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  • Lysefjord, in southwest Norway, is one of the country’s major tourist draws. Waterfalls ...

  • Haugesund

    We only planned to make a quick pit stop outside Haugesund for gasoline before continuing south ...

  • Akrafjorden

    Langfossen gushes into the Akrafjorden from 2,008ft (612m) above, with a vertical drop of 400ft ...

  • Mt. Floyen to Mt. Ulriken

    A popular outing for Bergen residents is the 8-mile (13km) hike between Mt. Floyen and Mt. ...

  • Subscription Preference Control

    MVDirona.com subscribers will have noticed our richer new subscription emails, giving pictures ...

  • Bergen Arrival

    Seven mountains surround Bergen and the city rises up from vibrant Vagan Harbour into the steep ...

  • Herdla

    Herdla, a small island north of Bergen, is full of military ruins. During World War II, the ...

  • 61°30′ Latitude

    On May 11th of this year, we passed north of 61°30′ latitude and returned back south ...

  • Briksdal Glacier

    Briksdal Glacier is one of the few European glaciers not constantly receding—the size ...

  • Mile-High Skala

    The annual Skala Opp race from Loen to the summit of 6,062ft (1,848m) Skala regularly draws ...

  • Via Ferrata Loen

    Via Ferrata means “iron path” in Italian and is an increasingly popular mix of ...

  • Hjorundfjord to Nordfjorden

    We re-rounded the infamous Stad on our continued southbound return trip along the Norwegian ...

  • Hjorundfjord

    Starting September 2, the Hurtigruten coastal ferries switch from their summer run to ...

  • Slogen

    The hike to the summit of 5,131 ft (1,564m) Slogen is considered one of the top ten in Norway ...

  • John Deere 6068 at 10,000 Hours

    It’s hard to believe, but our “new” John Deere 6068AFM75 is now nearly 9 years old, has been ...

  • Norangsfjorden

    Norangsfjorden is similarly scenic as nearby Geirangerfjord, but smaller and not nearly as busy ...

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General questions & comments
  1. Lars-Henrik says:

    Yes – you are far north (similar to Mitkof Island) and the waters “indside Skagen” have decreasing salinity as you get closer to the deep indside of the Baltic sea, and can freeze more easily. But both the icebreakers you saw have been taken out of service, and are for sale, should you need a strongly built boat 🙂

    • Ice breakers and available for sale? We’ll take them both :-). Actually, we would love to have ice capability and be able to do the Northwest passage with less constraints but those two are a few hundred feet more than we can afford.

  2. Lars-Henrik says:

    “Glyngore Harbour is full of sailboats, most without masts. Perhaps this is for travelling through the inland waterways, or their masts have been stepped for the winter.”

    It is mandatory according to insurance to have your boat out of the water by Nov 11th

    “We were surprised to see an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) mounted outside on the street. Good idea.”

    The emergency services then have locations of these AED’s i order to tell a caller where to find one to use before help arrives.

  3. Lars-Henrik says:

    https://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/

    I saw Dirona from my window when you passed Egholm – but when I got to the marina you were gone 🙂

    • Too bad. We’re sorry we missed you at the Marina. We left fairly quickly for a day of walking around Aalborg and then got back underway the next morning. If you do find yourself near Dirona in the future, drop us email. I’m almost always online. We’ll be in Amsterdam over the winter.

  4. Paul Wood says:

    I’m liking your doppelganger, James. He’s even got the same commitment to “where there’s a will there’s way” 😀

  5. Rodney Sumner says:

    James:
    We all know you like the odd brew!
    So I had to smile at two of your notations on the Limfjord map for breweries. Have you thought of applying to the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest pub crawl by private boat !!!???

    • Yes, you gotta do your research. When on a long trip, it’s important to know where your nearby brewpubs are before you need them. It’s unwise to wait for the last minute and hope you are going to find one :-).

  6. Lars-Henrik K. Arvedsen says:

    Hi

    I hope you did get to se the “Sea war museum” – Unlike Norway you heading into the fjord has unlike in Norway bridges that you have to request the watch on the bridge to open. And BTW there is no chance that the satellite connection will be covered by a mountain 😉 as I’ve found i Norway with my car gps.

  7. William Domb says:

    Hi, guys–

    Been cruising for years and yet just found all your material. Incredible work.

    Been trying to get some information from satellite internet companies for some months now but no responses.

    For instance, we have a tracker for DirecTV, and it works fine, even when our boat is rocking and rolling.

    So, why can’t a tracker of similar nature point at the appropriate sat that does internet, just like happens with a fixed location on land?

    Yet it seems no one is making that service available.

    Am I missing something?

    • Yes, there are many options for satellite communications at sea. We use a KVH V7hts system and really like the combination of reliable phone calls without dropped calls and other annoyances coupled with high bandwdith data. This is our current system: https://mvdirona.com/2018/03/kvh-v7-hts-twice-the-speed-more-coverage/

      The KVH is very high bandwidth and covers just about the entire globe except extreme latitudes and some parts the south Atlantic and south pacific oceans. If you need high speed connectivity and/or are moving a lot of data, the KVH system is hard to beat. We use Imarsat BGAN as a backup but it is 10x the bandwidth cost so we only use it when we have no other options.

      Our overall strategy for communications at sea is written up here: https://mvdirona.com/2015/08/communications-at-sea/. There are less expensive options for low bandwidth communications like the Iridium but, for our use case, it’s just too slow and we only use the Iridium as a last ditch backup system.

      We have had the KVH V7 satelite system on Dirona since early 2012 and so far, haven’t seen anything that would serve us better. If you are sea and continue to work, I would especially recommend going with the V7. It’ll give you both low cost telephone connections and high bandwidth data.

  8. ian says:

    James, was just reading Secret Coast, you had written about your deck washdown system on the 4087 in the step from the cockpit, where did you plum into, fresh water or did you have a new thru hull installed? Thanks for the advise,,,

  9. Paul says:

    Hi James,

    How do you handle insurance for Dirona? My wife and I are Canadian and about to do the Great Loop and the Bahamas. We would also like to travel to Cuba but so far I cannot get any insurer to cover the boat for that area. I am sure it would be just a big a problem if we were to get even more adventurous and travel to far away places.
    Thanks very much…………….Paul

    Thanks………….Paul.

  10. Jostein Lima says:

    Hello James & Jennifer!

    Just a quick tip in case you are up for yet another hike in the Norwegian mountains. The Pulpit Rock is very famous, but in my opinion the Kjerag rock on the opposite side of Lysefjorden is a nicer trip. The walk is longer, but it is in general a lot less crowded and you get a ~1000m drop down to the fjord instead of the ~600m. And if you are not afraid of heights, you can take a leap onto the Kjerag bolt and get a nice photo shoot.

    I hope you get OK weather, this time of year the autumn rain and wind is infamous in Rogaland.

    Regards,

    Jostein

    • We had a great hike out to Pulpit Rock. We had a lot of very long hanging clouds, much as you expected we might, but still got some good views and had an enjoyable time. Thanks for the pointer to Kjerag.

      • Jostein Lima says:

        Ah.. I did not know that you were already on your way to Pulpit Rock. Good to hear that you had a good trip. The upside at this time of year is that you avoid the huge summer crowds. As you probably noticed, the path is kind of paved due to all the heavy traffic the later years.

        • You are 100% right. Even the “off season” is about the limit that we can put up with when it comes to crowds. It’s amazingly busy. In the middle of the summer, it must be crazy.

  11. Peter Merritt says:

    Thank you James for the 10,000 hours update. I’ve been following your blog for two years and have found the level of detail you go into for both technical and cruising, fascinating and engaging.
    Jennifer and your blogs have certainly been one of the motivating factors in my wife Jenny and l signing a purchase agreement for N5279.
    The time and quality is appreciated.

  12. Peter Lefroy says:

    Absolutely stunning pictures of Norway and the amazing facilities which they have in that country! In many ways they put us to shame here in North America.

    • I was thinking exactly the same thing Peter. Norway doesn’t every seem reluctant to take on a big engineering project even when serving a small population center. In large country of only 5 million people there is cellular service just about anywhere we got to. Its impressive.

  13. Stig says:

    Hi!

    I sent you a Mail with some suggested places to vist on your route from Bergen.

    • Thanks very much Stig. We spent yesterday in a car trip to visit to Hardanger Fjord where we went to Tyssedal and to the Voringfossen falls. A really enjoyable trip. Norway is amazing.

      Thanks for the advice in your note yesterday. We appreciate it.

  14. Jim Cave says:

    James, WRT the photo and comment about the asphaltenes in the fuel transfer filter and the possible need for inspection and cleaning of the fuel tanks: I had similar concerns with our 8 year old, aluminum tanks in our Kadey Krogen 42. I opened he port aft tank and found only a few traces of asphaltenes in the tank. We don’t generally draw fuel from these tanks, while running, only using the aft tanks for storage. We transfer fuel to the forward tanks using our ESI polishing system while on shore or generator power while at dock or anchor. I when I replaced this filter after several years, we found it quite clean, even though the Racor 900’s would be quite black. I concluded that polishing fuel whilst at the dock to be inadequate for removing contaminants as there is no agitation which would serve to lift up such materials for subsequent filtration. I hope to switch the ESI system over to the Inverter side of the panel so I can polish fuel while running in moderate seas. It might be best that this is done when tanks are about 1/4 full to maximize mechanical agitational the remaining fuel.

    • Good approach Jim. We’re set up similarly to what you plan where we can run the transfer pump at any time and, since we run off a small supply tank, we transfer fuel to that tank every 4 to 6 hours when underway. We can run fuel polishing 24×7 at dock or underway if we choose to and that was the intended design point of our fuel polishing design but we have never had fuel problems and don’t do it as a preventative measure. It’s probably a good idea to run it periodically to at least delay needing to clean the tanks.

  15. David C says:

    Over here in Bergen for a holiday from Australia. Wandering along in front of Bryggen today, pushing our stroller, I knelt down to do up my shoe lace and when I stood up I found myself looking at the side of a very nice looking boat with a familiar looking name on it. “That can’t be” I said to myself. a quick look at you tube then this site and yup, it is you guys. I guess it’s just unexpected to see something in real life that I have seen on YouTube quite regularly! And on the other side of the world. I took a quick photo, chuckled to myself and we wandered on.

    • That’s a loooong trip David but you chose well. We’re loving Norway — hope you are enjoying it as well.

      If you feel like having a look around Dirona, feel free to drop me a note at jrh@mvdirona.com.

      • Karen says:

        Ulriken Steps…when we were in Bergen, installation and maintenance work was being done by crews from Nepal. I guess they know their mountains. And speaking of mountains, we are currently enjoying the Dolomites. Maybe our paths will cross one of these months….

        • Hi Karen! The steps look like they were a massive project. It looks too steep for heavy equipment and I can’t see tracks but the rocks are way too big to move by hand. Interesting that the work was done by crews from Nepal. As you said, they do have some experience with steep slopes.

          It would be fun to have our paths cross. We plan to winter in Amsterdam and will be there from November through end of Feb — the plan is to make use of the great rail and flight options and see some more of Europe. If you find yourselves flying through Schiphol on one of your trips, it would be cool to catch up. In the mean time, enjoy your time in the Dolomites.

          • Trond Saetre says:

            Karen is right. The steps were made by sherpas from Nepal. They spent 2 or 3 summer seasons. As far as I know, no heavy machinery was used, except for portable winches. The construction work was completed in 2017.

            • Impressive. It looked like recent work and I couldn’t see any evidence of damage from tracked vehicle operation. The stones are massive. It wonderful engineering to be able to precisely place stones of that size and weight without heavy equipment help.

  16. Alec Peterson says:

    Hi James,

    You mention a few times how power-hungry the Dirona is. One thing I’m curious about is why you elected to go with an AC water maker, given the availability of DC options that draw significantly less power per gallon generated. What do you see as the benefits of an AC water maker?

    Thanks!

    Alec

    • Water makers put water under 850 PSI pressure and force it through membranes. Given DC motors are not fundamentally more efficient than AC motors, I would think that it would take roughly the same amount of energy to make a given amount of water since all the other parameters are the same. Low consumption DC units I have seen are lower output so really don’t appear to be much different but I’m interested if you have seen something unusually good.

      Generally we only make water underway with the main engine running so we have lots of power available but, in the end, regardless of the source, making power consumes diesel so there is a cost so efficiency is always of interest.

      • Alec Peterson says:

        Well I ask because I have the Spectra Catalina 340 on my sailboat today. It reliably generates 14-15 gallons/hour drawing only 18 amps at 12VDC (working out to 15 watts per gallon of water made). Even when we aren’t being abstemious with water (showers every day, fresh water head, etc), we end up running it for 3-4 hours every 2-3 days whilst cruising. Between the solar panels and underway time, the power demands are easy to keep up with, and since water makers like to be run there are certainly more underway hours we could run it if we needed to.

        When I look at AC alternatives, I come across things like the FCI AquaMiser, which could certainly generate more water, but the model that generates 33 GPH draws 12.5 amps at 120 VAC, working out to requiring 45 watts per gallon of water generated, or 200% more power required to generate a gallon of water than the 12 VDC version.

        For our next boat we’re planning to go to a power boat with a sizable generator, so we certainly could go with an AC version if there were a benefit. What I’m wondering is aside from volume of water produced, is there a benefit? If we find that the DC models give us the volume we need, curious if there are other things I should be considering.

        Thanks!

        Alec

        • I think our Water Maker is roughly 6A at 240V so just about exactly matching the AC pump you are looking at. I can’t think of any reason why a DC pumped system would be more efficient but the your numbers are considerably better. Typically DC motors require more service than AC motors but water makers aren’t used anywhere close to continuously so I have no idea if that would be a factor. If purchase price and parts prices aren’t disadvantaged, then I can’t think of any reason why your DC alternative isn’t a good choice.

          • Chris Barber says:

            Guys, it’s watt-hours for energy, not watts. But the math is right otherwise in Alec’s comparison of the Spectra and the FCI. And extra points to Alec for use of the word “abstemious” :). James is correct that the power consumption of his machine is roughly equal to the FCI but we don’t know the amount of water produced. What’s your machine able to do per hour, James? I have to agree with James on the question of efficiency in general. I would think in practical terms you should only see the additional conversion loss going through the inverter to run an AC machine on battery power vs running a DC machine directly on the battery. The apparently huge difference between the Spectra and the FCI must be due to some mechanical design difference… perhaps at the higher output rate there is something that causes the efficiency to fall off dramatically; perhaps their stated power consumption is worst-case and we would not see that on a continuous basis under normal conditions. Gotta be something like that. No way can a DC motor be 3x more efficient than a same-capacity AC motor, all else being equal.

            Finally, keep in mind that even when you run a DC machine on battery and avoid the inverter conversion loss, you will take that loss during recharge if you are recharging from a shore power battery charger.

            • We’re running a 25 gallon per hour Village Marine water maker and, yes, I do know that watts are a measure of power and watt-hours a measure of energy.

              • Chris Barber says:

                I know, it’s actually the spec sheets of those machines say “watts” and started that whole thing 🙂 So your machine is doing 57 watt-hours per gallon… and I’m sure you’re getting excellent power factor out of your inverters.

                • I didn’t use the water maker spec sheet when I looked up the draw of the water maker. I just looked at the PH ammeter and just read the power draw. What I was quoting is actual amps at 240V.

                  Our power factors aren’t wonderful on the boat. We drive the inverters pretty hard and make them do very ugly things like run the SCUBA compressor where the loads are very non-linear and the startup current is way off the charts. The water maker is far better but I suspect it’s still far from unity. The inverters just drive through it all without issue. I’m pretty impressed with Victron. The overall load on our generator is also pretty unfriendly from a power factor perspective. Most of our big loads are chargers and they are high frequency switching systems with power factors far from unity. The net result is our 50A generator (12kW) is actually closer to 41A (~10kW) but, other than the slight derating to just above , it also runs reliably.

          • Chris Barber says:

            And then there’s the whole power factor issue with AC machines. AC and DC are only comparable at unity power factor. These AC machines may be rated at terrible power factors… but still, a 3x difference? I’m looking at the Village Marine LTM series: they seem to be spec’d about the same as the FCI. Interesting to note that the Village LTM-500 at 21 GPH and the LTM-800 at 33 GPH both claim 18A at 110V (1980 Watt-Hours for their respective outputs which are differ dramatically). So it’s probably the same electrical machine in both of them, and maybe the spec is written to cover motor start current…

  17. Chris Mitchell says:

    Hey James, Hopefully you remember me from when you were working on the ForeFront acquisition in Exchange. I happen to live in Oslo, Norway now. If you make it to Oslo (either in the boat or on the train), reach out. I would happily make you dinner. We live about 1 Km from the main port areas in Olso (and quite close to main central station).

    • Hi Chris. Nice choice of places to live. Norway is incredible — we have been here for 6 months and we continue to be amazed.

      If we do make a run to Oslo this year, I’ll let you know. One option we might take is to go there at the end of next summers cruising in Sweden since we want to visit Oslo and the boat needs to leave the EU every 18 months.

      • Trond Sætre says:

        Notice that since Norway is included in Schengen, visiting Norway is included in the 18 months. A day in England will reset the 18 month Schengen clock.

        • The restriction is taxation rather than Schengen. More than 6 months in 12 appears to be sufficient to become a taxable “resident.” We’re it not for that constraint, we would be here for two summers and the winter in between.

  18. Gary Gordon says:

    James: Reading your comment about Propane, have you considered switching the stove top and BBQ to electric before switching the US Propane tanks?

    • Yes, both Jennifer and I have talked that over. For sure if we were to build another boat, we would not put propane on it. Electric BBQs work quite well and with a 240V inverter, there is no need to start the generator for a quick use of the stove top. Retrofitting feels like more work than I’m up for but we haven’t completely ruled it out. My current leaning is to buy whatever steel container is standard in whatever country we happen to be in and then buy a hose pig tail that would allow me to remove my US hose and put on the other countries hose. If I can find or make a hose that will fit the bottle and can be adapted to our manifold, changing tanks might not be that much hassle.

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