Departure: Strömstad, June 1, 2.30 PM Arrival: Hirtshals, June 2, 11 AM Nautical miles: 100
After calling the Norwegian immigration office, we had to realise what we already knew – we weren’t going to make it into Norway – and no matter how we twist and turn the Norwegian regulations wouldn’t even allow us to pass through their waters in the pursuit for a safe passage to Scotland. So we made a snap decision that Tuesday morning and decided to catch a weather window and head south immediately. It was a beautiful hot day, and although we felt a bit sad to leave and give up on our dreams (for now) of sailing the North, we also felt really excited to truly embark on our sailing adventure and head out to sea for some longer stretches of sailing.
After a quick pit stop in Strömstad to pick up our new drone and some fresh supplies, we headed south down the Swedish coast to Väderöerne (the weather islands). Here we had a quick dinner and walk with Kai before sailing on to Denmark. The islands were swarming with birds, and colonies of seals. Combined with a beautiful sunset it was the perfect way to say goodbye to Sweden.
Departure: Hirtshals, June 3, 8.30 AM Arrival: Thyborøn, June 3, 11.40 PM Nautical miles: 85
Although Hirtshals marina was a fairly expensive stay, we were happy to stop there and get some rest, as the wind subsided, but the waves unfortunately did not.
The sail to Thyborøn was a dramatic one in terms of weather as we sailed through our first thunderstorm. While Pernille and Kai hid in the cabin, Captain Leo stood proudly at the wheel (nearly) completely unfazed by the slashing rain and the lightning all around him. The weirdo was much too occupied with the “cloud show” and taking a gazillion pictures.
Departure: Thyborøn, June 4, 1 PM Arrival: Hvide Sande, June 4, 10 PM Nautical miles: 50
The next day the weather did a 180 on us (except for the wind which remained in our favour), and contrary to the drama of the sail the day before, we had the most beautiful day sailing along the coasts to Hvide Sande; offshore winds, calm seas and we still made good speed. This time Pernille and Kai came out to join the captain at the wheel, and enjoy the sunny weather.
The “marina” in Hvide Sande is a small floating dock in the middle of a big industrial fishing harbour (like all the harbours on the west coast), but located right next to the beautiful white sandy beaches and seals playing in the water at the entry to the harbour.
Departure: Hvide Sande, June 5, 11 AM Arrival: Esbjerg, June 5, 7.15 PM Nautical miles: 50
Unfortunately the wind dropped completely as we sailed to Esbjerg and we had to motorsail most of the way – against some pretty strong currents too. Moreover, Esbjerg is located in Vadehavet, which has some pretty intense tides and timing the entry to the harbour was therefore also part of the puzzle.
The next day Pernille’s parents made the long drive from Helsingør to Esbjerg to see us (mainly Kai) and treat us to a delicious brunch at “Dronning Marie” in Esbjerg. We were so happy to see them and grateful they would spend 7 hours of their Sunday driving across the country just for us.
Kindly, they also helped us to get a Covid test, which would otherwise have been a bit of a struggle to get too. We pushed through the next few days of next to wind in order to make it to Netherlands within 72 hours of taking the test – adding yet again a new piece to the puzzle. But neither in Germany nor the Netherlands were we ever asked about the test.