Trying to find a place to shelter

By |Published On: August 29, 2023|Categories: Europe, Norway|749 words|0 Comments|


We left Lovund with, yet again, a great feeling of excitement. We had a fresh breeze and it looked like we were about to get a lovely sail in. And indeed, we did get a great start with 15kt on the starboard quarter and Yuma skipping along at 6kn on a broad reach…until we got into the lee of Lovund itself. The engine had to go on again for a little while, but after a few miles we got the wind back so we sailed. This pattern repeated itself for the rest of the day; with very fickle winds we alternated between sailing and motoring as we threaded our way through skerries and islands towards our anchorage for the night.

What are these clouds going to do…?


As we rounded the island of Dønna, a stream of dark, green and stunning looking clouds flowed down out of the mountains on the mainland and began to push back the clear sunny skies that had accompanied us as we’d sailed eastwards. Those clouds were beautiful and dramatic but, with smooth long lines and green tinge they were also clear harbingers of nasty weather. So, despite there being less than 10kt of wind behind us, it was time to reef and be cautious – we chose to go straight to the second reef. It was a good choice and one that minutes later would yet again confirm that old adage ‘reef often and reef early’.

Clouds are starting to look rather ominous…

Maybe 10 minutes later the sea ahead of us suddenly boiled up into a mass of white caps and, despite the lack of fetch, 1.5-2m waves that were rushing towards us. In an instant, we were hit by a wall of 30kt wind that heeled us deeply over and waves that sent the bow heaving. Close hauled we pushed towards the windward shore to gain some protection from the waves. A quick tack then allowed us to follow the windward side of the gusts, making the passage into the Hæstadsundet as comfortable as it could be under the circumstances. It was a burst of excitement for us but of course, this being Norway, while we were having an exciting sail in strong winds and waves, a local ferry went happily steaming along past us, apparently oblivious to the conditions.

And sure enough, the clouds brought strong winds and white caps.


The storm front passed quickly enough and, as the sun set with spectacular colours on the Seven Sisters’ mountain range, we found our way into Hjartøya anchorage, a small bay in an island a little way south of Sandnessjøen. Our plan was to spend a few days here waiting out more bad weather and we had chosen this spot because on the map it looked secluded, remote and well protected.

Sudden and dramatic changes around the Seven sisters.

Slipping in through the bare rock cleft that opened into the interior pool of the anchorage, we thought we’d done well, it all looked so good. Unfortunately, after an hour of trying and failing to get a good set on the anchor, we had to concede failure and motored out in the dark, through the skerries and back up north to the town of Sandnessjøen to take refuge in the town harbour. After a long and tiring day this was a difficult decision, and it wasn’t an easy trip with driving rain and 25kt of wind blowing (of course…) against us, this time from the north. Just after midnight, we tied up safely in the harbour while the gale continued to built.


This was one nasty storm and it lasted for two days. While we were very thankful for the safe harbour Sandnessjøen provided us, the town of itself proved to be a pretty tedious place. Waiting out the storm we rocked against the pontoon as sheets of rain came in blasts out of the south. Not the best weather for sightseeing but it didn’t stop us from wandering around the town. However, the complete lack of good coffee and cinniebuns made it seem like there was not much point in braving the nasty wind and rain. Sadly, the storm also meant that going up into the mountains was not an option. So we just sat it out in the comfort of Yuma. That couldn’t be called suffering.

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Damn fine coffees and hikes on Lovund
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