A report in
English for those who do not read Norwegian !
We left Oslo,
Norway on June 23, 1999, and our route was laid out;
Family and friends came to see us off, and somehow, with great help from good friends, we managed to leave according to schedule.
The nice weather came as we left Bergen, and we had a wonderful crossing to Shetland. A friend joined us on the crossing, and his wife and daughter met up with us as we arrived Shetland. They spent two weeks with us at Shetland and Orkneys making our stay there especially nice. We visited Skara Brae, a 5000 year old stone age village, Maes howe, the best kept grave cave, build more than 4700 years ago, and many other old and interesting sites.
Doing the Caledonian Canal was a nice and fun experience, but by the time we came to the last lock, we were glad to be done with locks for a while.
The crossing to Ireland, and the stay there was great. The weather was nice, and the country and the people are wonderful. We spent two weeks from Dublin to the south-west coast, and know that we have to return to spend more time here on an other occasion.
We left Ireland on August 5th, and used almost 9 days sailing south to Santa Maria, the most southern island of the Azores.
was nice when we left Ireland, but we had gale the second and third day. Mona and the kids
were a bit sic, and the chef was doing a lousy job these first days, but the rest of the
journey was fun. The water temperature climbed from 16 to 25 degrees Celsius, and whenever
the weather permitted we would jump out and have a swim.
The Azores is far away from the mainland, and has therefor very few tourists. It is quiet, pretty and very friendly. Angra is the most beautiful town, and is on the UNESCO list of historical sites.
My sister and her husband joined us as we were getting ready to leave the islands and sail on to Madeira.
We had promised them a nice and calm crossing, but gave them a much broader sailing experience! In addition to a rough sail we also offered a fire in the refrigerator system, a clogged up toilet, and a broken wind-vane.....
But we did have some great times together, and believe they will remember this journey better than they would have remembered just a plain sunny crossing.... and now they have real sailing experience! Heidi and Dag left us the day after we arrive at Madeira, but we stayed there for four weeks.
Walking the mountains of Madeira
Madeira is a wonderful island with lots of good opportunities to get some exercise. We walked the mountains, and lots of the levadas, Madeiras special trails along the water channels.
Mona`s birthdayparty with good friends at Madeira
We also met a lot of other Trans Atlantic sailors here, and had some great parties with our new friends. Lene, Arnie and Mona all celebrated their birthdays here, so there were plenty of good opportunities. (..as if we need that...)
Lene and Andreas especially appreciated meeting other children out on the same tour, and became very good friends with Simen, Tirill and Ola from Norway.
Andreas and Mark at the levada-walk
Our friend from San Diego, Mark Farenbaugh, joined us a few days before we should depart from Madeira, and enjoyed the most scary of all the levada-walks together with us.
We left Madeira with destination Porto Santo, but when the wind was strong and right at the nose, we changed plans and headed for Graciosa instead.
We had strong winds the first day out, but the wind direction was favorable, and it was a great sail. The second day was very calm and nice, so Mark got a good variation on his first ocean crossing.
Graciosa is a small sandy island without streets and cars. It is a small and quiet fishing village, and we were about 14 boats on the floating dock at a time. It was a wonderful place, and we had a great two week stay there. We met friends we had learned to know at Madeira and we made lots of new friends, and we enjoyed walking on all the sandy hills, besides swimming and snorkeling.
The crossing to Teneriffe was quite nasty. Rough seas and winds right on the nose spiced with rain at night. But it is funny how everything is forgotten the moment you are tide up to the dock. We rewarded ourselves with a nice meal at an Italian restaurant in town, and made plans for stocking up and climbing Teide before moving on.
Teide is Spains highest mountain, and we used 4½ hours climbing 1400 meters up to 3600 meters, and felt quite dizzy from the elevation difference, but was rewarded with a great view.
Our last port in Europe was Poerto Mogan. We spent three weeks getting the boat ready for the big crossing, filling up every spare room with food and drinks, being tourist and partying with other sailors.
We started out with five days of sailing, but the next ten was filled with schooling, swimming, reading, playing, fishing and good food. The trade winds did not find us out there. We caught four 10 lbs Dorado fish, one per week, and made two great dinners out of each one. The Dorado is a beautiful, great tasting fish, and we prepared it cooked, baked, fried, grated, salted and as an ingredient in different dishes.
When the wind finally came, a red flare went off 0200 AM in the horizon behind us. Arnie got on the VHF, and it was man overboard, so we turned around, and relayed the MAYDAY to other boats, and was part of the rescue operation for the next 18 hours. U.S. coastguard was also out there with two planes, and to everybodys great joy the man was found alive and in good heath, and we could continue our sailing with an indescribable exiting feeling inside. To be found alive in the middle of the Atlantic is definitely a miracle, and to be part of such an event gives a feeling that can not be described by words!
After 28 days at sea we arrived at Barbados, but we had enjoyed the crossing, and was definitely not eager to end it.
The following day we continued on to Grenada where we had friends from Norway waiting for us.
The Steine family joined us for two weeks, and we had a wonderful time together. We sailed the Grenadines up from Grenada to St. Vincent, and spent Christmas at Bequia together with more than a hundred other Norwegians. The following week we met up with other sailing friends at Bequia and at Tobago Keys, before leaving the Grenadines for good. The water temperature in the Grenadines was excellent, 80 degrees F, but it was too much wind and too many people. Been there, done that! We prefer less touristy places!
Los Testigos was a very charming place. We anchored at Balandra Bay and tied up to a tree on shore. We crossed the sandy mountain and had great fun in the big surf on the other side of the island. We also enjoyed the walk up to the lighthouse.
We had now met up with a Norwegian boat that is out on a round the world tour, and would sail together with them for a week or so. This boat had a dingy with sail, and Andreas got to try it. It was a poor sailingboat, and when he capsized on the other side of the bay, he was rescued by a boat filled with young fishing girls!
All the islands outside the Venezuelan coast were very nice, but El Gran Rock", the largest island on Los Roques, is the prettiest little place we have seen in all of the Caribbean. It was so clean, and the houses was so pretty, colorful and charming. Especially at night! With the lights coming out in the sandy streets from the doors and windows that was left open.
At many of the other islands we were all by ourselves. The islands were beautiful and the snorkeling was excellent.
At Bonaire we had some great days with a Norwegian family Solberg that left Norway 12 years ago, and has been in the Venezuelan area ever since, and when we came to Curacau it was time for Mona to fly home to work for a month, while Stein and Stian came onboard to crew for two weeks.
It took four days to sail from Los Roques to Dominican Republic. The wind was excellent. Dominican Republic is probably the most beautiful island in the Caribbean. Stein and Stian left the boat here, and Otto and Øistein was the new crew for the next fourteen days.
The Exuma Islands on the Bahamas are just out of this world!!!!! This is where Mona returned, and she brought Arve, a good friend that would join the boat for 10 days. The color of the water in these waters are just like in a swimminpool. Snorkeling is excellent. We had a wonderful time, and ate lots of conks and grouper. Great food!
Most people spear fish all the fish and lobsters that they want in the Bahamas, but unfortunately we never had time to learn the task.
After a few days in Nassau, we sailed up to Grand Bahama Island where we spent a few days at Lacaya Port, before crossing over to Fernandino Beach, which is a charming island with a wonderful little town in northern Florida.
We were hauled out for three days at Tiger point marina to repaint the boat, and climbed a latter to still live onboard. We had some great days here. A college of Arnies dad, Wayne Stubbs, helped us out in every possible way. Wayne, Louall and James (16) took us out to dinner, and later on the kids went to play miniature golf while we visited a local bar with live music downtown. Then we got to borrow their car to do shopping, and to drive to Okefenoke swamps, because it was so important to Mona that her family got to see alligators! And we did. We rented two canoes and saw fifteen of them in half an hour. Then we had to turn back because it started to hail.
Saturday night, Ann and Bill Kavanaugh, the owners of the marina, and some friends had a big party at the marina, and we were invited. It was a great party with a live jazz band and dancing til midnight. We had a wonderful time.
We left Fernendino Beach to motor a few hours north to Cumberland Island, where Neil, a really nice guy we met at the marina, had arranged so that we could visit Greyfield Inn, one of America´s Top 25 Inns, where his wife, Brycea Merrill, is the innkeeper. Brycea showed us the Inn, and told us the history of the house. Wonderful place! We joined the guests for hors d`oeuvres before dinner, and borrowed bikes to ride out to the ruins the next morning. We saw wild boars, deer, a raccoon, and listened to all the birds. It was a great experience!
night we anchored outside Fort Frederick, and toured the fort 06.30 in the morning when we
had all the place to ourselves. It vas a very interesting place, and leaving the fort we
saw the first alligator. That day, and the following days we saw at least a hundred more!
(We renamed this creek Gaitor Creek).
One morning at sunrise, a bobcat was hunting along the shoreline !!!
We have three binoculars onboard, and they are in use all the time. We have seen more wild life this last week than we have ever seen before!
McClennaville, on our way to North Myrtle Beach, we had a day with turtles at every rock
or piece of floating wood. At one place an alligator and a big turtle was sunbathing side
by side, not even bothering to move as we passed by within less than 6 feet. The following
morning Andreas and Arnie saw two beavers in a little creek as they tried to catch some
fish before breakfast.
At North Myrtle Beach the Family Brevig from Denver came east to visit, and we had a great afternoon and evening together. The last time we saw them was when we toured the west coast five years ago and stopped by in Denver, and it was good fun to see all of them again.
As we left North Myrtle Beach and approached the next low bridge we met Gunter, who would be part of the family for the coming weeks. Gunter was on his way north to Chester River to work, and our next stop was Annapolis. Since we were moving in the same direction at the same time we teamed up. The very first evening we got some nasty weather and one swinging bridge could not open for us, so we had to turn back. We could, however, not turn in the narrow river and had to let out the anchor to make the boat turn. It was a windy and rainy half hour back to the last port, and as soon as we had tied up to the dock we invited Gunter onboard. We had a great evening, and from the next day Andreas crewed on Gunter´s boat for as long as we were together.
We were on the move from early morning til dark, but even when we started 0600 in the morning Andreas would get out of bed in no time as soon as he heard someone up. He would not risk Gunter sailing without his new mate! They made a great team. Andreas loved his new grandpa and his Island Packard, and Gunter spoiled him in every possible way.
In the evening we would put out our anchor and Ceres would come along side, and Gunter and Andreas would come over with home made salsa and home made chili. Gunter makes great food, so it was no wonder Andreas would not eat breakfast at Vilde in the morning, when he could have Gunters bagels with sausage and honeymustard later on.
At two occasions Arnie had to use the survival suit to clear the props. The first time at Vilde, and the second time at Gunters boat Ceres. With a backpack filled with led we lowered him down! In case we need to repeat the exercise further north it is good to have practiced!
The last leg Andreas crewed for Gunter was the day we sailed to Hampton. We teamed up again, and had a great last evening together. It was a gale out there, but we escaped it in time. Stan Morse, a real nice guy that we met in North Myrtle Beach, called us on his hand hold VHF, and came onboard with some maps that he would give us, and stayed for a while enjoying more of Gunters great salsa and chili. I made dinner later on, and we talked about how we probably could sail up Chester River after spending some time in Annapolis to meet again before leaving the Chesapeake Bay area.
The following day we enjoyed a nice, long breakfast together before seeing Gunter of. It was a cold and windy day, and Gunter and Andreas talked on the VHF several times during the day, saying how much they missed each other. We sailed 24 hrs. nonstop to Annapolis, and except for that Mona tried to sink a cargo ship on her watch, it was a great sail. The weather was great, and the wind was favorable, and fortunately Mona managed to get out of the way in time! It does definitely not do much good to be sailing, and have the right a way, when the opponent is a cargo ship.
We arrived in Annapolis early Friday morning and was met by Hillary, Janet and Pierce King. The Kings are great friends that used to be our neighbors in Norway for about five years. They moved back to Philadelphia in 1994, and we have kept in touch ever since. Lene even spent four weeks with them the summer of 1998, and it was great to be with them again. They took us home to spend the weekend with some good friends of theirs, and Lene and Andreas was exited to be away from the TV FREE ZONE onboard the boat, and we all enjoyed sleeping in great big beds again.
We were treated with wonderful seafood, sightseeing in Washington, and a great dinner together with Donna and Martin on Saturday night.
We left Donna and Martins house Sunday morning, after enjoying another super breakfast ala Pierce, and went on to see Annapolis and the military base, before Hillary, Janet and Pierce had to go back home. Lene left with them! She was invited to spend some time at their house and was thrilled about the idea! She would also get to meet her good friend, Cate O´Brien, from the summer of 98.
We had two broken generators, and had to stay in Annapolis all week to fix the problem. But staying in one place means meeting more pleasant people. Ken Taylor took us shopping, and Tom Moran, who has been out sailing one year with his two boys, invited Andreas home to spend the night. I found time to write on my reports and Arnie had time to do some miscellaneous fixing. We had a good time, but was eager to move on to Chester River and to meet Gunter again. Charlie and Greg at TABACO had our generators fixed by Friday evening, and Charlie and Arnie was busy til 10 PM Friday night before the engine was working properly. One of the generators would still not work, but Charlie said that we could just leave, and that he would get the generator to us along the way somewhere. Charlie stayed till 3AM and we really enjoyed his company.
Saturday was a rainy day, so we just motored our way to Chester River, where we joined up with Gunter and his friends. Chester River is beautiful! Gunter came out in a small speedboat to meet us, and Susie Willock was waiting at the dock. The Willocks have a beautiful property by the river, and we stayed at their doc next to Gunters boat. Gunters son and his friend came to say hello, and after happy hour, Gunter and Andreas went to pick up pizza for dinner.
Later on Susan and Todd Vigland joined us, and we had a great evening. Susie and Susan are teachers at the same school, and they offered to take Andreas to school to play the next day, and he was thrilled about the idea.
We stayed in Chester River for five days. Gunter took us sightseeing in town easter Sunday, while Andreas was out playing with the girls, and on the way back to the boat we stopped by at Donna and Tonys Gibbons-Neff´s house. Susie, Susan and Andreas also came by, and by the time we left we had a dinner invitation to Susan and Todd together with Gunter, and Andreas and Susan would eat at Donna and Tonys together with their daughter and Donnas sister with their families. We had a wonderful time!
Susie had offered Andreas to come to school on Monday, and he sat two alarm clocks for 06.30 to make sure he would be by the car in time! He joined Susie for one class, he was in 6th grade telling about our trip for one full hour, and he had gymnastics with many of Susans classes. He had a wonderful time!
Arnie and I enjoyed the day walking on the beautiful property.
Donna and Tony had invited us out for dinner in the evening, and stopped by to see the boat and pick us up. Gunter, Susie, Susan and Todd was also there, and the whole party drove to Rock Hall and had dinner at a great little restaurant. Tony invited Andreas to join him the next day, and he could hardly wait!
Andreas loved being with Tony!, and from then on he only came home to sleep!
Judy and John Willock had been on vacation and came back Tuesday afternoon, and Susie and Gunter had made chili for dinner. We had a great evening at Judy and Johns house, and were so glad we got to meet them before leaving Chester River the next day.
Tony had told Andreas that he could stay behind, and when Judy said the same thing, when she stopped by for a cup of coffee the next morning, and offered to take him to the boat five days later, there was no way that we could stop him. He was flying, and was packed and out of the boat in no time. He took his bike and ran off to find Tony, and came back on the four-wheeler to give us the last hug!
Andreas had some wonderful days with Tony at the farm, and in Annapolis with Donna and Tonys daughter Amy, her husband David and their two year old son Davis. He definitely had the time of his life, and cannot wait to go back to visit again. He had been driving the four-wheeler and the truck, he had raced with one of Tonys remote controlled sailing-boats, he had learned so much about farming, and he had been with some wonderful people.
On Wednesday morning they all came by to say goodbye, and we had coffee with Tony´s dad, lunch with Gunter and a last beer with Greg and Charlie, who came out with the spare generator. The weather was beautiful, and we did not leave the dock until 3 oclock in the afternoon. We had had some wonderful days with some wonderful people, and hope (and expect) to see them again some day!
Arnie and I sailed the boat to Cape May while Andreas was at the farm, and after five days we took the ferry across Delaware Bay to meet Susie, Judy and Andreas at the terminal. Susie and Judy brought us a beautiful picture book; Four seasons of the Chesapeake Bay as a present from them and from Donna and Tony. We thanked them the best we could for everything they had done for us and for Andreas.
As we came to Cape May we went ashore to call Ester and George Schwarts. Esters mom was Norwegian, and Arnies parents had met them at an earlier occasion. We were on our way to the phone-booth when a women came out and asked where we came from. Ann had seen the Norwegian flag on the boat, and since her husband, Eirik Kirkeberg, is Norwegian we were invited in for coffee.
Ester and George came by Saturday morning, and we had a wonderful day together. We started out with coffee and cake at the boat, then it was sightseeing around Cape May, great lunch at the Lobster House, and delicious dinner at their house in the evening. On Sunday they came for coffee and cake and to take us to the ferry. Ester and George are wonderful people, and made our stay in Cape May very special.
As we came back with Andreas on the ferry, Ann and Eirik came to pick us up. We invited them onboard the boat, but Eirik insisted on taking us out to dinner instead. Eirik is 91 years young and fit as a fiddle. He had so much to tell from a long life, and we loved their company. They visit Norway every summer, and last year they drove all the way up to Norkapp and the Russian border. This year they will travel north again, but on train, boat and bus this time. You definitely do not find many 91 year olds that could keep up with that guy!
Ann and Eirik came onboard for coffee on Monday morning before we left. They came down and had breakfast with us at 07.00, and since the weather forecast for the day was just perfect Ann could not wait to see us out the bay. Cape May is known to be the windiest place in the whole US, so go when the weather is good! We filled diesel and they filmed us as we were leaving.