It has been 10 days since we left Travemunde, Germany on the start of our 2018 voyage to the far north of Norway, and so far (touch wood, fingers crossed, etc) everything has gone without a hitch! It is not unusual during the first few weeks of a new season to find the off-season gremlins have gotten into one piece of equipment or another and caused things to not work as they are meant to - but this year everything is functioning 100%, with the exception of an annoying "singing" propellor - but more on that later.
In these first 10 days we have covered approximately 500nm (1,000km) which, whilst it does not sound like a lot, averages out at travelling about 6 hrs a day. This is a lot more than we normally like to do but we need to keep moving along to get to Stavanger in Norway to pick up our friends (and marine electrician - but that's a story for a later post) Mark and Sandra on the 25th of June. I am conscious of the last 90nm of the trip to Stavanger being very exposed to the weather and want to leave enough time to pick a weather window for the smoothest possible passage. Anyway, we're on track and by tomorrow afternoon will be in position, with a week to spare, poised to tackle that last stretch!
For the first 6 days after leaving Travemunde the weather was perfect - warm, clear and sunny, light breezes and flat seas. We made an overnight stop at the little town of Klintholme in Denmark on the first night and arrived in Copenhagen around midday the following day.
where we scored a nice berth, right near the centre of town and enjoyed two beautifully sunny and warm days seeing the sights.
Karen and I both very much enjoyed our visit to the royal palace Amalienborg, close to the heart of he city and only 5 minutes stroll from where we were berthed. We were astounded by the low key security and accessibility to what is the home of both the Queen and "Our Princess Mary" and interested to learn that the four identical buildings that make up the palace complex were originally built as the homes of four noblemen. In 1794, when the Christiansborg Palace burned down, the royal family were given one of the homes by the owner as a temporary residence. The royals never moved out and over time purchased the other three buildings that surround the central square.
I did ask the harbormaster to let Mary know that a fishing boat from her home town of Hobart was in port and that she was welcome to come and visit, but she never turned up. I suspect the harbour master never passed on our message!
After Copenhagen our next destination was Gothenburg, Sweden to pick up some SIM cards which our son Matt's Swedish partner Moa had arranged for us and much to our surprise to also "Meet the Parents"! We spent two nights before getting to Gothenburg anchored in Malo Bay to shelter from a NW gale which gave us the perfect opportunity to test the new awnings for our outdoor room - which passed the test with flying colours!
The next morning we motored into the visitors marina at Lilla Bommen, in the heart of Gothenburg and were treated by Moa's parents (who had amazingly driven 3 1/2 hours from where they live) to an excellent seafood dinner at the nearby Fiskekrogen restaurant.
We left Gothenburg on the 15th of June with a pretty loose schedule other than to get to Stavanger, some 300nm away in 10 days time to meet our friends Mark and Sandra. The landscape since leaving Gothenburg has been stunning with most of our travels being in beautifully sheltered water amongst thousands of islands scattered along the coasts of Sweden and Norway.
From what I understand it is going to be like this for the next 3 months with only the occasional short stretch of open ocean to endure - which we learned a few days later can nonetheless throw up some challenging surprises! There was a strong onshore wind blowing a day or two after leaving Gothenburg, but as our day's travel took us through well protected channels amongst the myriad islands on this part of the western Swedish coast, I was confident we would have a comfortable day's travel and not need to stow everything as we would normally do if we were going to sea. I was aware there was a short section - no more than 1 1/2 miles (so about 15 minutes) - where we were going to be exposed, but thought nothing of it. It is amazing how despite a lifetime of messing around in boats it is so easy to become complacent and overlook potential risks and hazards. Our 15 minutes of exposure turned into a s*#t fight the moment we poked out of the protection of the islands. Karen had just come up to the wheelhouse with her bowl of yogurt and juice for breakfast when we went from flat calm to a confused 3m beam-on sea in a matter of seconds and we were rolling wildly.
Our first reaction was "Shit, the hatch over our bunk is open!" - I grabbed hold of Karen's breakfast while she dashed below to secure the hatch. In the meantime I turned the boat into the seas and slowed to a crawl to try and steady things down but moments later a loud crashing sound from below signalled the fully laden freezer emptying it's drawers onto the floor because the door had not been secured. For those of you who have read our Kimberley story you will remember the fridge emptying whilst crossing 'Blown Apart Gulf' and me swearing it will never happen again - well, it wasn't the fridge but it's the same concept and it happened again! The good news is that everything is frozen so no mess. The bad news is three shattered freezer drawers, probably a superseded model so not replaceable, meaning a new freezer which does not exactly fit in the allocated space. Aaaaaargh!!
Now onto the issue of our "singing propellor".This is a phenomena which can occur with low revolution propellors (like ours at 300 RPM full bore) and has something to do with bubbles and harmonics and vortexes and blah, blah, blah.
I have had this problem once before, many years ago, and it has something to do with the profile of the the trailing edge of the propellor blades. If it is not quite "right" (whatever that is!) it sets off a highly annoying whining harmonic that goes right through the boat. Last time it happened it was simply a matter of sanding off the anti-fouling paint on the the edge of the prop so I was hopeful that a dive with some emery cloth would solve the problem. Well that has not worked so I am now waiting for the clever German engineers who re-profiled my propellor blades to come up with a solution. In the meantime we will just sing along!
Right now (20:00hrs Local 18.06.18) we are in a gloriously sheltered anchorage on an inshore passage named Blindleia where "Much of Norway's financial elites will be found in the summer months" (we're early - no one here now!) and over the course of the next week will make our way to Stavanger.
Until next time!