18 January 2015 | Kristiansand
The trip from Kristiansand turned out to yet another nice cruise, 3/4 of which was inside the archipelago.
We entered the Blindleia which is part of this route. This stretch is known as one of Norway's most beautiful boating grounds. It is narrow (some places you wonder if there is room for your boat) and shallow (keep looking at map at all times). I guess sailing yachts up to 45 feet will make it just fine. The biggest problem is a couple of bridges, all marked at the maps naturally. Anyway, some yachties use to stay in this area the whole summer anchoring in hundreds of spectacular places.
As indicated, this is an attractive area to spend your cruising time. Just remember to plan and draw up your route before starting. It is pretty complicated navigation and there is simply no time for designing the route while underway.
At sea towards Risør we enjoyed a 10 ms. breeze and found a berth at a floating pier on the inside. There were several other Hallberg-Rassys, from France and the USA. Risør is a popular harbour, and the traditional tree-boat festival had fineshed the week before.
We were happy to find a berth as the forecast was for strong wind and lots of rain. We thought ourselves well protected and prepared for a couple of day's rest waiting out the blow.
The next day the forecast became gradually worse, until Bertha let her fury loose! Our pier danced like a mad bull in the waves, so we eventually had to evacuate deep into the harbour. It was really dramatic when the boat pulled at the mooring. We were really afraid for the heavy pull and its effect on the boat. As it worsened, the fenders pulled themselves up by the wild motion so we had to push the boat out from the pier. This was simply not tenable in the long run so we evacuated. A very kind gentleman let us berth outside his own motoryacht.
It was a terrible experience, and we learned that it is extremely important to know your port when bad weather is imminent. There was no port master, which I think was quite irresponsible. If you plan to visit the ports in this area, it follows that you have to do the homework. Very few of them have proper port masters.