Santosa’s Guest Crew Blogs From One Of The Most Beautiful Places In The World425 views | May 31st, 2019
The second leg of Santosa’s Nordic voyage began on 15 May 2019 in bright sunshine and a light north-easterly wind, leaving the bustle of Bergen’s historic Bryggen waterfront and preparations for Norway’s national Constitution Day behind us.
The evening before Tom and Julie’s 25th wedding anniversary had been celebrated in style, with cake and champagne – a lovely surprise present from the crew! – and a second bottle of champagne brought by their friends, Chris and Julie.
We headed north past the islands of Askoy, Tjeldsto and Fedje before turning east into the mouth of the Sognesfjord. The first night was spent alongside the quay at the tiny fishing village of Leirvik, taking the opportunity to sample the beer in the hotel and an unsuccessful attempt to catch a fish.
The next couple of days were memorably spent exploring Sognefjord and its stupendous tributary fjords where we came across the first of several Russian super-yachts which then followed us to Balestrand with its grand Edwardian-era Kviknes hotel favoured by Kaiser Wilhelm who famously learned of the outbreak of WW1 whilst holidaying there in 1914.
Balestrand has a delightful small wooden church, known as the English church because its construction was sponsored by an English lady who had married the hotel owner. That evening the locals were gearing up for Constitution Day with the local brass band parading around town on the back of a trailer. Next morning was eerily quiet – possibly something to do with successful celebrations the night before!
The undoubted highlight of this leg of the trip was Naeroyfjord (“narrow fjord”) with cliffs rising sheer out of the 1000m depths to reach heights of some 1200m, snow-capped peaks towering in the background, cascading waterfalls, and small farms and hamlets poised on the occasional flatter areas of pasture at the waterside.
This has to be one of the most beautiful and awesome places in the world. A delicious BBQ supper at anchor in a small bay adjacent to a shepherd’s hut, glass of wine in hand, watching the sun go down was only capped by the beauty of the following morning’s sunrise reflected in the fjord at 4.30am – fortunately snapped by our engineer Steve!
Next day saw us reaching back down the main fjord to Leirvik in a light easterly wind using both foresails to goose-wing, before heading out to sea and northwards to Norway’s western most town, Floro, once a major fishing port but now a service centre for the offshore oil rigs.
En route we spotted a pod of porpoises cavorting out to sea, but alas, no whales this far south! As we arrived on Sunday evening the hoped-for seafood extravaganza wasn’t available, but we shared two enormous pizzas watching some youngsters messing about in a rib in the harbour and admiring several beautiful old wooden fishing boats in port for the recent Constitution Day festivities.
The next and longer leg of the trip took us between islands displaying various geological features explained by Tom, and then out to sea around Krakenes lighthouse – one of many featured on Norway’s postage stamps – with an Atlantic swell which sorted out the real sailors! Our destination was the picturesque Art Deco town of Alesund, the result of a massive fire in 1906 which destroyed the wooden quayside warehouses and much of the town centre.
Another early morning start, weaving our way between islands with glimpses of snow-capped mountains further inland, brought us to a lovely anchorage in a small bay near to Molde where we spotted a magnificent sea-eagle fishing for its supper. Santosa’s mate Sue excelled herself with another delicious BBQ expertly cooked on deck by our skipper Nick whilst we relaxed with a glass of wine watching the sun go down. Not that the sun ever fully sets this far north just a month before the summer solstice.
The weather had been warm and sunny every day so far, notwithstanding repeated forecasts of rain, but it now broke and the oilies came out briefly in morning drizzle as we started on the last leg. We broke into watches during the day in readiness for an overnight sail to Trondheim fjord, and those awake overnight experienced the mysterious twilight of a summer night in the far north, helping them to avoid the many fishing pots loitering in surprisingly deep water. After a leisurely start to the day, we spent a few hours exploring the fjord west of Trondheim before searching out a suitable mooring in the sheltered harbour. Our last morning was spent
exploring Trondheim’s extensive Bryggen with many old wooden painted warehouses lining the riversides, and visiting the huge medieval stone cathedral built on the site of St Olav’s grave and an important destination for pilgrims over the centuries since the Vikings were, not entirely peaceably, converted to Christianity.
Exploring the Norwegian fjords in the comfort of a 55ft steel ketch with gourmet meals is hard to beat! Julie and Tom had a memorable 25th anniversary; Chris enjoyed his 62nd birthday cake although he was disappointed by the lack of whales this far south; and Julie got her wish to experience a night sail. We thank Santosa and her crew, Nick, Sue and Steve (who built Santosa himself!) for looking after us so well and giving us such a great experience.
Would You Like To Sail Santosa in Nordic Waters As Guest Crew?
If you would like to share simialr experinces on the luxury yacht Santosa this summer there are still some double cabins available. Visit this page: Norway Sailing Adventures on a 55ft luxury yacht
Posted by: First Class Sailing