Norway [legacy]

Note: as this is a legacy page, we are no longer checking the links periodically. The information and links (if they still work) are here for interest only.

As Maringret carried on from her Baltic voyage of 2000 we decided to continue keeping notes which might be of use to others contemplating the same route or part of it. This was continued in 2002 as we set off after wintering in Trondheim and cruised up to 70 degrees before turning south.

Having wintered in Malmö, we continued up the west coast of Sweden to Norway. We didn’t get away until the second half of July due to all the work we did on Maringret which is detailed elsewhere on this website. As a consequence we decided to procede directly to Norway, initially Oslo where we had to get charts and tend to other necessary details. This means that we have no real notes on the western archipelago of Sweden or the eastern side of the Oslofjord. Any one planning a passage up the Oslofjord should take note of the distance up of approximately 60 miles, we got no wind and this is a long way to motor in the blazing sun. One secondhand piece of information is the harbour of Strömstad across the Swedish border from Norway serves as the nearest foreign port for cheap liquor for Norwegians and apparently is not worth stopping in unless one is looking for cheap drink and the behaviour such a situation attracts in Scandinavians.

Being outside the EU Norway has slightly different laws but seems to be attempting to harmonise some of its legal system with the EU, presumably in the interests of trade.

  • Customs and Immigration Formalities
    Norway does not require departure papers for yachts coming from the EU. In fact there are no exiting papers to get if you are coming from Sweden. We were told by the Customs Office in Bergen that no paperwork is required upon arrival for EU yachts and that there is no time limit for the yacht remaining in Norwegian waters. Although this is what was explained to us but is not necessarily correct and any yacht proceding to Norway should verify the situation for themselves. It seems that non-Scandinavian passports get 90 days stay without a visa every 180 days, EU passports apparently do not have any limit for staying within the country. One area of law that is not harmonised with the EU is that of liquor and tobacco. Like the rest of Scandinavia, the government runs an alcohol monopoly (Vinmonopolet) and taxes both alcohol and tobacco heavily. Further information regarding limits permitted to enter the country may be found at the Norwegian Customs website.
  • Money Matters
    We used a combination of travelers cheques, banking machines and charge cards. They all seemed to work interchangeably. One point to note is that you often need to carry more cash in order to tide over areas where there are no banks or banking machines.
  • Buoyage
    Norwegian bouyage is rather idiosyncratic and is comprised of three different types of markings: “perchs” which are poles in the water, often with a top marking indicating the safe side of the underlying hazard; “båkes” which are tripod-based markers similar to “perchs”, often with top markings; and “vardes” which are cairn-like rock piles called, these will sometimes have a top mark indicating the safe side. Vardes are some of the oldest navigational markings still in use. All three bouyage types are sometimes impossible to see against a rock island as they offer no contrast against the background. In sillouette they work quite well and are well marked on the charts. Lateral boys are quite common although often they are simply a pole or top light which you must get close enough to distinguish the colour of. Cardinals are used but most often do not have top marks which makes them extremely difficult to distinguish when seen in sillouette. Our experience was that the bouyage improved going from the south to the north but perhaps this was more a case of us getting used to the Norwegian system. With the exception of a few outer coastl light houses, all Norwegian sectored lights are of the same type of white octagonal light building with a red roof, about 2 meters high and 1 meter in diameter. They are mounted on cliffs, on rocks, sometimes on vardes, and one poles or pillars. They are always easily visible with their contrasting colours. Leading lights are used for some areas but each one seems to be different. As is the case most other places, the bouyage is much better around commercial shipping centers. During the long hours of daylight most lights are nonoperational. The charts also list transit lines based on a mountain and a rock in the water, we found these very hard to place as making sure you are using the correct rock and mountain is difficult.
  • Marinas
    Pleasure boating is a minor activity in Norway and what recreational boating exists is mainly power boats, sailing yachts are certainly the exception rather than the rule. Consequently marinas, where they exist, are oriented towards shallow draft power boats (see the note on this page regarding “småbåthamn” designation on the charts). This seems to be slowly changing with deep draft pontoons being installed in quite a few places where cruising yachts go. Not all yacht harbours have visitor pontoons, and often, although there is a list of visitor charges and fees, all pontoons are locked from shore access. This leaves the question of how one is to get ashore to either see the local town or access the marina services which are charged for. It seems that the concept of visitor is more towards boats from neighbouring towns who know who to phone ahead to in order to arrange a key to the pontoon gates. In the case of yacht harbours with visitor pontoons, these are usually heavily subscribed by visiting fishing boats which do not seem to pay fees anywhere in Norway. It is quite frustrating to arrive at harbour after harbour and find the visitor facilities fully occupied by unpaying fishing boats, boats that seem to sit there endlessly rather than refuel and go back out fishing. In most cases if you go onto the end of a pontoon and are thereby prevented from going ashore to either visit the town or utilise the facilities, the club will still insist on charging you the full amount which raises the obvious question of what exactly you are paying for. Rafting up to the fishing boats is really leaving your yacht at a great risk as the fishermen have no time for yachts and come and go at all hours as their moods dictate. With the coast being so fjord-riven anchoring is almost never an option due to the extremely steep fall away from the shoreline. There are anchorages available and usually they are marked on the charts or also in the “Norske Los” pilot books. Almost always the electricity available on pontoons will be using the same electrical connectors as shore supplies.
  • Diesel Fuel
    One of the true mysteries of Norway. As a country that is self sufficient in petroleum supplies, Norway has what must be the most inconsistent system of fuel pricing. Proximity to supply or production centers seems to have no bearing on the price charged. We found prices ranging from less than 2 kroner per liter to over 10 kroner so we have tried to indicate where we found fuel and at what prices. We had no luck trying to get diesel through fishing boats but the commercial suppliers (as opposed to retail suppliers) seemed to be quite open to selling to us. With a variation of 400% in price it is well worth seeking out the lower fuel prices as the distances are large and the wind not dependable.
  • Weather Forecasts
    We depended on the normal radio broadcasts primarily. Our Navtex receiver found little to display. The Norwegian Meteorological Office has a good web site atwww.met.no (some of which is in English), we would check this out from libraries which most often had internet access, some had printers, some not. The Norwegian weather is well known for changing quickly and dramatically, it seemed to us that all winter 5-day forecasts would predict “gale” for the end of the forecast period while all summer 5-day forecasts would predict “breeze” for the end of the forecast period. All weather forecasts we know of were in Norwegian and it is worth noting that the detailed broadcasts which include the 5 day forecasts are not given on the weekend or holidays. The main broadcasts while we were in Norway were 06:00, 18:00, and 22:00 (all in Norwegian) on the following frequencies:
Kvitsøy 1314 kHz (Stavanger)
Vigra 630 kHz (Ålesund)
Bodø 675 kHz (near Lofoten)
Vadsø 702kHz  (near Russian border)

Overview

Much of the Norwegian coast is dominated by fjords. This means that bottoms are extremely deep (sometime over 500 meters) and the shore drops away extremely quickly. This means that although there are anchoring locations (usually marked on the charts) these are the exception rather than the rule.

With a few exceptions where yachts are forced to enter the open ocean, the Norwegian coast has an inner passage. This is a mixed blessing in the sense that although it blocks swell coming in from the open Atlantic, the islands forming it tend to kill any wind. As the islands, rocks and skerries extend far out to see, simply going outside for a passage are not that easy – often one must get up to 50 miles off shore in order to bee absolutely free of obstructions. The islands that form the inner passage also shape the wind so that as the inner passage turns and twists the winds do likewise. Our experience was that we motored or motor sailed over 95% of the time. In 2002 we did not even raise the mainsail until we crossed to the Shetlands. The winds seem to be either gale force or breeze most of the time. We were told by some Norwegians that the early and late segments of the summer bring the best weather with the middle often being rainy and overcast. This worked for us but we are not sure if this was simply luck or not.

2001

Oslofjord

Oslo N 059° 54.5′ E 010° 42′ Chart Båtsportkart A

As mentioned previously, the Oslofjord is a long distance. We arrived late and moored at the Koningen marina which we subsequently found out does not take visitors (although the Armitage book claims they do). From what we could find out it has pay toilets (5 kroner) but no showers. We then moved over to the Droningen marina which is directly across the water from the Koningen marina and has limited places for visitors. Droningen is very quiet, has good facilities and security and is adjacent to the harbour ferry which connects the major sites of Oslo. We paid 100 kroner per night for very good and quiet facilities. Friends were staying in the Akers Brygge yacht facility (which the Armitage guidebook describes as “who cares what it costs”), for Maringret we would have paid 310 kroner, the marina was full of partiers, noisy and had no security.

There is much to see in Oslo and the Oslo Card which covers admissions and transit is highly recommended. The card is available in different lengths of validity and certainly pays for itself.

South Coast

The south coast seems to be the destination of choice for Norwegian tourists. We found that facilities were overloaded and crowded. 1001 little power boats fill the water ways and seem to disregard anything else with their wakes and trying to get through narrow passage before any one else. More than once we saw row boats almost capsized by this total disregard. As a sailing boat we found we were a “fish out of water” on the south coast. Perhaps in the off season it is different but during the holiday months there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of reason for being there.

Staveren N 059° 00′ E 010° 02′ Chart Båtsportkart C

A trendy touristy little town where the electricity, garbage and even water are locked but you still pay 110 kr to stay on the quay until the fisherman kick you out. Supposedly the marina proper is even more expensive.

Kristiansand N 058° 08.5′ E 008° 00′ Chart Båtsportkart D

Award wining marina as the most expensive in Norway at 180 kr per night and then 30 kr per shower. A disco is nearby which goes late into the night but there is no extra charge for that. Signs were posted for tax free diesel at 3.99 kr per litre in volumes over 900 litres. Under 900 litres the price went up to 4.20 which was still much better than other ports which were selling at about 5.20 (5.80 in Oslo). We didn’t buy any so can’t say if the signs weren’t out of date.

West Coast: Lindesnes-Sognafjord

Starting after Lindesnes, we found the West Coast to be substantially different from the south coast. There are many fewer boats, resources are not as overloaded and there is much more to see. Many harbours operate on a an honour basis, some are even free of charge for full services in contrast to the south which seemed to be trying to determine how much it could (over) charge for its facilities.

Rekefjord N E Chart Båtsportkart E

A lovely little village with its own mine, very sheltered from the west coast weather.

Tananger N 058° 56′ E 005° 35′ Chart Båtsportkart E

A dispersed but manageable harbour which has a fishing fleet, service vessels for the oil rigs (ocean going tugs, ocean cranes etc.) and places for visiting yachts. Services (toilets, shower, some electricity) are free of charge for stays of up to 3 nights. Internet is available in the cafe under the library. The NE wharves seem to be dedicated to fishing vessels unlike what the Armitage guide books say. Both a Kiwi and a Rama grocery stores are 10 minutes walk away. Stavanger airport with international connections is close by.

Jorpeland N E Chart Båtsportkart G

The main reason for going to Jorpeland is to take the hike up to Pulpit Rock (www.preikestolhytta.no). A local marina has a pontoon to tie up to, no facilities other than water are available, there is food post office etc. in the town. The bus to the trailhead takes 10 minutes and then the hike to gain 400 meters takes between 1.5 and 2 hours each way. The reward is a spectacular view of Lysefjord.

Kopervik N 059° 17′ E 005° 19′ Chart Båtsportkart H

On the island of Karmøy, Kupravik is a regional centre with fishing and some industry (such as the large aluminum smelter). The Shell fuel station in the northern harbour sells diesel for 4.04 per litre. A major festival was on in Haugesund with over 600 visiting boats according to the local paper. Kuprvik is connected to Haugeland by bus service.

Stora Knappen N E Chart Båtsportkart ?

A small concrete quay (also space to anchor) on a nature preserve, no facilities excepting a dry toilet.

Bergen N 060° 00′ E 005° 19′ Chart Båtsportkart M

Norway’s second largest city is not overly yacht friendly. When we visited it was unclear whether guest places were available at the Bergen Sailing Club south of the city as it seemed they had reorganised their berthing arrangements and policies. Also we did not find out what the transportation arrangements would have been for someone staying there. Consequently we stayed in the central guest harbour which is both noisy and bouncy as the high speed ferries roar in and out. Everyone ties up against large truck tires so take your fender boards with you! Moorage fees are to be paid through an automated machine which accepts Visa cards only. No prices were given on the machine although the Tourist Information thought the fees were 75 kroner per night (extra for electricity). Water and garbage disposal are available on the quay. Showers, toilets and clothes washing facilities are in the building containing all the bars at the base of the mooring quay. The facilities are upstairs through the a door facing the street and are operated by a card key which one gets from the Tourist Information office for a deposit of 100 kroner of which 80 will be refunded. Showers are then 10 kroner, washing machines 20 kroner. Chandleries are located on the waterfront street to the south of the harbour, with 5 or 6 between the harbour and the public park on the end of the point. Behind the town library is a shopping centre which has a Clas Ohlson (the Swedish discount hardware store with some marine items) and 5 minutes away a large Co-op food store which semed to have the best food prices.

Sognefjord

As Norway’s longest fjord, Sognefjord had multiple different arms and numerous villages along its shores.

Aurlandsvangen N E Chart 252

Within site of Flåm which is a popular cruise ship destination. It seemed to us that the scenery didn’t quite match up with the aerial views which appear on so many Norwegian calendars. There is a railway which has a very steep grade leaving from Flåm but we did not take this. We tied up on the public quay, a food store, post office is available. There is a small boat harbour but no indication that it was deep enough to accept sailing boats.

Gudvangen N 060° 53′ E 006° 51.5′ Chart 252

A small village (12 houses) with a quay and potoons, there was sufficient depth on the end of the quay. A service station has essential foodstuffs and also agricultural diesel which was priced at 5.11 kroner/litre (i.e. more expensive than marine diesel in many places). There are a number of tourist and ferry boats coming and going.

West Coast: Sognefjord-Trondheim

Bringsinghaug, Kvamsöy Island N E Chart

A mole surrounding pontoons, water is available, no other facilities. A Coop food store is nearby.

Ålesund N 062° 28′ E 006° 09′ Chart Båtsportkart Q

A very frequent arrival and departure point for yachts transiting the Atlantic or crossing to Scotland, Shetlands, Iceland etc. A visitor’s pontoon is located in the picturesque inner portion of the main harbour past where the ferry and catamaran terminal is. Electricity, showers, laundry, toilets. 70 kroner per night with 5 kroner showers and a 20 kroner fee for a key to the shower block (which is located at the innermost end of the quay under a kiosk and next to the road bridge). Fuel is available at 4.4 kroner per litre. This harbour can get very busy and noisy during good weather.

Brekstad N 063° 41′ E 009° 40′ Chart 43

Opposite the mouth of Trondheimfjord, pontoons availble, quite a bit of wash from catamaran ferries. Not sure of facilities or charges.

Trondheim N 063° 26′ E 010° 22.5′ Chart 39

Located 30 miles inland on the rather large Trondheimfjord. Tronheim lies just slightly north of where the Båtsportkarts finish north of Kristiansund so the only option for charts is the normnal marine charts. Trondheim visitor berths are operated by the Trondheim Havn with visitor berths in three locations: Skansen which is directly available from the fjord on the southern side of the harbour (fuel & water), Nidelva pontoon which is available via the northern entrance and which requires the opening of Nidelva bridge. Finally there is Fosenkaia which is on a canal joining Skansen with the Nidelva pontoon although access is only available via the lifting “Skansen Bru” railway bridge at Skansen marina. Fuel at 4.6 kr is available from the fuel dock at Skansen, the machine is card operated but only accepts Norwegian cards. So you have to wait for a Norwegian boat to fuel and pay them cash for the fuel they can put onto their credit card (it took us 6 hours of waiting). The club house for the Trondheim Sailing Club (www.____) is located at Skansen, Wednesday is racing night and extra crew are often welcome. A services block with toilets, showers and laundry is located next to the Radisson SAS Hotel which is near the Nidelva visitor pontoon. A card key is required (100 kroner deposit of which 80 is returned). Nightly charges are 80 kroner, 10 kroner per shower and laundry.

Trondheimfjord

Once we were esconced for the winter at Fosenkaia Trondhiem, we took sorties to most points on the Trondheimfjord.

Tatra N E Chart 130

12 bouys on the east side of Tautra island, 12 miles north of Trondheim on the east side of Trondheimfjord. No facilities other than a clubhouse for the Trondheim Sailing Club who placed the bouys.

Børsa N E Chart 39

A small village on the southeast arm of Trondheimfjord. A mole and set of pontoons, no facilites, only the pontoon ends are deep enough for sailing vessels with keels. A local food store is 10 minutes walk away.

Kjerknessvågen N E Chart 131

A small village on the south coast of Beitstadfjord (northern half of Trondheimfjord). Fuel, food store, seasonal restaurant, haul out slip. A mole enclosing pontoons, showers, toilets.

Steinkjer N E Chart 131

A town of the eastern end of Beitstadfjord. Floating pontoons, the centremost being the guest pontoon (the other pontoons are keyed access). Water, fuel (by arrangement), food stores 25 minute walk into town. A train station and most other services are available in Steinkjer.

Beitstad N E Chart 131

A small village on the eastern end of the Hjellebonten (north arm of the Beitstadfjord). Foating pontoon, no facilities. A local food store, post office is 20 minutes walk away in the village.

Trondheim as a Wintering Location

Maringret spent the winter on the visitor pontoons at Fosenkaia outside the Central Train Station in Trondheim (perfect location for crew changes). Power and water are available, although the water is disconnected from late November until early April due to the risk of freezing. The winter rates are very reasonable, contact Roar Johnson in theHavn Vakt office (73 99 17 10 in Trondheim or havnevakt@trondheim.havn.no) for further details. The pontoons lie in what is primarily fresh water as the canal is off the Nide River and although this water is cold it never freezes. The location is well sheltered and very centrally located with all services and the town centre within a few minutes walk and as a wintering site proved very good. A french and American boat wintered alongside Maringret and also had no problems.

Having the most northerly cathedral in the world, Trondheim has been a pilgrimage site for over a 1,000 thousand years and in 1997 the city celebrated it millennium. As the point of departure for the Vikings and the forebears of Leif Eriksson the city has always looked to the sea and during the Viking era was the bishopric responsible for both Iceland and Greenland. A website for visitors is available.

Trondheim has a university with approximately 25,000 students which tends to make this city of 200,000 slightly more youthful. Libraries privileges may be requested at both the NTNU university library as well as the Trondheim Folkebibliotek (city library). Both libraries have internet access available, the university library subscribes to about 20 foreign papers while the city library subscribes to another 10. Of special note is the university’s Marine Faculty library which is located overlooking the town by the telecommunication tower with the restaurant which is easily visible from anywhere in Trondheim. This library has sailing magazines, all the charts for the Norwegian coast and a library full of marine publications. The Trondheim Film Club runs an excellent program of movies for 30 NOK through the winter months, showing about 8 movies per week at two locations. There is also a symphony hall, night clubs and a major swimming centre on the shores of the fjord.

The Trondheim airport has a few international flights but most connections are made via Oslo. The airport is located 34 km north of Trondheim at Hell (and yes they do sell postcards “Greetings From Hell” although we did not notice any other souvenirs). There is frequent bus and train service connecting the airport to the city.

The largest food store that is accesible on foot is the “Obs!” store on Håkan VII which is on the north side of town leading out of town, the visitor center can provide a complimentary map to walk from the town centre (about 25 minutes). The AGA gas filling plant is just past the Obs! store, they had no problem in refilling our British gas canister with propane. Apparently the Calor Gas fittings (we had the blue propane canisters) are the same as the German gas fittings. As a lot of German tourists visit Norway there was no problem matching the fitting at the AGA filling station. They told us there were no stations to the northwards that would fill bottles, all outlets to the north simply exchanged full for empty, which meant this was the last point for us to fill all our non-Norwegian bottles.

Many services for boats are here and we completed various projects in wood and metal while there. One missing thing in Trondheim is a place to easily lift out. There is a chandlery just off the canal on Fjordgatan which is a Yanmar dealer and a member of the Swedish Watski chandlery chain, they carry quite a large amount of stock as well as being able to order most other things. There is also a Clas Ohlson hardware store is located in the Solsidan shopping centre (across the Nide river from the Radisson SAS hotel where the visitor showers and laundry facilities are located).

The winter weather seems to alternate between northerly and south-westerly. The sou’westers bring in warm and wet gales and storms although these are somewhat moderated by the 30 miles of fjord from the open water. Then the northerly high will come back bringing cold and sunny weather. Being slightly south of the Arctic Circle the sun never totally disappears although often it is obscured by heavy gray cloud or during the high is cut off at about 14:00 as it dips behind the hills surrounding Trondheim on the south side.

2002

After a frantic couple of weeks addressing boat projects we had deferred during the whole winter, we set off north from Trondheimfjord, continuing our northward route from the previous season. Within 2 weeks although not quite into the midnight sun we were experiencing 24 hours of daylight, this influenced the distances we undertook. The coastal scenery which had been with us since the Swedish border changes soon after Trondheimfjord with the mountains becoming more dramatic and the forests less prominant. One consequence of travelling early in the season is that these northerly mountains are still capped with their winter snow. When we returned southward 3 weeks later the amount of snow that had melted was quite noticeable.

Uthaug N 063° 44′ E 009° 35′ Chart 43

A small village on the same island as a NATO airbase, we were able to go alongside a pontoon, showers and toilets in the club house, open when we were there but we were not sure of the official hours or charges.

Rørvik N 064° 52′ E 011° 14′ Chart 48

A marina within the harbour, toilets and showers within the club house, not sure of the official hours or charges.

Brønøysund N 065° 28′ E 012° 12′ Chart 53

There is a visitor pontoon on the east side of the fairway, just short of where the Hurtigruten stops. The posted charges there are 80 kroner per night. However it seems that the harbour commission feels that there is no need to provide any services for that. We were there on a Saturday night and were told to wait until the Monday to use the toilets etc. as it was the weekend and “of course they were closed”. Two other boats we talked to also had problems with this port, one was even quoted a nightly price of 100 kroner with no services. They eventually bargained for 100 kroner for 3 nights with electricity. We decided to move across the harbour to a anchorage which was good for southerly winds.

Kvarøy N E Chart ??

A small fishing village, 30 kroner without services. The pontoons are brand new as of 2001. As no cars are on the island (but watch out for the farm tractors that serve all roles including taxi) it is a nice island to walk around and explore.

Nordfjorden N 066° 36′ E 013° 32′ Chart ??

An anchorage halfway up the Nordfjord off of Melfjord. We found two buoys there which seemed very secure. It’s about 5 miles to the end of the fjord where there is a view of the Svartise Glacier. One list we read listed this as the most impressive anchorage they had found in Norway, we’re not so sure but it is secluded. A couple of ruins of old houses are on the shore to explore – how the inhabitants had made a living in this area is a total mystery.

Bodø N 067° 17′ E 013° 23′ Chart 65

First 24 hours is free of charge and includes electricity, 100 kroner afterwards (with electricity). Showers 40 kroner per person, laundry 90 kroner. Most services expected of a small town are available here as well as an airport and the northern railway terminus.

Landegode Island N 067° 17′ E 013° 23′ Chart 65

To the west of Bodø, there are two locations, a southern anchorage with buoys and pontoons which we used, there is also an anchorage to the north which friends used and thought highly of.

Reine N 067° 56′ E 013° 05′ Chart 72

The Moskenesøy Kommune was installing visitor pontoons in 2002, the posted charges were 50 kroner up to 35 feet and 200 kroner above. Electricity, water and diesel were being made available on the new pontoons, pay toilets were located in the parking lot above the pontoons. It seemed that there was more development underway but we were not sure of this. This harbour is considered the most scenic by the Norwegians. Hamnøy is a separate village located at the other end of the natural harbour. If you have any type of clear weather at all consider taking the trail up to the top of Reinebringen (615m) which takes about 90 minutes up and rewards you with phenomenal views of Reines, the Lofoten chain and the mainland mountains. The starting point is on the E6 road south of Reine, about 15 minutes walk, on the old roadway which the new tunnel has replaced. Three food stores, post office, two banks and internet available through the library.

Hamnøy N 067° 57′ E 013° 08′ Chart 72

Moskenesøy Kommune installed visitor pontoons as per Reines, no services on pontoons however.

Sørvågen N 068° ?? E 013° ?? Chart 72

South of Reines on the way to Å (which is the literal end of the road), same pontoons and charges as Reines except diesel is not available on the pontoons. Two food stores and post office.

Ballstad N 068° 04.5′ E 013° 32′ Chart 72

Ballstad is a large fishing centre with a boatyard and numerous chandleries. A store and bank (open twice a week) are located adjacent to the boat yard. Pontoons are located on the other side of the harbour where there is a yacht marina.

Lødingen N 068° 25′ E 016° 00′ Chart 69

The yacht harbour for Lødingen is marked as 2 meters on the charts, listed as 1.9 meters in Den Norske Los and as 1.5-1.7 meters by Armitage. Partially alleviating this concern is a new visitor pontoon which has been placed outside the harbour in 6 meters of water. Once the entrance to the charted harbour has been located the visitor pontoon will be visible to the north, it has electricity but no other facilities and is very open to swell and weather.

Narvik N 068° 26′ E 017° 25′ Chart 230

A yacht marina with depth 2.1 meters is located at Ankenes, SE from Narvik. The visitor berth is on the pontoon next to the boat ramp although a local tour boat had taken over the deeper side of this when we stayed there, we moored onto the end of one of the pontoons. Keys to the facilities must be located from a member, these include diesel, water, electricity, showers (15 kroner) and laundry (15 kroner) with the overnight charge being 30 kroner. A 10 tonne boat lift is also available. Between 2 and 4 busses an hour connect Ankenes with Narvik for 22 kroner one way fare (a5 minutes on the bus). Food stores and a village are 15 minutes walk away. There is also a “småbåthavn” on the north side of the city but its shallow depth ( 1 meter at the pontoons) restricts who may use it. Although Narvik is a town it has little beyond what some of the local centres offer in terms of services. The local war museum has a lot of information on the various battles for Narvik during the second world war although the exhibit numbering sequence is so jumbled that it seems more of a treasure hunt to find the next exhibit listed in the translated guides.

Finnsnes N 069° 14′ E 017° 59′ Chart 83

Finnsnes has a very well sheltered marina with a flotaing pontoon for visitors (although it is likely to be filled with fishing boats), 60 kroner per night (possibly electricity is included in this). No services except water on the pontoon. A food store and chandlery are under the bridge and through the fish net plant, there is also diesel fuel available on a pontoon in front of the chandlery. The town proper is 20 minutes walk away and has all services.

Tromsø N 069° 39′ E 018° 57′ Chart 87

The island city of Tromsø has all services, the guest pontoon is located in the main harbour slightly north of where the Hurtigruten stops and just before the bridge. 100 kroner per night including electricity and water. Showers are available at 20 kroner and 30 kroner per washing machine or dryer load by depositing 50 kroner with the hotel above the pontoons for a card key, settle up when you reclaim your deposit. The bunker fuel depot is located immediately after the bridge as you move north. Due to proximity of bars on the waters edge things can get very noisy until very late in the night.

Karlsøy N 070° 00′ E 019° 52′ Chart 91

Formerly a regional centre when all movement was by water, this island has a ferry terminal which one can tie up to although the wash and tides must be reconned with. We were able to utilise an unused mooring bouy. There is a post office and food store open 3 hours per day on weekdays and apparently a pub also.

Risøyhamn N 068° 58′ E 015° 39′ Chart 78, 79

Single pontoon, electricity, water. Store in village.

Hennes N 068° 32′ E 015° 14′ Chart 76

A small harbour with 2 pontoons as marked on the chart, water and electricity, 30 kroner per night, a local cafe and store. In 2002 there was no public pontoon, only the two belonging to the local boat club. The hike to the top of Møysalen (at 1266m the highest point in the Lofoten) mentioned in Armitage is seasonal and does not open until the later part of the summer due to snow at higher levels). We were told that the trail starts at the “end” of the fjord where a local tourist boat company moves a pontoon in late June each year. The time up and down is about 9 hours with the views covering the whole of the Lofoten on a clear day.

Husøy, Träna N 066° 30′ E 012° 06′ Chart 61

Single pontoon, water. Store, bank, post office in village. Also a pub immediately above the pontoon which is open 2 or 3 nights a week.

Sanna, Träna N 066° 30′ E 012° 06′ Chart 61

Single pontoon. There is a floating pontoon which is not marked as anything except the “rutbåt” which seems to be monopolised by the military boats, Armitage lists this as for the exclusive use of the military. The remaining quay is very small and rafting up will be required, the quay is also very shallow and the military boats generate a lot of swell. Short walks to a tunnel to the top of the local mountain and to the bronze age caves are easily accesible.

Lovund N 066° 22′ E 012° 22′ Chart 59

More than one floating pontoon in Lovund, we stayed outside the Lovund Coastal Culture Centre (Kyskultur-senteret på Lovund), immediately north west of the ferry terminal, no services and quite open to swell from passing ships.

“Småbåt”

Based on our experience, the term “småbåt” is used to refer to the ubiquitous double-ender power boats which out-number all other boats in Norway. As their draft is usually 0.5 meters the designation “småbåthamn” usually is irrelevant to yachts which require more draft. As a side note in reading our harbour descriptions, Maringret’s draft is 1.55 meters.

Place Names and Spelling

Norway is “overhauling” its language and changing both its alphabet and the spelling of many place names. Even the most recent charts will have both new and old spellings although each chart will usually be either all old or all new. When moving between charts or from the chart to either Norske Los or another printed reference you will have to match up the different names with each other.

Prices

All Norwegian prices are very high. Yachts planning to spend time there should evaluate these prices against their budgets. During our period there we found no items that were cheaper inside Norway than outside – and this includs locally produced products such as fuel and fish. We carried in all engine spares, service materials such as filters and oil, food and beverages, trying to limit our local purchasing to perishables, fuel and moorage. Cities such as Trondheim, Oslo and Narvik that are close to the Swedish border offer the opportunity to do bulk provisioning in Sweden at lower prices. This should be investigated as that is where all the local Norwegians will shop. Norwegian charts are also very expensive and if charts may be borrowed or traded for this is much preferable.

Approaches and Crossings

If we were visiting Norway again, we would probably cross from the Shetlands to Ålesund and concentrate on the northern portion of the coast. Oslo and Bergen both have much to offer and are beautiful cities but the sheer length of the coast joining them tends to influence the routing decision. And the south coast of Norway, especially in tourist season is packed and vastly over priced – best avoided in our opinion.

From Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain or Ireland we would cross to Lerwick on the Shetlands and then from there to either Bergen (24 hours), Ålesund (about 60 hours), or directly to a Lofoten landfall such as Røst or Reine (5 days or more). For those exiting the Baltic area as we did, Oslo is worth visiting and if we were to repeat our route we would visit Oslo and then after exiting the fjord we would cross to Skagen Denmark and then cross to Lerwick.

We used Norwegian BåtsportKart (Sport Boat Charts) which are small format cut-ups of the large marine charts. When we did the calculations the price was comparable between buying the two different formats, the regular marine charts coming out about 5% more expensive. These small format charts cover up to just south of Trondhiem. We also purchased some volumes of the Den Norske Los (The Norwegian Pilot). There are 7 volumes: volume 1 covers weather and other practicalities relevant to cruising the Norwegian coast, then volumes 2 through 7 cover the coast from Oslo in volume 2 through to Svalbard (Spitsbergen) in volume 7. Volumes 2 and 3 used to be subdivided into 2a, 2b, 3a and 3b and be bilingual between Norwegian and English. As of 2001 volumes 3a and 3b had been updated, combined into a single volume which is printed in Norwegian only. It is expected that volume 2 will be condensed into one volume and be printed in Norwegian only in the next few years. Marine charts, Sport Boat Charts and Den Norske Los are available from the Norwegian Charting Agency at www.statkart.no. All charts are metric with a few still being of the hand drawn style but these are being replaced by machine drawn ones as they are updated.

We had Ferie & Fritidshavner which is a trilingual (Norwegian, English, German) harbour and anchorage guide published by the Redningsselskapet (Sea Rescue Agency). This guide has most sites in Norway covered with a list of facilities and pictoral maps of the harbour details. Caveats are: that they only list sites on the coast proper, not any lying up the major fjords such as Sognafjord; no depths are given; no prices; are given; and the book is only available to members. We were able to trade with someone in order to get a copy. Contact details for are:

Redningsselskapet
Norsk Selskab til Skibbrudnes Redning,
Veritasveien 14, N-1322 Høvik
Tel: +47/67 57 77 77
Fax: +47/67 577750

We had the English language cruising guide “Norwegian Cruising Guide” by John Armitage and Mark Brackenbury. The book is really two books in one: the information covering Sognefjord and south was written by Brackenbury over 20 years ago while the information covering Sognefjord north to Spitsbergen is 10 years old and was written by John Armitage. Armitage maintains a website of corrections and updates to the printed version. It is unfortunate that more authors or publishers of pilot books do not follow this pactice. There is also a version of the guide in German (details are on the website). Unfortunatey the volume is getting quite dated as far as any specfics go, especially for the southern portion, but for persons unable to read Norwegian and Den Norske Los it will serve the purpose. The more recent part of the book which covers Sognafjord and north (i.e. the part written by Armitage) is both more recent and more detailed and although prices etc. are now out of date the information is of a better calibre.

While in the Lofoten we picked up “Lofoten og Vesterålen” which is a 32 page booklet in Norwegian, English, French and German published by Aune Forlag AS of Trondheim. It has pictures of many of the harbours in the Lofoten and suplements what ever other materials one has. It is on sale in most shops in the Lofoten as a tourist item.

A background publication we carried was “The Shetland Bus” by David Howarth, Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1951. This volume describes the program of Norwegian fishing boats, based in the Shetlands that ran the Nazi blockades through the war bringing out refugees and taking in agents and supplies for the Norwegian resistance. There are 20 monochrome plates of the boats, the men and some of the harbours, the volume certainly gives a background to cruising the area from Bergan north to the Arctic Circle. As their missions could only be carried out during the long and stormy winters when the absence of the sun made detection less likely, cruising the same area in the height of the summer with the midnight sun takes on a different characteristic. We found our first edition copy through the Advanced Book Exchange although the book has been re-printed in paperback and the re-print has additional pictures not in the original edition.

There are various books on Viking history and culture. We had a copy of “West Viking” by Farley Mowat as this books focuses on the westward exploration of the Vikings which was the Norwegian based vikings (the Danish Vikings went south to Great Britain and northern France while the Swedes went east into Russia and down to the Ukraine).

A website for visitor information is www.visitnorway.com.


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