Finally a very classical trip for
summer holidays here, wandering along the Norwegian "rivieria", then
crossing to Sweden which remains the favorite playground of local
sailboats. No long navigations this time, but a multitude of tiny
anchorages all cuter than the previous ones.
For more beachy scandinavian pictures, let's visit our page "Pictures".
blows hard on that first day of holidays, we will get straight into the
swing of things... Whatever the sun shines, the boat is full of food,
we hoist up the jib and a main sail much reefed and head to the
South, beating against the wind of course.
The wind picks up
more and more, as well as the sea which is surprisingly high for being
in the end of the Oslo fjord. It definitively swings hard today !
quickly arrive in the small harbour of Vollen, which is well sheltered
from the southerly wind. So ok, we can still see the hills over Oslo from the harbour, but we left !
Bybye Killingen, this is holiday time !
16 July : Vollen – Drøbak (14 M)
Islands around Drøbak
day after, surprise! The wind and the sea have totally calmed down!
The boat slowly - very slowy- glides all sail up in between the
islands covered with pine trees...
Our objective today: position
ourselves South of the Drøbak straight where the wind funnels in and
where the current flowing towards the North becomes very strong in case
of southerly gale. We tack and tack slowly in between the islands, then
a bit less slowly as the wind comes back and speeds up in the narrow
arrive at the Oscaborg fortress, and have just a few miles left before Drøbak.
When having a closer look at the chart, we realise that the fjord is
almost entirely blocked by an artificial wall hardly 1m under the water!! The
fortress is well protected... There are only 2 very narrow channels,
well marked with red and green beacons.
Once on the other side
of the wall, it's just straight to the guest harbour of Drøbak, a
charming sunny town, with flowery streets and delicious ice creams!
The beautiful flowery streets of Drøbak
17 July : Drøbak - Vallø (31 M)
The danish-like shore around Tønsberg
day of the Southerly gale, we hope to progress as much as possible
toward the exit of the fjord but without being too exposed to the wind.
Finally we will have an extremely varying wind, from
2-reefs-3rd-reef-ready in the Drøbak fjord to genoa-all-main-sail from
time to time. The conditions in the fjord are always very instable and
the wind arrives in puffs...
After a few
hours manoeuvering, that's it, we can see the open sea on the horizon!
But it will be for tomorrow, for now we turn right and enter Vallø,
right by Tønsberg.
Short walk along the fjord to finish the day.
Surprisingly the shore is very flat, scattered with reeds, shallow
beaches where small round rocks grow. It almost looks like Denmark!
it the gale is finally over and the conditions become manageable
outside of the fjord. Even extremely manageable. Even rather calm. Even
take advantage of them to sneak in between the granite islands in the
South-West of the Oslo fjord, these archipelagos that are named «
» here, litteraly field of rocks. More wooded that in Sweden, they are
scattered with «hyttes», these wooden-cabins-holiday-houses that
the Norwegians love. The light is fantastic early in the morning on the
VRAOOOOOMMM ….. 9h30, the locals are awake and they rush to the islands
in their big power boats that go fast, smell bad and create waves...
But where are the sail boats ?? We feel a bit in minority here...
The crumbs of the Oslo fjord in its SW end
The conditions now allow us to hug the rocks!
arrive on the island called Ildverket where we moor along a small
wooden pontoon fixed directly on the granit. The water is crystal
clear, the small beach is full of sea snails, the island is very
beautiful with a breathtaking view over the entry of the fjord. But the
waves generated by our friends with big engines make the quay very
We just stay long enough for a short walk -
swim - lunch, just long enough to admire the good organization of the
natural park here: the "bin barge" comes to pick up the garbage while
the youngsters from the nearby village come to sell ice creams from
South-Westerly wind picks up again, let's head to the open sea ! We get
definitively outside of the Oslo fjord when we pass the famous
lighthouse of Færder, and head to the West. Towards the Larvik fjord
and its small islands. We have picked the island of Malmøy and its
anchorage place hidden in a perfectly round bay. We reach it in the
sunset light, the anchor falls on the ground and Laure can finally jump
in the water to have a Saltimbanque special shower. Not bad...
The famous Færder lighthouse, at the opening of the Oslo fjord
First anchorage of the holidays !
19 July : Malmøy - Portør (32 M)
day, program "exploration of the Norwegian waters". The wind very
kindly turns to the South-South-East before falling down and we can
progress under asymetrical spinneaker for the entire morning. The the
engine replaces the spi as the wind gives its last breath at noon.
mind, we soon enter the rocky maze (Skjærgård if you are following
well) of Kragerø where the channels will soon be too narrow to sail
anyway. And indeed we are heading to a beautiful wooded island. But
where is the channel ?? In the island. In the island ??!! We get closer
and discover a tiny crack in the famous island, but with about 10m
depth and same in width, it's large enough for us !
experience is quite close to our kayaking trips, we have the feeling of
sailing in a mountain lake! On the port side pines, on starboard a high
cliff. But we are hardly a few miles from the open sea...
Saltimbanque sneaks in the maze of Kragerø
Laure has her special way to enjoy the anchorage
the night, we have spotted a complex of many big round rocks in Portør
where we would like to try a Baltic-style anchorage, an anchor on the
stern and a mooring line from the bow to a small piton hammered on the
The place is well known, most of the best spots are busy.
We try various places during more than 1 hour: here there is not enough
water, there not enough room, here a side current which makes the
anchorage uncertain. Disappointed we head to the neighbouring bay and
anchor "på svai", which is a classical anchorage with the anchor on the
bow. Actually we have more freedom to shower in the cockpit!
early in the morning, we get out of the rocks by the South pass. And as
soon as we have a bit of free water, the spi is hoisted up! The wind
has veered to the East North East, direction that will not change for
the next 10 days.
Close to paradisiac navigation, wearing shorts
and T-shirts under sun and spi, mackerels bite on our line, and we have
over 1 knot of current with us. The mountains over Kragerø now make
room for a lower shore line which could make us think of our beloved
Brittany, far far away...
We leave the surfacing rock on our port, the pole on starboard, and we are out!
Baltic forest and anchorage
time for lunch and here we are, north of the island of Tromøya, where
we enter the Skjærgård (ah no, we are not translating any longer). The
wind funnels in the narrow channel in between the island and the
continent and we sail happily, pushed by the wind with only the genoa.
The channel is very - very - busy. It is bordered by many "hytte", then
actual houses, and finally a full shipyard ! We are the only ones under
sail power, good old feeling of driving a Peugeot 205 on the highway!
a bit early to arrive in the big city of Arendal, we have noticed on
the guide a small island with vertical rocks and pitons to try again a
Baltic-style anchorage. Victory, this time is the good one : Laure
drops the anchor on the stern and gives the strap holding it to
Camille, who slowly brings the boat close to the rock while controlling
the tension on the anchor strap. In the meanwhile, Laure has gone to
the bow and checks that the sea bottom doesn't get too shallow. 3m to
the rock, 2m, 1m, 50cm, hop, Laure has jumped onshore with the rope and
Camille, staring the echosounder, stops the boat by pulling on the
stern anchor. Perfect, full success !! One must be relaxed about
touching the sea bottom a bit though, we rarely have more than 10cm
under the keel at the critical moment of disembarking from the bow.
Controlling the speed is key.
we enjoy a small walk on the island and a coffee before continuing
towards Arendal. To our outmost surprise, the guest harbour is full,
mostly with big power boats (the model "Skagen", see our article from summer 2016). We try our luck in the old harbour of Pollen, and pick a spot alongside an old racing boat long and narrow like a cigar.
The weather will get worse and the wind blow hard during the night, we are ready for sleeping late...
Nice wooden boat in a regatta in the middle of the channel
21-22 July: Arendal - Hunnebostrand (109 M)
Nice weather on Arendal before departure...
planned, the weather is not great. And actually it is worse further
South: the Easterly wind is accelerated in between the Southern tip of
Norway and the North of Denmark. So we have decided not to sail further
along the Norwegian shore and rather cross directly to Sweden.
directly... the wind blows obstinately from the East, and we are going,
well right towards the East indeed... It's not going to be that direct
Icing on the cake, the visibility is rather limited
and the weather pretty wet. We get out of Arendal in between the rocks
of the Southern islands, then heading to the North-East, beating
against the wind. The gale is not that far away and we are sailing fast
with 2 reefs on the main and the jib. We even need to get the main sail
down temporarily as the wind seriously picks up under a cloud a bit
darker than the others.
the sporty conditions, our speed over the ground is desperatly slow...
the great current which hepled us so much the day before is still here,
and contrarily to our good old tide streams, it doesn't intend to
change direction soon ! We are then full speed over the surface... at
hardly 3 knots over the ground...
But as expected, the wind
finally drops a bit (veering even more right in our face, we can't have
it all...), we hoist all sails up and tack, now heading to Denmark. The
sky gets clearer and we can almost see stars during the 2 long hours of
darkness of this late July "night".
The sun rise is as beautiful and peaceful as this night offshore...
tack again in the morning. We haven't fully decided our final
destination: either we take the option "more miles for Saltimbanque"
and go to visit Göteborg, or we take the option "let's discover the
Swedish Skjærgård" and we land just north of Smögen that we already
visited last year.
Mode fine tuning the spi and drying out clothes
11am, the wind drops totally and we hesitate under engine power for a
few hours in between the 2 options. And the warm sun and South-Easterly
wind (yes coming from Göteborg indeed) make us decide for anchorages in
the Skjærgård. The wind picks up slowly from abeam and we jump the
asymetrical spi like never, our racing friends would be jealous:
halyard, tack and sheet and hop let's go ! Well, 10 minutes later the
wind refuses a lot and bah, we take the spi down...
Skjærgåd approaches, here there is no tree, only pink granite islands.
It's fantastic... And we have finally found out were all the norwegian
sail boats were hiding! These neighbours are less of a nuisance and we
zigzag peacefully in between these amazing round rocks until the port
So yes we love Norway, our residence country, but you can't deny that this Swedish coast really has something special...
chosen the option few-miles-many-anchorages, it's time to execute
the plan! Off we go sailing in the rocks. The wind is pretty strong
from the shore: we soon reach 6,5 knots, a bit ambitious for piloting
in the rocky maze, but what crazy sensations !!
few surfs "shaving the rocks" later, we enter in Glupö, an achorage
place which looks perfectly well sheltered from Easterly winds. First
observation: everyone had the same idea ! Second observation: not so
well sheltered the anchorage place !! No available rock, we drop the
anchor from the bow and enjoy a quick swim in uncomfortable gusts.
swims far away as usual, wearing her swimming glasses to watch the
numerous jellyfishes that share the sea with us this year. When back
onboard, she looks worried: "Tell me, is that a natural reserve here ?" "Eeerrr no, replies a perplexed Camille. Why that ?" "For this!" Laure replies, offloading the clams she harvested and cautiously bought back inside her bathing suit !! We didn't know what to cook for lunch!
View from the anchorage
Fjällbacka: the marina, the skjærgård, the sea...
Fjällbacka for the night, a very picturesque little port, but once
again... it is well known! The view from the top of the hill is
definitively worth the night in the marina and its exorbitant price
(350 SEK, that is close to 35 euros...)
24 July : Fjällbacka - Alevikkilen (23M)
wake up at dawn on that morning, we want to visit the small islands of
Väderöarna, 8NM offshore. Yes but the harbour is said to be the tiniest
possible, we then have to be the first there !
departure running with the wind, greeted by a small seal who happened
to be here. We sail way slowlier than the day before, which allows us
to fish and ensure enough mackerel for lunch. In these very fishy
waters, we always catch our lunch in less than 15 minutes when our
speed is compatible.
Beautiful Swedish rocks
Barbecue and a great achorage
in the archipelago under a rather grey sky, people on the jetty do
large gestures to organize the entrance into the minuscule harbour: it
is so narrow that even Saltimbanque can't U-turn inside. But it is
before all only for those who wants to spend the night inside, and we
prefer the other bay neighbouring the harbour. No choice we have to
anchor the Baltic way, wind from the back which is not very
comfortable: we are only holding on the stern anchor. Fortunately it's
only 2,5m deep an perfect sandy bottom, the anchor holds very well. We
are very proud of our nice manoeuvre :o) We satisfy our - recurrent -
fantasy of grilled mackerel on our barbecue in front of our boat
anchored on a rock !
archipelago is absolutely stunning, even with this grey sky the water
is turquoise-blue. The walk over the hills shows ancient carved
inscriptions on the granite, as well as the ruins of a tiny place of
worship. That's a memorable stopover!
Getting out of the
archipelago against the wind is way less funny, and will require all
the obstinacy of a well fit Junior to get us out of there. As soon as
we can bear away, we glide beating against the wind towards the North
and the next Skjærgård. How peaceful to sail silently in between the
Carved inscriptions and view over the harbour
Game: find the tropical fish and the camel head
channel becomes very narrow and we are totally sheltered from the wind.
Never mind we can finish with the engine. Rural option tonight: we head
to a fjord inland. The bare rocks slowly become wooded rocks, then
forests, and finally meadows. To find the bay, very simple: let the
cows on your port, the sheeps on starboard, and avoid the isolated
danger marked by its debonair heron.
Once in the bay itself,
it's incredibly quiet! We don't dare speaking and we whisper that it is
beautiful... Not a wrinkle on the surface, the reflections in the water
mirror show a kaleidoscope of fantastic animals...
direction the famous Koster islands, very touristic place. We have
noticed a harbour a bit more isolated than the others on the South
coast, and we leave once again at dawn hoping to arrive early enough to
find an available berth.
The navigation is just magical, early
in the morning on flat waters, silently sailing in between the pink
rocks... memorable. Once out of the Skjærgård, a short leg under
asymetrical spi brings us closer to the rocks south of the island. They
are home to numerous colonies of seals, cormorants, and for the first
time since we left the Channel... gannets :oD
Seals, cormorants and... THE gannet our favourite
Fishing cabins in Brevik's harbour
we enter in the rocky maze South of the islands. Sailing, then motoring
when it becomes too narrow and facing the wind. Last rock, and we are
reaching on a direct course to the small harbour. Miracle, a mast seems
to be on the move behind the jetty. The departure is soon confirmed as
the hull is getting out of the port: there is a free berth ! But behind
us the competition rushes too, at 5-6 knots under their powerful
engines... So we push a bit harder on Junior, and hoist all our sails
up to help. It's a tight race but we are first in! Haul down all sails
quickly, find the recently freed berth, plouf the stern anchor sinks
and hop the mooring lines in the bow are attached on the quay, VICTORY !
can then walk around the island. We don't know what to expect, the
place is rather posh, ultra known by the Norwegians who own a cabin
here when they don't come with their boat (we are close to being the
only "non-Norwegian" boat of the harbour...)
And finally we
really like the island. Stunning shore, rocks of course but also long
white sand beaches bordered with reeds. The shallow water is very
clear, with fantastic colours. There is no car on the islands which has
a holiday-feeling which reminds us Vendee in France from time to time.
Out of the 2 large marinas, indeed totally packed, the island is quite
and very pleasant.
Colours of Koster islands
get back to our spared port of Brevik far from the crowds. We are very
pleased we chose this harbour with dry toilets and without
infrastructures. The laid back atmosphere fits us well, especially with
such a nice sun set...
26 July : Brevik - Kuvauen (23M)
forecast hesitates between near gale or flat calm for the coming days,
and we start sailing up North not to be too far from Oslo is the bad
weather gets confirmed.
Departure against the wind, in between
the seal colonies. We also spot a porpoise, kind of small dolphin which
unfortunately doesn't come and play along the boats.
Saltimbanque crosses the Norwegian border
on the Norwegian border, materialized by a series of yellow buoys. We
have paid attention not to carry more alcohol than the allowed duty
free quota, as we are actually getting out of the European Union and
controls are said to be frequent.
Direction the island of
Vesterøy, and small crack in the rock open to the south-west but that
should be well sheltered from this Northerly wind. The entrance is a
bit narrow, but thanks to the application "gulesider.no" we have access
to all the numerical charts on our mobile phone, with the boat position
thanks to the GPS in the telephone. So it is indeed less elegant than
alignments, but it's damned efficient.
entering the anchorage place, we think we recognize a blue Oceanis 339
with a solar pannel in the back stay... a Norwegian... As soon as the
anchor hits the ground, we inflate the tender and approach them, to ask
a shy "weren't you in Cape Verde and Tobago a few years ago ?" ... and
they were there !!! This is LaVie, close to whom we were anchored in
Sal, Sao Nicolau and Tobago. After our routes separated and they tell
us their adventures in Cuba, New York, Newfoundland, Greenland and
Iceland around a drink in their cockpit like in good old times...
January 2012, LaVie anchored in Pirate Bay, Tobago
July 2017, LaVie anchored in Kuvauen, Norway... How unlikely...
between 2 social dinners we walk the rocky moors around. Fantastic
landscape again, of grey granite this time, and pines which manage to
grow in any small crack, like the "dune carnations" home. Except for a
few lost cabins and some little activity on the beaches, it's desert,
just the norwegian mineral nature.
Rock, dwarf pines, and a few anchored boats... a norwegian happiness
Sunset on Kuvauen
magical place, almost alone, 3 red fishermen cabins from the 19th
century add a touch of colour in this mineral universe. A great
27 July : Kuvauen - Seiløy (3M)
near-gale seems to stay away from us. We can then enjoy the beautiful
desert islands in the entrance of the Oslo fjord. Right now it's very
calm, and it rains...
Short navigation from the south to the
north of the island, Seiløy and it's maze of big rocks. Once again it's
narrow, but beautiful! We find a perfect spot on a nice round rock. The
weather is not the best, but we explore the place in the tender and try
fishing a bit.
Back onboard, the weather gets worse and the wind
turns around in the squalls. That's too much for our stern anchor which
drags and have us leave to the middle of the bay for a classical
bow-anchor night. 5m of chain is a bit limit, we have upgraded the
system with 5 extra meters of chain since then and we have less
We have become almost experts in baltic style anchorages !
28 July : Seiløy - Hankø (7M)
left to right: Saltimbanque, Norge the boat of the King (and alongside
his 8mR is you look closely), and our friend's Yngling
near-gale won't happen, we have time to pay a visit to one of our
friend who has a hytte nearby, close to the island of Hankø. The wind
had veered South-West though and we sail fast.
We enter the
channel of Hankø, in between the island and the contient. We are not
alone, the king and his big ship are also here. We grab the mooring
buoy that our friend lends us and study the royal ship, Norge. The king
is an enthusiastic sailor and comes to take part in the world cup for
8mR which will happen here soon. His beautiful SIRA is brought
alongside the flag ship.
Nice show! We get to the shore to spend
the evening on the top of the rocky hills with our friends, our first
experience in a Norwgian hytte !
29 July: Hankø – Oslo Killingen (48M)
the end of the holidays... After 10 days of North Easterly wind, we are
very pleased to see it turning to the South again, promising a fast and
direct sail back home.
Very beautiful islands at first in a
rather fantastic stormy light. Then the navigation becomes a bit
repetitive. Moss and the fast ferries to avoid, then the Drøbak fjord,
then Drøbak islands, and at last the Oslo waters and our home port.
Direct indeed, but long. A bit of cleaning and we can get back home... by bike !