Ålesund to Sørne Bjørnsund

By |Published On: June 1, 2023|Categories: Europe, Norway|689 words|2 Comments|

We awoke to gentle rain and by 0845 were in the chandlery picking up a few things we needed for the toilet and shoreline systems.


Back at the boat we let Maribell loose and took over her spot before heading off for some coffee and cinnamon buns.

Yuma rafted up to Maribell


Racoon Café has by my (D) reckoning the best cinniebuns in Norway hands down. Frederieke still thinks that Bergen wins but I am unconvinced. Those Bergen buns had not nearly enough cinnamon and were nowhere near bready enough.

Bingo! David's favorite cinniebun.


By late morning we were back on the boat and heading NW along the channel to what would turn out to Sørne Bjørnsund. As we had an appointment in the Lofoten with David’s parents on the 12th of June, we thought it was time to calculate the distance Ålesund to Svolvær, and estimate the number of days it would take us to get there. The route we planned was about 400 to 450 nm. If we sailed and/or motored 50 nm a day, this should take us about 8 to 9 days. We had 12 days, so we had a bit of extra time up our sleeves for bad weather or other misadventures. But not much time to explore any of our anchorages in much detail; that will have to wait for the return trip south.


Sailing that day was not to be as it was straight into the wind (again), but by evening we were motoring down a very narrow channel and into a very protected harbour, just a cleft between rocks really.


This was a pair of rocks, Søre and Nøre Bjørnsund, which had once had a fishing population of 700. In the 1960s the Norwegian government moved then all to the mainland, but the old houses became popular again in the 1980’s for the ex-villagers, this time as summer homes. Søre Bjørnsund is pretty much covered in houses that are all in perfect condition and neat as pins.

We walked around the apparently deserted island checking things out. The island had several monuments to drowned seamen and rescuers, going back to the late 1800s. It’s nigh inconceivable how people would have sailed and fished through these mazes of islands, skerries and rocks without modern tools of navigation! A seal, mergansers, eiders, silver gulls, and oystercatchers were loitering in the small gap between the islands, out of the wind and in the quiet. In amongst the neat manicured houses, all set in a metre or two from each other like some kind of weatherboard and slab jigsaw puzzle, all was silentand still. Not a soul was there.

However, as we returned to the boat we did encountered a soul; an older bloke in well-dirtied work gear and eager for a chat. He was all bundled up, plump and cheery. He was particularly curious about where we were from, he had seen the flag and couldn’t remember if it was Australian or New Zealand, he thought New Zealand. He was from a long line of islanders and when his father died he had inherited the family home on the island. This was where he came to spend his holidays and spare time and was where he would retire to.

Apparently, his ancestors had spent their entire lives on the island working as fishermen or in the fish processing sheds. In the 1960’s the government decided to stop providing services to the island and paid people an ‘incentive’ to leave. He was pretty sure the move to the mainland had killed his grandfather, who had known no other home. But our friend was happy, he had his home on the island and all he needed to do to be perfectly content was a few more years of work so that he could collect his pension and come home to his place here on Søre Bjørnsund. Well, good luck to you, mate.


Back at the boat we were gifted some fresh pollock fishcakes by the folk on a boat that had pulled in next to us. Yum! We better get a fishing line ourselves.


  1. Caro Imming June 21, 2023 at 9:46 pm - Reply


  2. Matt Westcott June 22, 2023 at 9:26 am - Reply

    absolutely brilliant folks, love the narrative….we are almost with you!! and photos are excellent, I am sure it will be a learning experience working with time, internet access and when possible videos. Looking forward to a lot more 👍👍

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Silda to Ålesund
Søre Bjørnsund to Røstøya