55:19.10N 03:15.10E North Sea
Weren’t the Olympics brilliant! Seems a long time ago but of course we are not privy to the endless rehash in the papers and on TV.
We took a circuitous route back to Trondheim via, two days in Oslo (great Boris bikes), a famous all day train ride over the top to Bergen (mildly disappointing) and an internal flight to Trondheim. We were repaid for our lazy return to September with thick fog and so did not set off until Thursday 16th August. Two days of cruising south down the coast were supposed to give us our sea legs but there was little wind. We spent the first night on the island of Hitra, perfect miniature Marina with restaurant and views, and then on to Kristiansund to make sure that the Smia restaurant does indeed serve the best fish soup in Norway. It does!
And so Goodbye Norway. Thank you. The west coast has been an exceptional delight. We would love to go again but it is not easy to see how or when that is going to be accomplished.
We left Kristiansund on Saturday morning “towards Southampton”. And here we are now slap bang in the middle of the North Sea heading south towards Dogger Bank about half way on the 1100 mile passage to Southampton. Passage Making is very different from Cruising. Our mobile country cottage has become mildly, sometimes very, uncomfortable. A moving floor on a 25 degree tilt, rocking up and down four times every ten seconds. But of course all that means we have breeze; we are sailing not motoring. Halleluiah! Four days in and we have settled to our routine; sea legs are good, sleeping in watches is easier by the day, and the hot food keeps on coming. Halleluiah! It would be sensible to say something positive about the North Sea – out here one never knows who is listening – but for the moment I am without adequate words. Halleluiah!
However, there is no doubt that the oil rigs, and gas platforms, with attendant nurse maid shipping make interesting viewing, and navigation, especially at night. We have visited the Jade oil field, the Ekofisk platforms, Embla and Vallhall. Very impressive other worldly meccano standing in a mere 65 metres of inhospitable grey water – and this is August! We have been asked, very politely, to give way to a survey vessel towing four miles of seismic cables! Four miles! Very expensive kit to try to find something interesting in the North Sea. I could have saved them the bother! But we will try to remember to spare them a thought when we are tucked up in 15 St Mary’s or toasty in the Canaries. They will still be ploughing up and down, in fair weather and foul, so that we can turn on our gas central heating and cooker. Halleluiah!