Skipper: Ernst and Urs
Crew: Margrit, Tamara, Peter and Pierre
A training cruise in Norway, from the view of the pupils!
I’m off to Norway, with high expectations. I’m a keen sailor, but what will it be like
to spend six days on a motor boat? And what of the mountainous landscape, might
it rain every day?
After a morning of preparation and briefings, we set sail in the
afternoon. The Norwegian landscape is
beautiful with cute painted houses along the rocky shoreline. There is plenty
of traffic too, including large cruise ships and for the first time, I used the
AIS system – amazing to be able to see the other craft and identify their size,
course and speed – great for avoiding collisions.
Pierre, Peter and I alternately take turns to navigate, under
supervision of the skippers and it is my role to passage plan for
tomorrow. By 5pm we have arrived in the
quiet Büchtlein Lysevagen, where our first manoeuvre involves launching the
dinghy and laying a stern anchor. While
Margrit and Peter prepare a great supper, I’m still working with the charts and
then put the course into the plotter – we won’t be lost!
In the morning, I’m supervising the helmsman and using bearings to
check the position and course as well as using the plotter. I also check the bridge heights for safety,
and use landmarks like lighthouses as well to check the track. As a newbie, it is amazing for me to see all
this technology at work in the navigation, and Ernst and Urs are great
teachers. After passing through the Maurangesfjord we make Sundal for the
evening. The skippers take great care
navigating through small obstacles in the water, and when laying the landline
and anchor so we won’t be left hanging when the tide goes out.
What a day! I’m exhausted and
happy to relax after my day as navigator.
Before setting off the next morning, we are taught the man overboard
procedure, and two fenders are tied together so we can practice at sea. Sure enough, as we motor along, Pierre gives
the shout and throws the fender…the first time, it’s all a little clumsy, but
we get more confident with repeated practice.
Later, we make a stop in Rosendal so we can get ashore and stretch our
legs. Then it is on to the remote ferry
town of Skånevik and are treated to dolphins swimming with us. It may be high summer, but I’m amazed how few
people there seem to be around here.
The next morning’s briefing is all about how to abandon ship and other
emergency procedures, including using the liferaft – I hope to never need any
of this. As Peter is today’s navigator,
I am on the helm, and it’s my turn to helm.
As I said, I hadn’t any experience of a twin screw boat, and I’m amazed
at how manoeuvrable it is. I practice
the MOB drill too and while I am getting the hang of positioning the boat, I
fear that my casualty might freeze in the water before the rescue…
At lunchtime, a violent thunderstorm rolls through and we lose almost
all visibility. It’s a great chance to
use the boat’s radar for navigation, as explained by Ernst. We had planned to head for an island, but
because of the weather turn in to Storasund.
The sun was shining when we woke up and I planned an attractive route
through narrow channels. It’s beautiful
and all the cameras snap non-stop. We
anchor and enjoy lunch in the sun at Kvernaviga and at 3pm undertake the last
trip onto Skudenshaven.
Full of anticipation we round the entrance and are treated to a
picturesque view of neat white houses and the protected harbour. The berth was very tight, and Ernst
demonstrated just how to place the large Rolling Swiss in a tiny space.
The next day, we explore this beautiful area before heading on to
Boroyholmane before making our way to Stavanger where we had to refuel the boat
and prepare her for the next crew.
It’s been an amazing experience, and many thanks to Ernst and Urs for
sharing so much of their knowledge.