When in Norway…
At our first anchorage, at Skogsøy, we are sheltered between islands. There is little swing space, so when the wind turns we add an anchor on our stern and connect Luci to the shore with two lines. A lot of work, and we soon see that the Norwegians are much more efficient: mooring alongside a rock. The rocks go steeply down in many places, leaving enough depth for Luci. As soon as a place becomes available we try it, and we discover metal rings that are tightened to the rock for easy fastening. The Norwegians often moore with the bow to the rock, combined with a stern anchor. We use the rocks preferably as long scaffold, especially if there is enough room. The “Havneguiden” shows on the drawing where such rings exist, so we soon select our anchorages accordingly.
Sailing North East
The prevailing westerly winds enable us to sail with only the genua, which means that we can easily manoeuvre between rocks and shorelines from island to island, guided by markers in the form of paint, sticks or miniature lighthouses. It takes us a while to get used to spotting and following these markers, so we are happy that we also have the iPad to assist with the navigation. At times the passages are so narrow, that only one boat can pass at a time. This is particularly the case on the spectacular stretch between Gamle Hellesund (East of Kristiansand) and Lillesand. It puts our steering skills to the test, so we’re thankful that we can follow a much wider catamaran – if they can pass, so can we. The scenery that unfolds after each corner has us gasping and going from one “wow” to the next: natural bays surrounded by trees and colored wooden houses and boat houses, children frolicking around in gardens and on small boats. We immediately understand why this part of Norway is such a popular domestic holiday destination for Norwegians.
The most beautiful place we find is Olavssundet (Ny Hellesund) – between Mandal and Kristiansand. This natural bay offers everything that makes Norway special. Islands where you can walk around, 360 degree views, a water-rich environment to explore endlessly and even a restaurant where you can come by foot or dinghy.
We have an inflatable kayak and take every opportunity to explore the area from our anchor spots. We paddle around islands for many kilometers, up and down rivers and fjords. Sometimes we need to carry the kayak and walk with it to the next fjord. It takes us to shallow areas, under low bridges and cables where we can’t go with Lucipara. We thus find ourselves in the midst of nature which makes Norway so special. Also, we harvest mussels from cliffs using the kayak (delicious!).
Although this coast is very popular with Norwegians and everywhere are holiday homes, it is never crowded. The thousands of large and small islands provide an immense coastline, countless coves and beautiful scenery. We make short day trips – why would you sail 60 miles when the next wonderful destination is only 20 miles away? We take the time to explore the area and alternate between anchoring in nature with mooring in towns. Besides Mandal we especially liked Grimstad. The port is spacious and has good facilities (WiFi), there are nice shops and restaurants and we made wonderful hikes in the area.