Back on mainland Norway

By |Published On: August 18, 2023|Categories: Europe, Norway|564 words|0 Comments|


After five days at sea we were ready for a bit of R&R, so our time in Harstad was spent recovering and enjoying this happy town. Sleep-ins were had, leisurely dinners were enjoyed with Steve and Sara from SY Snow Bear, we even took in a bit of Harstad’s annual music extravaganza, the Bakgården. And we had a good scrub in the marina’s showers, so conveniently located at the local fish and chip shop, of all places. David had his first haircut in five months. All very nice, and that included the haircut. Yuma wasn’t ignored either. With the help of a friendly local, new filters were sourced for the engine and it was given a service, minor repairs were done and everything inside and out was given a good clean and airing.

Grotty sailor: before and after.


Feeling fresh and good to go, a few days later we slipped our lines and headed out into the fjord to begin our journey south. An hour or two along the way we came to the entrance of the Tjelsundet, a long, narrow sound that concentrates the tidal streams from a couple of fjords into a strong steady current. We had clearly arrived a bit too early as we immediately found ourselves pushing into a strong, north-running current. The closer we got to the entrance, the faster our speed over the ground fell away, so we pulled in behind some skerries and anchored up in the shelter they afforded from the current for a hour to let the tide turn.

Along Tjelsundet.

The change of tide was announced by our anchor chain beginning to drag over the flat rock bottom as Yuma swung around. This necessitated a rush to haul the anchor in and get ourselves underway. We then had a very pleasant downwind sail on a fickle wind through the long, narrow and winding sound with steep hillslopes looming over us and lazy whirlpools spinning under us as we slipped along through the twists and turns. Our companions were a couple of commercial vessels, coastal cargo ships, salmon transport boats and the odd fishing boat. Every now and then we’d come across a dinghy or small powerboat with a couple of blokes and some kids intently watching their fishing lines as they drifted, oblivious to the traffic, through the shipping lane requiring the heavy vessels to manoeuvre around them. In the background, the scenery was high forested hills and narrow agricultural lowlands lining a narrow slot of water and sky.

More scenery from Tjelsundet.


Late in the afternoon we approached the southern end of Tjelsundet on the northern side of the Vestfjord. Here we made the call to anchor for the night. Our first option was a small and enclosed pool on the western side of the sundet, named Fiskefjord. With fisk in the name we thought it might prove promising as a spot to catch dinner. Sadly, despite being marked on the charts as an anchorage, we found it filled up with fishfarm nets and bouys. So, onwards we went around the headland and into Fisksøybukta where we found Snow Bear already anchored up. We dropped anchor on the north-eastern side of the bay, enjoyed a non-freshly caught dinner of fish pasta and a quiet night at anchor.

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An early August passage south across the Barents Sea
Crossing the Lofoten to the spectacular Vestfjord