Bergen, and toured the pool. Shellfish shells predominated on the bottom, which undulated dramatically and was beautifully visible as there was no wind. I could barely wait for the next morning to get Larry into the canoe for another tour. At the end of our explorations I fulfilled another dream and went for a swim inside the Arctic circle! I started in a shallow bay and collected some corrals, then took the plunge and swam back to the boat while Larry paddled not too far off, bliss. Nevertheless, it took ages to warm up afterwards despite the bright sun and the relatively balmy, shallow sea. Just to crown things, a pair of sea eagles soared overhead.
All good things must come to an end and the next day there was a fair wind to sail the short way to Tranoy, also highly recommended. We moored in the small harbour and then wandered through the village, taking in the sculpture park as we went. The village had been the home and work place of Knut Hamsun, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1920. Hence there is a gallery in the place which was once the shop he worked in. It is, indeed, a lovely area and great fun to visit each sculpture as well as walk along the shore with it's incredible view of Lofoten, across the Vestjord. The tip of the peninsula has an installation of numerous abstract silk screen prints fixed to the sloping and rounded granite boulders. Larry wasn't sure if they didn't detract from the landscape, but the path went on to a completely untouched section to satisfy the nature purists. As we sat and watched the never-setting sun an OTTER came out to hunt and we could watch it for about 10 mins as it dived amongst the kelp before disappearing along the coast.
So, to add to the Gold Star list of Wishes Come True, in addition to otter watching (which was too much to expect),anchoring in secret pools, swimming north of the Artic circle, exploring in the canoe, eating foraged food (mussels) whilst sea eagles soar overhead, I CAUGHT a FISH! I casually sauntered onto the pontoon where a few lads were fishing, cast in my simplest hook and promptly caught a small cod. It was the largest fish any of us caught. One of the lads caught a slightly smaller one, but gave it to me as he didn't want to eat it
and the pair weighed in at about 1kg, two delicious dinners. Tranoy is pretty close to heaven!

Tromso

06 July 2017 | Tromso, Northern Norway
Manice, mostly cold, wet and windy
Tromso, 69.39N, 018.57E, FURTHEST NORTHERN POINT
2-5th July, Sunday - Wednesday
Tromso was another 75 NM north of Bjarkoy and we had the choice of going the adventurous route around the west and north of the island of Senja, which shelters Tromso from the severe
north west weather, or the more sheltered route east then north. We had chosen the adventure route when we looked at the forecast on the Friday night but changed to the inner leads
in the morning as NW wind and rain was due on Sunday. As is often the case, there was insufficient wind to sail, much but at least the scenery is spectacular, though the mountains are
less spikey and steep, more rounded and snowy with forested foothills. We anchored overnight behind a small island bird sanctuary where noisey kitiwakes and ducks were the dominant
species. There was another British boat in the anchorage who we had seen a few times and we had some photo opportunities as we both sailed (some of the way)to Tromso on Sunday morning.

We were very excited to actually reach Tromso, our most northerly destination, just under 70deg N. There is a guest section of the marina, which is right in the town centre, so it's
very convenient for seeing the town and provisioning although it has no showers or laundry facilities so we carried on looking bedraggled throughout or stay. Tromso is often described
as the Paris of the North, and it certainly has a lot of hotels, bars and restaurants, all extortionately expensive though apparently busy and thriving.Once over the excitement of
reaching Tromso, however, we realised the climate is harsh even in mid summer, with rain, a little snow and a cold north wind shaping our visit. The weather makes you appreciate the
art galleries and museums, of which there are many, and we chose the Polar Museum on the water front in which to spend a cold, wet Monday afternoon. It was fascinating and gave a good
perspective on life in the far north and the lives of explorers such as Amundsen and Nansen, in particular, being the two most succesful Norwegian polar explorers, but you needed a
strong stomach for the hunting displays, with every type of seal, walrus, whale, Artic fox, musk ox and polar bear hunting methods graphically portrayed. We very much enjoyed, however,
the excellent photograph gallery which specialised in documentary photography and had 3 exhibitions running in addition to the permantent displays which featured hisoric photos of
Tromso and it's people and "then and now" photos in black and white compared to videos of the same places now (with mountains of snow in the streets!)

So, had the weather been lovely I'm sure we would have been tempted to stay longer, but we decided to take advantage of the north wind and start our journey south again. We had a
superb day's sailing to Finnsnes where we chose to stop for the night because it had showers, a laundry and fuel: wonderful.

Mountain Hut, Bjarkoy

06 July 2017 | Bjarkoy, Northern Norway
Manice, a fabulous day
We came across this exquisite mountain hut but had no matches to light the fire which was so beautifully provided in the centre. Never mind, it was lovely to just sit and admire it and eat our biscuits with cold water instead of hotdogs and a brew.

Northern Islands

06 July 2017 | Northern Norway
Manice, some beautiful sun, day and night and some not so good!
North of Lofoten, 28 - 30 th June
We spent two days sailing and motoring further north, through Raftsund, a lead which passes west of Austvagoy (northernmost island in Lofoten) and east of Hinnoy and up to a group of islands to the north of Hinnoy, anchoring overnight in a gorgeous small pool at a place called Sigerfjord, 68.38N, 15.28.35E. We diverted into Trollfjord, a narrow fjord with enormous steep mountains walling it in, Trolls definitely live there!
The wind died completely as we approached our destination of Bjarkoy, a sparsly inhabited island with a few farms and holiday homes but evidently enough of a population to have a school. Fish farming and forestry seemed to be the main occupations to keep families living there all year round and there is a frequent fast ferry service to Hinnoy. Motoring on glassy water we were suddenly surrounded by a pod of 5 orca whales! They took no notice of us, sliding gently on, but it made our day! The harbour is lovely especially as the sun was shining and as it was clear, the midnight sun was visible all night. The next day we spent walking up the hills to be rewarded with fabulous 360deg views to where we had come from and where we were going. Somehow We usually manage to make a simple walk into
an adventure and rather than go back the way we had come, we forged ahead to make a circular walk of it. Luckily we eventually found a path back to the harbour but while still high we came across a superb mountain hut, wooden, octagonal, with a central fireplace and benches all around so that 6 people could sleep there if they wanted. There was plenty of firewood but sadly no matches, so we ate our biscuits and drank our water rather than make a brew, In future we will carry matches when we go walking!

Vagan: Vikings to Stockfish to tourism

27 June 2017 | Storvagan, 68.12.6N, 014.27E
Manice, Cold for the time of year!
26-27th June, Vagan, Austvagoy, Lofoten
The Vagan area of Lofoten is a true honey-pot for tourists: centre of the Vikings, then centre of Norwegian politics in the 13th century, then after a decline in importance after the Black Death in 1350, an eventual resurgence in importance throughout the 19th century due to the cod fish trade. Drawn to this very gorgeous honeypot of Storvagan, we have visited the Lofoten museum, walked the heritage walk to neighbouring Kabelvag and used the robust internet at the small marina to download some excellent Norwegian folk music, by a band called Frigg.
There are three attractions here, the museum, the aquarium and the Galleri Espolin, as well as a lovely hotel and restaurant, so why wouldn't the tourists come? We have been aware that, despite the days now growing shorter, we are only just at the start of the holiday season here, though it's far from reliably summery. Although it was quite warm and sunny on Sunday, when we did our tourist thing, today has been cold with a gusty NW wind and sculptural clouds. Most days we wear four layers of woollens and waterproofs, so if it ever gets sunny and warm we bare the flesh as long as we can stand it. Not that we've been swimming yet, but swimming inside the Arctic Circle is on my bucket list, it will happen!
The Museum greatly exceeded our expectations; it was beautifully set out in the restored buildings of the settlement at Storvagan with a tremendous collection of artefacts, boats, furnishings, paintings and craft materials, so you got a great feeling for how the people lived in a 19th century fishing community. Probably the highlight for me was the discovery of the artist Kirstine(Steine) Colban Aas, whose watercolours from around 1800 illustrate the landscape so beautifully. The other highlight was a film/slide show of views from lighthouses of Norway which illustrated the fascinating history of lighhouse keepers and their families. Most lighthouses had several families living around them with their own governess or small school and unbelievable tales of resourcefulness and resilliance. Some would haul soil out to isolated lighthouses on wind and wave-swept rocks and grow vegetables in the summer, then store the soil over the winter in the light house and replant in the spring. Many had goats or a cow or two and if there was no grass, they would have grass cut from the mainland sent out on supply boats. There were several testimonies as to what a perfect life it was to be a lighthouse keeper, especially if you enjoyed reading.

Midnight sun, Lofoten

24 June 2017 | Henningsvaer
Manice/ cool and bright
Henningsvaer, Austvagoy, Lofoten
June 23/24th, 68.09N, 014.12E, after midnight.
After the party at the converted fish factory we walked back to Tern in good light and could take this photograph without a flash!
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