On August 7th, with an excellent weather window at hand, we bid Scotland, the land of Wallace and Castles, farewell.
The Wallace Monument and views from the Top overlooking the sight of the Battle of Sterling Bridge
and Stirling Castle
birthplace of Mary Queen of Scotts. Stirling Castle is remarkable and changed my perception of Medieval Castles being dark and dreary places! It is being fully restored to its original opulence at the time of Mary’s birth. The ceiling of the kings bedroom is adorned with hand carved oak disks known as the “Sterling Heads”. Read the article about them in the Stirling Castle
We headed out across the North Sea at 1600 hrs past Fort George
and a large Oil Platform that had just been towed in and parked close to shore by a pair of these 250’ Tug Boats. This was just a couple of hours after Don & Kim Macaulay arrived. With the fair weather forecast we changed our destination to Bergen about 100 miles north of Stavanger where we had planned to make landfall. While this would add a half a day to our two day journey, everyone we had talked to told us this was a part of the country we should not miss, and we are glad we did!
The trip across the North Sea got a little bumpy one night, but otherwise was quite pleasant. This Destroyer, guarding this Air Craft Carrier, came by quite closely to check us out!
We crossed into the Eastern Hemisphere at 2:15 on August 8th, having traveled 5,400 miles since departing Sarasota! During the night, lit by the full moon, bright lights aboard, and the flaming towers high above, we passed numerous oil rigs. We made landfall the following morning, August 9th at 0930hrs, and found a perfect secluded anchorage for the night later that afternoon!
The following morning we headed up to Bergen. It rains here all but 60 days a year, and today was not one of those! We did find a birth a the quay right in the center of town, and close to the famous Fish Market.
A friend of Don’s son Ryan, Jan Erik Fredriksen
has an exclusive travel business in Iceland and Norway and bills himself as an "Adventure Travel Evangelist” His son Matt came by the boat just after we docked and joined us for lunch, and made dinner reservations for us at Cornelius. Jan Eric joined us for Dinner which was fun and informative!
From Bergen we headed south, with stops in small towns and quiet anchorages along the way toward Stavanger. We wanted to stop in Haugesund
but it was packed with a festival and sail boat races going on and no room for us at the dock. We continued onto Skudenshavn, which was a pleasant surprise and where we had a nice dinner ashore!
Of course we did a bit of fishing along the way, but even with the best of fisherman aboard, and NO Bananas, we had little to show for our efforts.
The highlight of the Macaulay’s visit was our visit to Lysefjord
. We had a pleasant night at anchor at the base of the fjord, and early the next morning set out to explore.
Along the way we launched the dinghy and Jim Mobley took these photos,
But we had to leave and head to Stavanger, from where Don & Kim had to depart the following morning.
Stavanger is the capital of the Norwegian Oil Industry, but there are signs of this goldmine everywhere. Oil was discoverd in the North Sea in 1969 and has transformed Norway. After the oil platform disaster of the Alexander L. Keilland
, which had been built in France, Norway brought the construction of almost all equipment “In House” with a great emphasis of safety. The country has no national debt, and the state oil fund is over 7 trillion dollars! Once senses the national pride, with flags flying from almost every summer cottage we pass. The Norwegian Petroleum Museum
was fascinating and gave voice to the dilemma the country faces between Climate Change and the Oil Industry which is the source of it’s wealth.
60% of the nations electricity is produced by Hydro Electric Power, with the goal of increasing that to 67%, and they are not going to run out of rain water any time soon! Wind generation is also growing and very evident. Food is expensive, especially in restaurants, and taxes are high especially on Fuel. Significant tax incentives are in place, and Tesla is doing very well here supplying electric cars….. and there are some local versions too!
We are currently working our way to Oslo, about 350 miles from Stavanger along the southern coast. Much less rain, and able to run inside the barrier islands most of the way with small towns and summer cottages it is very scenic although less stunning than the fjords.
Fair Winds & Following Seas,
Don & Nancy