Scotland and Norway Newsletters
John Duff's trip to Norway on "Arethusa". A series of newsletters
from various LCSC members on each 'leg' of this epic voyage.
See also 2003 Brittany Portugal Balearics Cruise
and Jan 2003 Talk.
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 2
29 April 2002
The plan was to move Arethusa to Dartmouth with Peter, Mike, Yvonne and Oliver
Springett who has replaced John Yates on the Shetland/Norway passage. Whilst the
boat and crew were well prepared the weather did not oblige. We left Haslar at
0600 Friday in a SW force 5 and by the time we reached Yarmouth the wind strengthened
to force 7/8 and with the prospect of wind over tide in the Needles Channel we
pulled into Yarmouth for breakfast and decided to postpone the passage to Dartmouth.
This was fully justified 2 hours later when we left Yarmouth for Cowes and ran
before winds of 40 knots gusting to 50knots. Peter has the photo of the wind instrument
to prove it!
Friday and Saturday were spent doing MOB drills and testing out the storm jib
and trisail successfully!
This means that the cruise will now start from Haslar rather than Dartmouth-disappointing
but not a disaster.
Fully prepared now with all the planned work completed including holding tank,
mast steps, solar panels and portable VHF. Peter Horton has tried all the bits
so if you are interested more information from him.
Exact dates for Norway changeovers (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) are being agreed
based on ferry timetables.
What to bring/what not to bring
Food and goodies as individually agreed and for those visiting Norway a full
duty free supply of booze.
Please bring 2 tea towels each to avoid a permanent launderette routine!
There are 6 lifejackets and harnesses on the boat so save weight and don't
Some CD's to vary the entertainment!
Mozzie spray if they worry you.
Norwegian or Irish (Euros) currency if appropriate.
Communication whilst away.
Provided there are Internet facilities I plan to send updates of where we are
from email@example.com. I shall also have a mobile on and it will be switched
on between 1800-2000 local time. You can always leave messages on this number.
For those who have not paid the balance of the boat expenses please can you
let me have cash or cheques as soon as possible. Thank you.
Please make sure you have appropriate insurance for possessions, medical/repatriation
etc as there is no general cover provided for individual crew members on my boat
If there are other points you want clarified or ideas you want to share please
let me know this week and I will include them in the final newsletter before we
leave on May 11th.
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 3
19 May 2002
Progress So Far
Bad weather in late April prevented moving the boat to Dartmouth so we started
from Portsmouth Friday 10 May. Arethusa left loaded to the gunwales with good
food and wine and a crew of five-Chris,John,Marina,Terry and Tom. We left at 06.00
in fine weather and south westerly winds. Off Cowes Tom lost his glasses overboard,
there was then some frantic use of his mobile which established that the only
ports along the South Coast that could supply replacement glasses were Weymouth
The conditions mainly right eso the leasurely sail we had planned turned into
an overnighter to Plymouth. With good sailing across Lyme Bay averaging 6.27knots
we arrived in Plymouth at 09.00 Saturday. Tom picked up his glasses and we left
at mid-day for Fowey, a leasurly sail of 4 hours. Sunday was a rest/training day
with Chris leading the coaching of the new crew in spinnakers and 720degree turns.
We returned to Fowey giddy to enjoy Cornish beer and pub grub.
Strong winds made Sunday night bumpy on the mooring, so next day with forecasts
of force 6/8 we moved upstream for a rest day, Chris suffering from a cough that
seemed terminal. The patient was taken to the doctor next morning-antibiotics
and sleep being prescribed.
Left for Helford a beat of 6 hours into SW force 5/7. Next day the big leap
to Ireland started at 07.00 with S/SE winds which gave us a fine run to Ireland
with boat speeds up to 8.6knots. 163 miles in 24 hours-a boat record. Since the
going was good we carried on to Dublin through a sceond night with a riot of thunder,
lightening and rain. We made Dun Leoghaire at 08.00, a dsitance of 300 miles exactly.
Spent Friday reacquainting ourselves with real guiness and restocking the boat
with essential supplies(especially staek and kidney pies!)
Food is a constant focus, there have been some interesting comments so far-
'I've had enough of this rabbit food' (a delicate rocket salad).
'What about some real food?' (referring to lack of tinned steak and kidney
'In retrospect garlic in the mash was not good for a night crossing' (two
people were sick).
'Why do we have to have smelly tea? (Chris on getting Terry's Earl Grey tea).
'My fillet steak is slightly overdone' (Terry does like his served blue).
Saturday we left Dublin Bay for BallyCastle(130 miles). We are currently holed
up with force 8 winds rattling the rigging. The forecast says Monday looks like
a rest day with a trip to the Giants Causeway-MORE LATER.
CHANGEOVER DATES (Ref Newsletter 1)
Some changeovers have been changed slightly and each crew is aware but it is
||Friday July 12
||in Bodo (berths available for departing crew until Saturday)
||Friday July 19
|| in Rorvik
||Saturday July 7
|| in Alesund (berths available for departing crew until Sunday)
||Sunday Aug 18
|| in Inverness
I have contacted most of you to confirm your travel arrangements. Maggie will
fill in the gaps over the next week.
Basic food stuff is loaded for the Norway weeks and I will be in touch with
suggestions for items that Norway crew can bring out in addition to supplies of
1.In addition to items in Newsletter 2 please bring either sleeping bags or
for couples there is a double duvet so duvet cover, sheet and pillow cases.
2.There is a useful web page for Norway weather that you could look at. Try
www.dnmi.no and select the marine coverage and
the area of interest.
Scotland and Norway Newsletter No 4
20th June 2002
The third week was planned as a leisurely day sailing north from Oban to Plockton,
a picturesque village on the mainland opposite Skye. We sailed from Oban in sunshine
on the Sunday and sailed up the Sound of Mull dressed in t shirts and shorts.
Great sail to Tobermoray and set the style of the week - good weather during the
day but torrential rain when we berth or anchor. Over the next few days we visited:-
Tobermoray - good bar (but waitress refused request for a lap dancing
demonstration) good local malt distillery and shopping.
Isle of Rum - amazing Victorian mansion with interior and furnishings
unchanged since early 1900's.
Loch Scaraig (Skye) - billed as the most savage and remote anchorage
in Europe. Saw the "Highland Princess" a cruise liner charging £8000 per person
per week. Should I increase the weekly charge on Arethusa?
Carboot - Crew a bit tight lipped about this. Visited Talisker Brewery
and sampled the magic fluid at 9.30am. Tasted better at lunchtime. Good walk around
Skye headland in Loch Brackadale.
West Coast Skye - Fantastic sea cliffs and cave plus an interesting
northern cape where the winds rose from 10knts to 30knts in 5 minutes. The Big
White Genoa was down fast and main reefed in record time. Still doing 8 knots
under staysail and reefed main.
Kyle - Laid alongside Gordonstoun's 65 foot training boot, a 65ft Oyster
and re provisioned the boat with choice cuts of meat and fresh vegetables.
Plockton - Picture postcard village with an anchorage served by the
railways request stop where the new crew arrived to fantastic highland views.
Felicity and Anthony arrived with enough food to open a smart restaurant and
we left the next day for Loch Gairloch in bright sunshine.
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 5
3 - 16 JUNE 2002
Two weeks of sunshine and fair winds, gourmet cuisine and good company starting
in the picture postcard village of Plockton on the north-west coast. We arrived
at a tiny "request stop" station on the shores of Loch Carron and spent a delightful
day settling in to life onboard "Arethusa" in one of Scotland's prettiest natural
Two pleasant day sails to Badachro (Gairloch) and then on to Lochinver gave
splendid views of the Cuillins on Skye and the isle of Harris in the distance
- and our only sighting of dolphins during the trip. We set off on our main overnight
passage around Cape Wrath with good prevailing winds and experienced the "simmer
dim" (24-hour daylight) en route to Pierowall on Westray in the Orkneys. We had
the most wonderful welcome from the harbour master, for whom nothing was too much
trouble: he even arranged for us to watch the England versus Argentina game at
the Pierowall Hotel accompanied by great fish and chips. We were evidently the
talking point of Pierowall that day! We also saw the arrival of the shortest commercial
flight in the world between Westray and Papa Westray - between one and two minutes
from start to finish.
With torrential rain and wind "doon sooth", it became necessary to insist upon
regular applications of suntan cream to prevent sunburn: another great day sail
with perfect south-easterlies, clear blue skies and factor 25 sunshine saw us
arrive in Scalloway on the west coast of Shetland (Mainland). We caught the open
weekend at the North Atlantic Fisheries College and had a go on the "bridge simulator"
which was running the scenario of an oil tanker exiting an estuary littered with
burning ships, runaway frigates and other dangers…
With continuing wind and weather, we carried on up the north-west coast of
Shetland and found a delightful anchorage at Sand Voe - our only chance to put
down the anchor - before passing the spectacular point of Fethaland and rounding
"Muckle Flugga". The latter is the most northerly point in the United Kingdom.
The scenery was dramatic, with massive cliffs, bird colonies and rocky outcrops,
topped by the looming presence of the "secret' RAF Saxa Vord radar installation
with its massive radome.
We moored in Baltasound on the east coast of Unst and received a marvellous
welcome from a local historian and classic boat collector, who kindly gave us
a tour of the Unst Boat Haven and the Unst Heritage Centre. This kind man had
lived his entire life in Baltasound. John and Anthony were then lucky enough to
parlay their way onboard the "Athena" (LK237), a local offshore fishing boat for
an informal tour of its bridge, equipment and hold, returning with a 10 pound
two hour old fresh cod and three lemon soles. John proceeded expertly to fillet
all of them with great skill in preparation for dinner.
Our last visit was to a small linked set of islands and ninety person community
called the "Out [Oot] Skerries", to the north-east of Lerwick. The high point
on Bruray provided the most spectacular 360 degrees view of all the surrounding
islands, seascape and views that we will remember for a long time to come.
The final port of call was "Da Toon" (the local's name for Lerwick) where the
Corinthians' club flag proudly flew from Arethusa's mast amidst a variety of British,
Norwegian, French German and U.S. boats. We also received a friendly welcome at
the Lerwick Boat Club. From the balcony of their clubhouse, we enjoyed a spectacular
view across the harbour, including several of the club's young bloods trying out
their brand new Pico dinghies - and with quite some skill! After a day spent getting
"Arethusa" back to pristine condition for the crew changeover, we enjoyed a blow-out
last night curry in Lerwick - and left with a doggy bag for later consumption.
We wish John bon voyage for the rest of his trip to Norway and our many
thanks for a wonderful fortnight. We were blessed with amazing weather, excellent
sailing companions, outstanding food and the stunning highlands and islands to
sail around. It was so good that neither Ian nor Anthony were troubled with having
to listen to the World Cup on the radio…
Felicity Hunt and Anthony Dunn
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 6
2 July 2002
Lerwick to Lofoten
I was having a quiet beer in the cockpit expecting the new crew ( Yvonne, Mike
Peter & Oliver )to arrive in 2 hours. Peace was disturbed by four grinning faces
peering over the quay expectantly.
Unfortunately a monstrous low ( 970 mB ) was over SE Iceland, and moving NW,
so the plan to leave on Sunday morning was shelved. Our caution was proved right
as the forecast for Faroes came in with 9's then 10's and finally forecasts of
Meanwhile we sampled Lerwick night life, either the Boat Club, or Captain Flints.
Great beer from the Valhalla Brewery and good reception at the boat club. Based
on this Peter has recommendations for the Corinthians.
We timed our departure , on Tuesday, to catch the tail end of the depression
and strong southerlies to take us North - leave it too late and we faced light
winds and possibly 500 miles of motoring.
By Tuesday night we were rolling downwind with a steady F6. The wind built
until by Wednesday night we had a steady F8 / 9 and 20 ft. rollers. The storm
jib gave 7 kts. and occasional 9 or 10 kts. With a maximum wind speed of 55 kts.
gusts. Whilst the skipper slept, the crew were regularly pooped, with Peter suffering
a belated , full immersion, christening. The strong wind lasted for about 15 hours,
then moderated to a steady F 6 / 7 giving regular 140 miles per day. Food intake
was "back to basics", with tuna/pasta featuring heavily. Meanwhile, in the fridge,
the fillet steaks and duck breasts awaited their destiny!
Friday, June 21st, started well with clouds starting to break up. An "all stations"
call found a Danish tanker who relayed a forecast that gave an outlook of reduced
winds. Sure enough, the sun came out and the wind went round to the West then
NW for a great fetch directly towards Lofoten. At 22.34 on June the 21st we crossed
the Arctic Circle in sunshine. The ancient Polar rite was carried out - each was
given a new Polar wildlife name for the afterlife and a shot of Mad Dog ( Vodka
/ Cranberry / Tobasco ) was solemly consumed!
Saturday morning first sight of Norway raised spirits and Peter served the
World's best ever bacon sandwiches ( served to 2 crew in their bunks ) and hot
tea. Best meal of the trip so far. We then approached the Lofoten Islands with
a succession of gob-smacking views. Each Island seemed to have perpendicular cliffs
and no chance of refuge unless you are a sea bird. We closed on Reine, which was
our original objective, arriving by Saturday evening. 650 miles in 4½ days , an
average speed of 6.2 knots. Not bad for a cruising boat, not famed for downwind
Picked up a pontoon in Reine and celebrated with Fibet de Boef sauce bordelaise.
Since then we have meandered up the Lofoten coast through a series of fishing
villages, great scenery and rather expensive beer. We used Jens's fishing gear
to good effect, catching 4 excellent Cod which were served au-gratin and tasted
A word of advice to those that follow :-
Pay the extra and travel first class. (Forward cabin). Own facilities etc.
Try to avoid steerage if at all possible. (Feigning an allergy to sleeping
on the starboard side works well).
Don't volunteer to weigh anchor. Let John (or Superman - if around) pull
up the chum (angel).
Don't sleep near the Radio Operator (especially when using voice activated
Don't let John play his Miles Davis CD. (Ear plugs help if all else fails).
Don't let John talk you into climbing 1500 ft. mountains. (He only goes 1/3
of the way up).
Beware shore parties to remote places. (Bears do shit in the woods).
Keep your thumbs clear when finishing off Cod. (Take special care if it's
the Skipper's thumbs).
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 6 1/2
25 July 2002
Lerwick to Lofoten
Out first stop, Reine harbour already seemed familiar from the pilot guides
we'd studied preparing for the trip - a collection of red, cream and mustard coloured
hut shaped dwellings sitting around the edge of a calm logoon, surrounded by vertiginous
peaks. If the guides had been scratch 'n' sniff they might also have alerted us
to the pervading smell of fish. Like all of the Lofotens villages, Reine still
makes a living from dried cod. Every spare piece of exposed rock and ground is
topped with long, wooden drying racks on which the freshly caught cod are hung
to dry in the cold winter winds. The fishing season had ended in April but the
smell still lingered. But we go used to it. We set foot on dry land again early
evening, four and a half days after leaving Lerwick. The following day we set
out to explore the surroundings. Mike and Oliver conquered the summit of the Reinebringen,
climbing the precipitous track leading up from the village, to be rewarded with
a spectacular view of the harbour and the glacial ridges and valleys stretching
into the distance, like the mountains of Mordor. Arriving at the top Mike heard
a cry of "Holy Cow!" and turned to find Oliver sprawled face down on the ground
next to him, his fear of heights having finally kicked in. Meanwhile, with unerring
instinct, Peter walked along the flat in the opposite direction to the neighbouring
village of Hamnoy, to find the only restaurant bar open within miles, also discovering
a fresh fish stall along the way (it's surprisingly difficult to buy fresh fish
here - if people want it they catch it themselves). John and I indecisively opted
for the middle way i.e two thirds of the way up the mountain then a circuit of
the village. Back on the pontoon later we made friends with our few yachtie neighbours,
some americans and a frenchman. John prepared gravadlax out of the huge whole
salmon bought by Peter. Back on land now we were looking forward to eating real,
fresh food again. Which was just as well. Steerage (Peter and Oliver) was revolting.
They were short on baggage space ( yes - they were allowed to bring baggage!)
and the only way of creating more was to eat the contents of the vegetable locker.
The question was would it be clear before it was time to go home? Feeling self-satisfied
at having completed the 700 mile voyage across and eagerly anticipating the coming
week's cruising we retired that night at 1a.m. This was to become a habit, not
because we spent the evenings cruising local bars (tooooo expensive at £5 a pint)
or partying on the boat, but because it was continuous daylight we just, sort
of, forgot. North Norway was basking in uncharacteristically hot, sunny weather
and midnight there was like a sunny June day here. The days were very busy though
so none of us had difficulty sleeping.
On Monday a lively beat northwards up the eastern coast of the islands took
us to the village of Nusfjord, a collection of 54 listed 'rorbuer' (rowers) huts
arranged around a tiny, secluded harbour. Most of the rorbuer are now let as holiday
chalets and the village attracts coach tours, but this did not detract from its
nordic style prettiness and did at least mean the facilities were good. We provided
a spectacle for one coach party as we arrived and moored up on the pontoon, only
to discover a huge boulder visible through the water just below the keel and with
the tide still dropping. All in all we moored and cast off three times within
a half hour trying to find a safe position. Being a meticulous sort of crew each
manoeuvre was carefully noted in the log book of course. We found on more than
one occasion that, although generally very deep outside harbours, water can be
fairly shallow inside, reflecting the fact that these harbours are more used to
catering for shallow drafted fishing vessels than cruising yachts.
The next morning, we awoke to another coach party lined up on the pontoon peering
down at us and taking snaps. So this is what its like being on Big Brother! We
departed Nusfjord for Henningsvaer, with some fishing en route. our first attempts
proved unsuccessful. Not a single bite. Finding a more likely looking spot we
switched off the engine, dropped a hand line and a fishing rod over the side and
waited. The water was glassy smooth, the sky bright blue, the sun hot and the
jagged Lofoten mountains, some still topped with snow, stretched out ahead of
us. Perfection! Oliver jiggled his rod about over the stern half heartedly, not
really wanting to catch anything if he could help it, whilst on starboard deck
increasingly large fish were being hauled up by Mike and Yvonne then passed to
'gutter boy' Duff for despatching and filleting, to be consumed later that day
as cod au gratin. The total catch was 3 cod and one haddock. John and Mike shared
the grisly job of delivering the last fatal blow to each one with a winch handle.
Unfortunately Mike's aim was not always true and on one occasion resulted in John
getting hit instead of the fish. The first fish had only recently eaten its own
lunch and responded by discharging the contents of its stomach - lots of little
fishes, still whole!
Having caught enough for dinner we headed into Hennigsvaer. Hennigsvaer didn't
live up to its description as the Venice of the Lofoten and the 'most beguiling
of villages' but it had a good restaurant, a couple of good bars, an excellent
glass workshop and a couple of supermarkets. We restocked on fresh goods. The
discussion on where to sail to next continued. The charts and plots were studied
yet again. Should we backtrack to Stamsund, go on to Svolvaer (which would mean
staying there two nights) or head directly to Trollsfjord - quite a long passage.
Or we could overnight at an anchorage somewhere between Hennigsvaer and Trollsfjord.
Peter strongly favoured a harbour over an achorage. So an anchorage it was. The
next day we bought a BBQ set and headed for Gullvika, a wild anchorage, arriving
at about lunchtime. The bay was completely deserted, though judging from the number
of mooring bolts fixed into the rocks and indicated by target markings, quite
a popular spot. A dinghy trip around the bay was followed by a shore visit. Trees
are few and far between on the islands but, that aside, the countryside is surprisingly
lush. The ground was covered in thick springy moss, blueberry bushes and cloudberry
plants. We spied a white tailed eagle and pair of oystercatchers, but fortunately
not the beast that left the many piles of large pellet droppings in the woods
near the shoreline. What's that saying about bears and woods?
The stillness of the night was disturbed only the buzzing of mosquitoes, followed
at regular intervals by the noise of flesh thwacking flesh as their main target,
Peter, tried in vain to fend them off. As morning came it was replaced by the
morse code clickings of his mossie bite 'zapper' as he self -administered 10,000
volts to each bite.
From Gullvika we motor sailed up to the northernmost point of our cruise Trollsfjord,
a 2 km deep, narrow fjord surrounded by snowy peaks. Then south again to our final
stop, Lofoten's main town of Svolvaer. Whilst not as scenic as the other places
we'd visited, Svolvaer provided an interesting contrast. It brought us into contact
with some of the less attractive realities of Norwegian life - seal and reindeer
pelts for sale in the local market and a whaling vessel moored against the quayside,
with its tell-tale crows nest, bow mounted harpoon gun and harpoons visible on
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 7
25 July 2002
A tale of everyday life in a fisherman's paradise (Lofoten Islands, Norway)
During the long evening of June 29th John was joined by 3 intrepid travellers
who, for the sake of simplicity (and litigation), will be known as Ralf, Pat and
Knut. The travellers had come to Svolvaer from the south by many forms of transport
including aeroplane, "hurtigrute" (coastal steamer), train, car, bus and foot.
They came bringing products from Duty Free shops and Sainsburys in their heavy
canvas bags. There were few transport casualties in these bags, except for the
soft squidgy green lemons (J Sainsbury - expect a suit soon) which proceeded to
spread their deadly, infectious spores throughout every nook and cranny of the
good water nymph "Arethusa".
Plans were made for the coming week. The mood was upbeat. Good weather ("the
best for 10 years" to quote a local) was expected. However, the very uncooperative
Norwegian Coastguard lady did not concur or agree with this, or anything for that
matter. Undeterred, the brave quartet braved a quick motor to Henningsvaer, around
the corner from Svolvaer, and moored up on a sturdy pontoon. Henningsvaer was
opening up for the summer season and was full of hairy young mountain climbers
with well formed legs swigging cans of beer in ethnic bars. There, the crew saw
the most stunning midnight sun, the sighting being only marginally marred by a
fierce argument amongst them as to exactly when "midnight" was in this part of
the world. Several visits to the best vantage point on top of the curvy bridge
confirmed it was at 11.00 pm and 12.00pm and 1.00pm (local time).
"Arethusa" moved onward and southwards to Staammsooond (phonetic pronunciation)
aka Stamsund, the next day. The weather, despite (or to spite) the lady Coastguard
was wonderful - hot and sunny - so John and Pat set about fishing for a free supper
(it was the Scottish blood in them). Meanwhile, Ralf and Knut decided to take
a dip in the not so icy arctic waters whereupon Knut, living up to his/her name,
managed to enter the water clutching on to "Arethusa's" ensign for dear life.
After a milli second of concern over Knut's welfare, there was so much raucous
laughter, that instead of frightening off the fish, it produced one of the best
fishing hauls of the season - cod, herring and pollock in abundance. Perhaps it
was the sight of the rapidly advancing British naval ensign that caused the Norwegian
fish to jump out of the water. That night, John, who if he ever gives up his day
job, could easily double up for Rick Stein, produced fresh roasted cod on garlic
and onion mash drizzled in pesto with a topping of sun dried tomatoes.
The next day was damp, drizzly (that bloody Coastguard woman again) and wind
free so the crew took off in a busss (aka bus) to the other side of the island
to visit the Lofoter Viking Museum, which is strongly recommended. Apart from
a glitch in reading a Norwegian bus timetable resulting in a potential wait of
23 days, the crew returned by taxi to Stamsund. Chatting to the locals over a
few beers produced what could be the Stamsund / Lofoten branch of the London Corinthian
Sailing Club. The eight keen and attractive locals were very interested to hear
stories (mostly true) about the antics of the LCSC in, out and around the Solent.
The crew regretfully turned down a generous offer of a flight over the Lofotens
in the puppet theatre owner's private plane. They consoled themselves by purchasing
the biggest and most expensive canister of propane gas in the world before setting
sail for the very picturesque port of Nyvågar in ever increasing winds (Force
97 according to our friendly lady Coastguard). "Arethusa" was moored expertly
against a 6 inch wide slippery wire mesh pontoon and, despite Pat's attempts to
dispose of Knut once and for all, the crew was all safe. The following day the
wind really was blowing (yes, it does occasionally in the Lofotens) so "Arethusa"
long and short tacked up and down some of the stunning surrounding fjords before
returning to base at Svolvaer and the next part change of crew.
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 8
28 August 2002
Scotland and Norway cruise - Lofoten to Bodø
Scotland and Norway cruise - Lofoten to Bodø
After a week of glorious sunshine in the Lofoten Islands, John, Andrew and
I endured pouring rain moored up in Svolvaer waiting for the final crew member,
Maggie, to arrive. The weather ruled out the planned tour of the north of the
island (Austvågøy), so we used the time to research mooring and anchoring locations
for the rest of the trip. A friendly Norwegian, moored up near us on the pontoon,
came on board and over a mug of coffee enthusiastically told us about some of
his favourite spots. All of them were, as he put it, werry, werry lovely (ww)
or even werry, werry werry, werry lovely (wwww). He knew and loved the area and
had John scurrying back and forth to seek out more charts for marking up. His
disappointment was palpable when John failed to locate a chart showing one particularly
recommended wwww lovely anchorage.
On Monday we set off to explore Trollfjord and had enough wind to sail. Trollfjord
has a very narrow and steep entrance which widens out to a bowl - very dramatic.
It was a perfect spot for lunch while the boat slowly turned so we could enjoy
the panorama. Trollfjord is 68º 22' N, the same latitude as northern Alaska, and
the furthest north I've ever been. As we motored out of the narrow entrance, a
ship came in, which we assumed was a Norwegian steamer. As we manoeuvred past
it, we noticed that everyone on board was waving at us, including stewards and
other assorted crew, and the foghorn sounded. As its stern became visible,we realised
it was a friendly greeting from a British cruise ship, the Hebridean Princess.
We duly sounded our foghorn to return the greeting. Passing so close was an amazing
coincidence given that British ships are rarer than hens' teeth in the Lofoten
Islands, or indeed British yachts.
We then headed for Henningsvaer, one of many picturesque fishing harbours,
where we moored up for the night. The only small pontoon was full so we tied up
alongside a German yacht on one of the fishing wharves. Another delicious meal
(magret de canard and puy lentils) and another breathtaking view of the midnight
sun - I could get used to this.
The next morning we were rudely awakened by a fishing boat wanting to unload,
one of the hazards of sailing in the Lofoten Islands. As the weather charts indicated
that bad weather was on its way, we decided to head straight for Reine harbour
before crossing back to the mainland. We had now got the hang of navigating in
Norway. At first sight, the charts look like a crazy mess of rocks, skerries and
a higgledy piggledy coastline. When Andrew navigated, he aptly called it a "bit
of a mish mash", which Maggie at the helm did not consider a nautical term! The
main navigational marks are "vards" (cairns), posts (often marking submerged rocks
Arethusa could safely have sailed over), and lights. A light is not a great deal
of help in 24 hour daylight, but the lighthouses, small white structures with
red conical tops, were easy to spot. Essential navigating aids are a magnifying
glass to read the tiny symbols on the chart, and binoculars to spot the vards,
the thin metal posts (unpainted and unlit) and the lighthouses. On the plus side,
there is hardly any tide, few boats to avoid, and the water is very deep. Arethusa
had already sailed into some of the harbours we visited, so we could use the pilotage
sketches prepared by previous crews.
After a couple of hours in Reine to relax, take more photos of more breathtaking
scenery and eat (cod with pesto mash), we sailed "overnight" back to the mainland.
This gave us another wonderful view of the midnight sun slowly dipping behind
an island and gradually re-emerging. We saw only two other ships during the whole
passage, and only visible through binoculars. Our first impressions as we neared
the mainland were the distinctive smell of farm animals and the lush vegetation.
We headed for Kjerringøy, one of our Norwegian friend's www lovely spots. Sadly,
too many other boats had already been lured there, so we anchored in a little
bay to catch up on some sleep. John's wake up call (Ian Dury at full volume) proved
very effective. After breakfast and catching yet more cod, we set off to our friend's
most highly recommended wwwww loveliest spot to anchor overnight.
We sailed in a good wind and rain. Even in the pouring rain the little bay,
Vettøsund, looked idyllic, and only one other boat was anchored. By the time we
had finished eating (delicious British sausages), the rain had stopped and our
friendly German neighbour came over to say hello.
The next morning was sunny and we explored ashore. We walked from a small sandy
beach to the top of the island, past clumps of blueberries, yellow cloudberries
and juniper berries. We also saw sea eagles and porpoises. The bay certainly deserved
its 5-w rating.
From there we sailed back to Bodø where the crew would change over. As we sailed
into the marina, we were greeted by Jens, the new crew member, together with his
father and uncle. Jens was keen to show us some of the local land-based sights.
We set off that evening in his former British army truck with a rolled up canvas
roof. It was a bone rattling, hair-raising ride, particularly after the gentle
pace on board Arethusa. The scenery was indeed beautiful, and the Saltstraumen
maelstrom magnificent. It was good to see what Norway looked like from the land.
On Friday it rained solidly all day. John and I seemed to cause many curious
glances when we walked into the elegant, candle-lit internet café in our wet oilies.
To the locals, we must have looked like we had just come off a trawler!
With Jens' guidance, provisioning for the following week was very adventurous.
Elk sausage, whale meat, stockfisk (air dried cod) and other Norwegian delicacies
emerged from carrier bags and were duly stowed. Stockfisk smells so strong that
stowing it below was not recommended, and it was tied to the bow.
As I came up on deck to leave the boat on Saturday morning, the pungent smell
of the stockfisk on the bow pervaded the cockpit. A distinctive Lofoten smell
to send me on my way. I look forward to reading about the culinary delights in
the next report……
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 9
31 August 2002
Total Cultural Immersion
With Jens now safely aboard we left for Rorvik - around 200 miles south of
Bodo. Our first evening was spent at the Svartisen Glacier. Having followed many
lighthouses and 'vardes' in the process of making our way through the Indrelia
that day (the protected, very well marked and very well maintained shipping channel
that runs almost the entire length of the Norwegian coast) it turned out to be
the longest in terms of miles of the week. Svartisen is a good looking glacier.
It covers a large plateau surrounded by several high peaks and then spills down
to the water at various points. The air and wind temp. began to drop dramatically
as we entered Holandsfjord (in blistering sunshine) and we were soon moored up
by the jetty digging out walking boots in order to explore further. John and Maggie
stayed and viewed from afar as Jens lead the way up to the base of the glacier.
A large river pours out from the base and what strikes one is the deep, clear
blue of the ice. It is also very big and has some amazingly shaped (and also very
big!) ice formations. We walked back through the huge and very oddly shaped boulders
the glacier had deposited, past what can only be described as a 'rural Norwegian
rave' (small electricity generator and loud, pumping music included!). Back at
the boat we met John and Maggie and half a dozen manic Arctic turns that had taken
a fancy to Arethusa's mast, ready for.................... Reindeer for dinner.
Tastes remarkably like you might expect Reindeer to taste!? Very distinctive and
not particularly subtle - just what is required after a serious glacial adventure.
Day two was much shorter in terms of distance. On leaving Hollandsfjord we
met the Hebridean Princess, much talked about in NL 8, and greeted her with the
now traditional honk on the fog horn to the great amusement of all those on board.
A slow but very stylish sail at 3knots max, our dried cod (see NL 8 under 'stockfish')
still swinging merrily from the bow, and again in blistering sunshine took us
to an anchorage near the island of Nesoya and dinner............. Cod Cheeks,
or Cod Tongues, as you like - they are both the same. This fishy delicacy is basically
the underneath of the cod's mouth, between the gills. Very tasty when covered
in flour and fried. It would appear that when growing up in North Norway one earns
ones pocket money by helping to gut fish or removing the 'cheeks' of Cod. As a
result of this hard won experience, Jens was able to give in depth demonstrations
of not only what a 'cod tongue' was but also how it could be found, cut out etc.
I recommend you speak to Jens for further information on this if required. As
John and Maggie turned in for the night Jens and myself broke open the dingy and
headed out with the rod for a spot of midnight fishing. The fish obliged and in
no time at all - with much hilarity as with each bite the rod was hauled down
a good foot and a half under the water - we had four prime cod. The 'big one'
was still out there Jens kept assuring me so we continued to drop our lure over
the side, now rejecting anything that didn't resemble a whale in size! Sadly the
'big one' never arrived - maybe a good thing, I'm not sure how the rod would have
coped. We returned to the boat via a little white, sandy cove for a fish gutting
session. Much has been said already about the fishing situation up there. I will
make one addition to give some idea of how totally 'into' fishing everybody is.
There is a common word in Norwegian that means 'to keep the boat still, in one
position, whilst fishing'. My feeling was that we did loads of fishing and caught
huge amounts of huge fish. Jens assured me that by Norwegian standards we had
done a bit of fishing and caught 'just about enough'. Our catch was 'salted' and
stored for a later date.
Day three took us passed the island of Lovund, a spectacular 'mountain island'
within site of the island of Traena and then south passed the 'Seven Sisters'
mountains - seven peaks remarkably similar in one line, amazing. We anchored on
the south side of the large island of Donna. Once again the trip involved picking
our way through small islands and following many lighthouses and vardes. I was
amused to discover the technical, maritime and traditional Norwegian term for
'mish mash' (see NL 8) is 'fly shit'. Much of the day was spent under sail although
the height and general solidity of the mountains mean they make a pretty effective
wind break!! Dinner: After catching the Cod (5 minutes work) we cooked it in the
most basic 'everyday' way, soaked in an omelette mixture and then fried. Very
good. That evening we went ashore to explore the little cove in which we were
anchored. There was very little there other than a flock of sheep which John skillfully
attracted with a very classy sheep impression! We were able to find a view point
and formulate a plan for safely negotiating the 'fly shit' the next morning.
Day four lead us almost due south to what could best be described as an inhabited
reef. The water is clear blue - much white sand and a very kind barman that offered
to drive John to the petrol station to buy gas. This is Bronneysund. Some sailing,
some with engine. Inside the Indelia this is how it goes. By now our stockfish
had been removed from the bow and was being 'watered out' and gently reconstituted
ready for lunch. Lunch was Bakalau (probably not spelt correctly). This refers
to the whole dish, a casserole type affair - in Portugal I think it refers just
to the actual dried fish. For those who have eaten Cous-Cous, and by this I mean
the whole traditional dish that involves stewed vegetables in a thick tomato based
sauce with chilli and then either chicken or sausages etc added, not just the
wheat element, it is very similar. Lots of oil goes in to this Norwegian dish
- I guess in part to help reconstitute the fish. It tastes fantastic. On leaving
Bronneysund we were called on the VHF, 'boat from London, boat from London..........'
We turned around to see two people waving from the pier. It turned out to be our
German friend from NL 8. He was thinking of visiting the UK canal system and wondered
if John had any info, we politely headed on our way.
With most of the distance to Rorvik now covered we spent the last two days
sailing around the area near the island of Leka (extraordinary rock type - deep
orange colour, very rare apparently) with a night at anchor in a small 'hamlet'
on the mainland. We ate Whale here, again very distinctive and unlike anything
else I have ever tasted.
We arrived in Rorvik on the 18th July and were greeted once again by our German
friend - seemingly overjoyed that we had again bumped into each other. We ate
another Norwegian staple - 'salted cod', caught several days earlier and salted,
stored and then 'watered out' and cooked. Very nice - distinctive salty taste
not surprisingly!!! Jens and myself then left for the Hurtigruten and Bodo for
flights back home and left John and Maggie with the prospect of a night discussing
the pros and cons of the UK canal system!
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 10
22 August 2002
The next two weeks involved sailing (or motoring!) South from Rorvik to Floro,
a distance of around 400 miles. More importantly it involved crossing three potentially
difficult passages at Folla, Hustavika and Stott. The latter has a nasty reputation
for wind and bad wave conditions, much like Portland Bill on a bad day. As things
turned out all three passages were done in excellent conditions and posed no problems.
It couldn't have been difficult as one crew member slept throughout the Stott
passage in the cockpit!
We have been exceptionally lucky with the weather. Not only has this been the
best season for 10 years but we also seemed to have moved ahead of whatever difficult
weather there was as we discovered whilst chatting to other boats who had been
in Lofoten around two weeks after us. The smell of suntan oil is a welcome relief
to the smell of drying fish!
Sailing North/South in Norway is almost always done on the inland route that
uses offshore islands and skerries for protection from both swell and wind. The
downside is light winds in the narrow channels and it can involve a lot of motoring.
Interest is maintained by the intricate channels that are involved and that the
charts are not regularly updated for new bridges and cables! Rounding one narrow
channel past a headland a bridge appears ahead, we are on a beam reach for once
in strong winds with little time to sort ourselves out in the narrow channel.
Fortunately it turns out to have 25m clearance against our 19metre airdraft. That
feels very close as you go through with heart in mouth!
High tension cables are also interesting to pass. Charts give the airdraft
but also a vague note that there is a risk of arcing across the gap! Is this a
new opportunity to keep the batteries fully charged?!
Occasionally some excellent sailing with afternoon offshore winds driven by
the hot weather. Often this happened in tight channels , all that makes for a
lot of fun with the pilotage particularly with a relatively inexperienced crew.
One comment along the way shows that Peter Horton has a soulmate' " What's the
name of the white flappy bit at the front John?".
We visited some interesting towns including Kristiansund, Molde, Floro and
Alesund. All very quiet until Friday and Sarurday night when the local population
prove that high alcohol taxation does not inhibit consumption. By 5am the gentle
sound of accordian music on the pontoon can pall!. On the other hand villages
that appear to be very affluent don't have a pub or restaurant/café where people
meet. Clearly it all happens behind closed doors in these small communities.
Food standards took a leap upwards as a new crew arrived with fresh ideas and
enthusiasm. The skippers efforts now seem very ordinary as excellent wild mushroom
sauces and delicate pasta sauces grace the table( eat your heart out those steak
and kidney pie fanatics). Fishing continues but the catch is mainly mackeral which
were grilled on the BBQ (no Anthony not on the foredeck!) although there did appear
to be a small brown mark on the wooden pontoon when we had finished!! Wine consumption
is also climbing and we are getting dangerously low on the supplies we brought
to Norway. Let's hope rationing down to two bottles a night will not be necessary.
The final crew changeover happened according to plan in Floro about 50 miles
North of Bergen. The weather is still blazing sunshine and high temperatures and
the new crew arrive stripping off the layers of fleece and polypropylene underwear
that they thought were necessary.
Pass the suntan lotion and a cold beer please.
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 10 1/2
1 Septrmber 2002
Floro to Inverness
Crew: John Duff, Maggie Howard, Hans-Peter Schobert, Barry Wilkinson.
With the prospect of a rainy week in the fjords (during Bill Brydon's wet visit
to Norway he asked a young local if it rained all the time there, to which the
response was: 'I don't know, I'm only 14), a bumpy ride over the North Sea (F8/9's
and 20ft seas reported in Newsletter no. 6) and Scotland at it's wettest best,
I arrived in Bergen to meet up with Hans-Peter (H-P), lugging the widest range
of foul weather gear imaginable.
After a night in Bergen and a few beers (costing slightly less than the air
fare over) we were ready for all that the weather map could throw at us. H-P is
an ace sails trimmer (having raced in most parts of the world) so that I knew
that with the right winds we were heading for 'interesting times'.
They were indeed interesting. Stationary 'Highs' over Scandinavia gave Norway
it's best summer for decades, leaving southern Europe with an unusually erratic
weather pattern. Just our luck.
We left Floro on Sunday 4th August in very light winds and no spinnaker, since
the pole was lost on the way over. With only the main and yankee we touched 4
kts and reached Askvoll, 18nm south, by late afternoon. The next two days were
even quieter in the sailing sense, although H-P's stentorian tones could be heard
two fjords away. 'Pass the Farlookers' was his way of asking for the binoculars
- not an easy word to repeat quickly under pressure!
In wall-to-wall sunshine, flat water and F1, occasionally 2, and touching 3
as a result of a concerted effort from John and H-P after a bean-feast, we motor
sailed from Askvoll up Darsfjord with its majestic views of waterfalls and sheer
rock faces. Retracing our course back down the fjord we headed for the island
of Aldvagen - a towering lump of rock which we intended to walk up the following
day. Unfortunately a sea mist developed and we headed back for another night in
The following day Aldvagen still had traces of mist surrounding its base as
we headed south via Sognesjoenfjord to Dinja and then on to Eivindvick where we
stayed the night on the visitors' pontoon. The next day another leisurely 25 miles
of motoring found us anchored with lines ashore, fore and aft, in a beautiful
little channel called Grunnasund. We tried fishing, but like previous attempts
since Floro we were out of luck.
John, Maggie and I took the dinghy out to explore further up the channel and
return with a bucket full of mussels disengaged from rocks along the way. They
provided a great starter for dinner the following evening, although I yearned
for some freshly caught cod, as described in an earlier newsletter.
Grunnasond is only 20 miles from Bergen and again we motored. This part of
the journey took us through the main ferry channel. With ferries having right
of way over all other traffic they felt it quite in order to burst through narrow
gaps, seemingly not much wider than their beam, at 25 knots. We made great and
urgent use of the 'Larfookers'.
We 'over-nighted' in Bergen and broke the bank on a few beers. We bought a
salmon in the fish market which John changed into gravaldlax for future consumption.
That night we had another memorable meal on board, the detail of which temporarily
The following day consisted of a lazy morning in Bergen before making the 12nm
engine-assisted passage to Hjellested Marina, our final stop in Norway. Since
Floro we had travelled just under 160nm, with very little under sail. The compensation
for this was the pleasure of sailing through some of the most beautiful scenery
one could wish for and seeing it at its best. After all there was the North Sea
crossing to look forward to!
We decided to return to Scotland a little earlier than originally planned largely
because the 'high' which had remained static for so long was beginning to move
and lurking behind it were a couple of rather nasty looking 'lows'. With memories
of F8/9's on the journey over, John was keen to avoid the repetition.
Also a couple of days earlier, whilst hauling down the main, H-P accidentally
stuck his elbow through a lower seam at the base. This meant sailing with a least
one reef in the main.
As luck wouldn't have it, we had very little wind and what there was, was on
the nose. H-P's energetic filibustering on almost any topic was calculated to
add ½ knot to our speed through the water. The engine proved to be quieter and
at the same time kept the boat's batteries charged, whilst H-P's efforts, no doubt
well meant, wore ours out.
We made the 328 mile crossing in 52 hours, passing through the floodlit oilfields
at night to be entertained the following day to an exhibition of synchronised
swimming by a school of dolphins. Maggie complained at not being roused in time
to see it and was then treated, some two hours later, to a matinee performance.
Back came the smile and we were all friends again.
We arrived in Inverness mid-day Monday and rested. Tuesday we temporarily patched
the main and then took a sightseeing walk around Inverness. With no prospect of
wind we hired a car for two days and visited the Western Isles, Cromarty, and
Glen Affrick. We tasted malt at the Tomatin Distillery and drank real ale from
the Black Isle brewery. Friday we moved 'Arethusa' into the Caledonian canal and
cleaned her up and re-victualled her for the next stage of her voyage.
All in all, a great two weeks, full of interest, bonhomie and good humour.
Shame about the wind. True wind, that is. Not apparent.
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 11
27 August 2002
This week was marketed as a rest & relaxation trip and certainly lived up to
expectations. The crew consisting of Shirley, Ken, Jenny and Ian left Luton in
blazing sunshine and arrived at Inverness in mist and rain, definitely more than
a few degrees cooler. After the statutory fitting of gear and lifejackets we headed
off in search of some real ale and pub grub. Great!
This part of John's passage was in two distinct sections; the Caledonian Canal,
which we anticipated, could take as few as 3 days to travel through, and then
some sailing off the West Coast of Scotland. The latter part raised the anxiety
levels for the novice members of his crew (well me), as talk of this seemed to
include venturing into the Atlantic Ocean. Pretty scary if you get worried and
travel sick on the Dover/Calais car ferry!!
Attempts to set off early the next morning through the locks at Inverness were
thwarted as one of the lock gates (5 in total) was broken resulting in a five-hour
delay. This gave us plenty of time to be neighbourly and be introduced to John’s
neighbour at the Seaport Marina. It wasn’t so much his actual neighbour who caught
our attention, but a baby duck that believed he was her mother and continued to
follow him everywhere. It emerged that some duck eggs were rescued and given a
warm berth aboard the neighbouring barge. 'Capri' emerged and seems to prove Lorenz's
theory of imprinting. Anyway back to the boat trip, we finally set off about 2pm
in blazing sunshine, and after negotiating numerous sets of locks we entered Loch
Ness which was amazingly serene and beautiful. We were lonely travellers and this
seemed to add to the drama of the loch as night was falling (and a belief in the
Loch Ness monster... it was very creepy). However, no sightings were made of the
monster variety, but we saw many varied and interesting birds. We made a very
pretty hamlet called Fort Augusta by nightfall and the lads began their search
for hostelries serving that all important real ale.
The next day took us through Loch Lochy and to Neptunes Steps at Fort William.
This is a series of 8 locks and takes approximately 1 ½ hours to travel through.
Unfortunately we were unable to begin our decent until the next morning due to
the time of our arrival and because the 'Lord of the Glen' an enormous cruise
ship which was built to fit the size of the locks was coming through. However,
we had the benefit of berthing just below Ben Nevis, which was awesome. We was
up and on our way at first light the next day and had this set of locks entirely
to ourselves which went without a hitch apart from Shirley and Jenny being stranded
on shore after doing the shopping! We were given incorrect advice about being
able to re-join the boat on a pontoon below the locks as this was in shallow water.
John made several attempts to go around before picking us up at the bottom of
a ladder involving a 30ft drop (Ken says it was only 15', but it seemed higher
than this when you have to go over the edge). A tricky manoeuvre for all concerned!
By Wednesday we had made it through all the locks and reports of wind and gales
had gone resulting in us having to motor up the Sound of Mull to Tobermory on
the Isle of Mull. Once again we arrived as the sun was setting making our arrival
in this very pretty village awesome. I know you will think I am going on a bit,
but once again Jenny & I were stampeded in the rush to blow up the dingy to head
for the Mishnish Hotel and a few pints of real ---! Duck for supper that night
with some thoughts of 'Capri'!
You will be pleased to hear that by Thursday the day of reckoning had come
and plans were afoot to sail to Fingals cave. We were becalmed. However, JD was
insistent that we couldn’t spend all our time in the Tobermory Distillery and
we set sail in a force 1 or 2 in an attempt to ensure John didn’t forget how to
do it. However, once we left the protected harbour at Tobermory the wind got up
and we were sailing at last. Despite all the reservations of sailing in the direction
of the Atlantic Ocean we had a lovely sail with winds of force 3 or 4, but insufficient
time to make it around to the other side of Mull. Ian & Ken cooked a supper of
spag bol that night amid rumours that it had seen the deck first......... standards
Our final day was very mixed. We woke to thick fog and a need to set sail in
order to be back in Oban for the next crew change. Jenny took her post on look
out with the foghorn and we set sail. Ken was able to consolidate his navigation
training the day before in learning the importance of this when you can’t see.
However, the fog didn’t persist and we managed to sail to Dunstaffnage Marina
(outside Oban), with some informal racing on the way. It was a great end to a
fabulous week of good company, lots of fun, great scenery, motoring through the
canal, sailing (just right for the novice member(s) of the crew), food and fine
real ales and Tobermory whiskey! We just hope John was 'rested' and didn’t become
too 'relaxed', given some real sailors following on the next week for the final
leg of his journey to Dartmouth.
Thanks John we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
ARETHUSA: NEWSLETTER NO. 12
Arethusa Diary 24/8-2/9
Sat 24th August
Three of the new crew (Rex, Nimet and Anna) arrived by train at Oban station mid-afternoon,
to be met by John and a tired Jeremy, who vowed never to take an overnight coach
from London to Oban again. Arethusa was waiting for us at Dunstaffnage Marina
(good showers), a short taxi ride from Oban (the taxi in which a bag containing
a book and some all-important chocolate was left by mistake, fortunately to be
returned later that evening). We were almost immediately frog-marched round the
bay by the fearsome skipper, to look at Dunstaffnage castle. However there was
a beach which allowed for a little paddling by those inclined to do so (Nimet
and Anna). Sadly the water was rather cold. Dunstaffnage is a beautiful place,
with a good pub in the marina.
Sun 25th August
We left Dunstaffnage at 8:30am on our way to Ardfen, a distance of approximately
30 miles. We arrived just after 3pm, having had some good sailing (Nimet's record
of 8.6 knots through the water was unchallenged for the rest of the week) as well
as spending time sailing slowly up Loch Craignish in beautiful sunshine. Before
going into the marina (OK showers, except see later) we practiced picking up a
buoy (not that it was necessary here). It is a lovely place, but was very cold,
a factor appreciated by John in the morning when he failed to get the shower to
run hot. (Cue screams).
Mon 26th August
We left Ardfen at 7:30am (I always thought the tide was 1 hour later every day,
but we seemed to need to leave an hour earlier every morning.....), en route to
the island of Gigha. We arrived at Ardminish about 1:30pm, a distance of 28.5
miles. Here our practice at picking up a buoy came in useful, Nimet on the helm
picking up her first ever mooring buoy first time (well done Jeremy on the bow...).
After inflating the dinghy and going ashore, we went to the only shop (where
fortunately we were able to buy more chocolate), hired bikes for the afternoon,
and rode up to the north of the island. Here there was a very attractive beach,
where Nimet was hoping to swim, but unfortunately there were rather a lot of jelly
fish with the same idea, which was somewhat off-putting.
Just as we were starting to make our way back to the middle of the island Jeremy's
bike chain broke. John having left a little earlier to make a phone call, Rex
as the fastest cyclist pedalled off furiously to get a replacement bike, while
Jeremy freewheeled down the hills, was pulled along on the flat by Anna, and (sorry
Jeremy) had to run up the hills. Rex managed to cycle back towards us riding one
bike and carrying another on his shoulder (well done Rex). After regrouping ,
we then went to an old ruined church on a hill with beautiful views across the
island and over the water. Nimet and Anna then cycled to the southern end of the
island (or as close as the road goes), while the others walked round a garden
that is well-known for it's azaleas and camellias (unfortunately not out at this
time of year).
They did the 1-hour walk in 40 minutes so desperate were they to get to the
pub, but the gardens are very attractive and well laid out, well worth a visit.
We ate ashore in the pub, where there was some very good locally farmed fish.
Tues 27th August
We left Gigha at 6:30am in mist and fog, with the wind on the nose. However by
late morning we were sailing again, and were able to experiment with the spinnaker,
despite not having a spinnaker pole. The wind was somewhat unreliable, and so
the spinnaker didn't stay up for very long at any one time. We didn't quite make
the 10 spinnaker hoists and drops that John wanted, but it was a close-run thing.
We arrived at the marina (very good showers) in Bangor (Ireland not Wales) just
after 5pm. Here we visited the RUYC, a smart but almost empty club-house a short
walk from the marina. John cooked in the evening while Nimet and Anna (with Rex's
help) constructed their first ever passage plan for the next day's sail to Howth
Wed 28th August
We left Bangor at 6am (the starts getting earlier all the time!), taking the rather
narrow Donaghadee passage between various rocky outcrops and the rest of Ireland.
For some reason John changed the handy waypoint on the hard lumpy stuff to one
actually in the water, but apart from that the passage plan worked well. Unfortunately
although we got some sailing, quite a large part of the day was spent motor-sailing
with the wind almost on the nose. It rained and the sea was a bit choppy, which
made it all the more impressive as we approached Howth and found 40-50 boats with
colourful spinnakers out racing in one of their mid-week series. We arrived at
the marina (very good showers) about 8pm after approx. 88 miles, and headed straight
for the bar and food (trying to make sure we got there before the race teams ).
The club house was full of people, and had excellent facilities.
Thurs 29th August
After picking up a forecast, we decided to spend a day in Howth, doing some
drying out, cleaning and restocking. It's in an area that is within easy reach
of Dublin, and appears to be a really thriving place. Although there were no lifting
facilities for Arethusa John arranged for a diver (30 euros) to come and replace
the prop anode, which took all of about 5 minutes. A number of fishing boats operate
out of Howth, and there are some good fish shops just around the corner from the
marina. After a pub lunch (oysters for John) and paper plane competition (winner
downwind John, winner upwind Anna) 4 of us went into Dublin sightseeing on the
not-so-rapid DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport), while John went back to Arethusa
to roll up the mushrooms (?).
Fri 30th August
We planned to leave about 3pm (at last, a civilised start time!) after a leisurely
morning (and yet another bacon butty), but unfortunately the detailed forecast
didn't quite get it right. As gusts of up to Force 10 were recorded, and a Mayday
call from a swamped RIB led to the launch of the lifeboat, we decided to stay
in this nice comfortable marina a little longer.
Sat 31st August
Accordingly we left Howth marina at 3am to sail direct to Falmouth. After a small
hitch getting the main up, we sailed down past Wicklow and Arklow in winds of
Force 4 to 5. The wind gradually dropped, and we had to use the engine occasionally
to ensure that we got round the various waypoints in time. It was generally lovely
and sunny, though the sea was quite choppy. We were in 2 watches, with John as
Sun 1st September
We arrived in Falmouth Port Pendennis marina (not great showers) about 7pm after
250 miles and a beautiful sunny day's sailing and motor-sailing round Land's End
and the Lizard. Bizarrely there was another Mayday call from a RIB in difficulties
in the Manacles as we drew close to Falmouth. We managed to miss some friends
of John who had been patrolling the approach to Falmouth, but met up in the marina
and in the evening.
Mon 2nd September
Nimet and Anna left the boat to catch the train after the traditional bacon and
egg butty for breakfast.
4 September 2002
Hurrah! Welcome back! Ideas for next year - well you keep mentioning South
Georgia ..... Looking Yvonne & Mike
STOP PRESS STOP PRESS
Arethusa arrived in Dartmouth on Wednesday, three days early, after 4250 miles
with no casualties apart from a large number of wine bottles!
Free drinks for all participating crew next Tuesday at the London Corinthians
bar at 9pm!!
I am planning an evening party for all concerned and partners in October. Please
can you let me know the Fridays and Saturdays during the month that you are free
and I will chose the date that suits the maximum number of people. PLEASE be as
flexible as possible.
By the way, any ideas for next year...........
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