09 July 2013 | Aksvoll
Sailing. The Truth.
Lets face it. Sailing, to get from A to B is perhaps one of the slowest modes of transport short of those monks you see prostrating themselves every second step for a thousand mile pilgrimage to some monastery somewhere. Although sometimes sailing seems as much effort.
Consequently, unless there's been some excitement during the day or passage, sailing really doesn't make for dramatic narrative.
Our last few days have been like that.
Mageroy. This island is "owned" by the Kommune which I guess is the Norwegian equivalent of the Council but seemingly much smaller.
For the length of Norway that we have sailed, or rather motored, now approaching 1,000 miles we have seldom been out of sight of a house. Just the one house or perhaps a group of two or three but little that would be classed as a village. Together, these isolated homes make up the Kommune and theses collectives seem to have a government budget to look after their area.
On Mageroy, the Kommune had advertised for a couple to run their nature reserve, their island.
The new Dutch custodians we met had answered the call to abandon their careers and city lights to manage the reserve. With just one house dating from 1624, two other buildings, one dock with pontoon and a few walks which you could crack off in an hour I suspect they will have a tough job making an income they can live on.
The previous custodians had run the island as a "party island". Now, isn't it just our luck that we arrive when the party's finished!
From Mageroy we motored on down to Alesund for the night then on to Floro.
Making this oassage involved getting around the Norwegian equivalent of the "Mull", avid readers (although I'm grateful for any level of reader) may remember that this is the headland that is so dangerous the authorities have considered digging a tunnel to bypass its turbulent waters. The Norwegian lifeboat even runs an escort service round the headland during the summer!
Therefore with due regard to the forecast which was saying just 15 knots we headed on out, straight into 30 knots and pretty big and occasionally breaking seas. The couple we met in Floro thought we were nuts to have done it but it was actually a good thrash and one of the few sails we've had in these last 1000 miles.
Once in Floro we had two goals. One, find a doctor to take a look at Anne's arm which has mysteriously stopped working. Trapped nerve I think. Second was to find a bar to watch the Wimbledon final.
The doctors was interesting. First thing you notice when you walk in is the credit card machine at the door so you can pay before you leave. The other is the doctors walking around all cool in their Docs and 501's. (name that tune!)
Armed with some prescriptions we found the bar and Floro topped the bill with its large screen projected onto the wall and the bar populated by Brits from the local oil industry.
Saltire flying from the rigging beyond the bar deck we watched the match amid great support from all around. All Brits that is. The Norwegians weren't following the game, preferring to sit on the deck, 60 miles from Europe's largest and rapidly retreating glacier under the hiss of half a dozen space heaters coughing out CO2.
Today we are in Aksvoll In pouring rain although we had a grand sunny day yesterday.
Gong back to where I started, the pace of travel. The way to do Norway is definitely by powerboat. The last three stops we've been in the company of a small group following our route. The difference is they live two hours after us and arrive two hours before. One drives a boat called a Nimbus 3000. Have my suspicions it might be Harry Potter. Will go and check later.
Tomorrow, once the driving rain stops we will either make our last or penultimate leg to Bergen where we will leave Time Bandit for two weeks or, if tonight's forecast is favourable make a break for Lerwick.
If the blog goes quiet, we're at home and this old waffle will recommend around the 25th July.