Masfjorden


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During the World War II German occupation, a Norwegian army unit operated from a secret base in the Matrefjella mountains at the head of Masfjorden. They had limited air support and accessed the base on foot using the old trail Stegane. Built to access the mountain farm Kringlebotn, Stegane is a remarkable feet of 19th-century engineering that ascends 650 ft (200m) up the side of a near-vertical cliff through a series of steps built into the mountainside complete with handrails. The trail still exists today, and is a highlight among several excellent hikes in the area.

From the high-current Lindas area, we returned to the fjords at Masfjorden, stopping for five nights in an excellent anchorage at the head off the village of Matre. There we climbed the wonderful stairs of Stegane, and also made three other view hikes in the area, including 2,004ft (611m) Nonkletten, 2,040ft (622m) Storursfjellet, and 1,925-ft (587m) Nipa.

Below are highlights from Sept 24th through 28th, 2020. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

9/24/2020
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Kilstraumen Bridge
In this video, we are heading north through the short but narrow Kilstraumen channel towards the bridge over the narrows, with a strong ebb current carrying us through. As we approach the bridge, we can see the ferry Solundir approaching from the north at 32 kts. It looks like we are going to meet the ferry at the bridge and there really isn’t room for both boats at that location.
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Kilstraumen
The small community of Kilstraumen, home to the SAR boat Utvaer that we saw yesterday in Lindaspollene.
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Solundir
The fast ferry Solundir passing under the Kilstraumen bridge after waiting for us to pass.
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X-Bow
An X-Bow offshore supply vessel just north of the Mongstad refinery.
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Mongstad Refinery
The Mongstad refinery is the largest in Norway. The facility can store 9.5 million barrels (1,510,000 m3) and can produce 12 million tonnes of crude oil per year (230,000 barrels per day).
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Eagle Blane
The 908-ft (277 m) crude oil tanker Eagle Blane at the Mongstad refinery.
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Towing
A couple of weeks ago, we saw the 154-ft (47m) Kystvakt (Norwegian Coast Guard) patrol vessel Tor underway through Sorfjorden off the island of Osteroy. We saw it again today, operating closely to the 306-ft (93.2m) Kystvakt patrol vessel Bergen. As we watched, the Tor shot a line over to the Bergen and took it under tow. Likely it was just an exercise, but the Bergen had been drifting without power for as long as we’ve been in the area.
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The Fjon M, one of the few cable ferries operating in Norway. The ferry was disabled and being moved back and forth across fjord by a tug tide alongside, rather than its usual cable between the two shores.
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Matresfjorden
Underway in dramatic Matresfjorden with 2375-ft (724m) Lauvtonipa in the distance.
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1,100 Hours
We just reached 1,100 hours on our trusty Lugger L844D wing engine. Our wing engine averages around 100 hours a year, which isn’t much. But many wing engines never get used, and early failures are a common problem because of this lack of use. The reason is that most emergency get-home engines are just about never needed, so they just don’t get used. Operators need to remember to test them periodically or they won’t be there when needed, and the lack of use destroys them. Our wing engine is used to drive the hydraulic systems when in close quarters around docks or other boats, and when lifting or dropping anchor. So it gets used frequently. Consequently, it’s always recently tested and ready for any emergency.
9/25/2020
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Anchorage View
Early-morning view to the beautiful anchorage off the village of Matre at the head of Masfjorden (clockwise from top left: forward, aft, starboard and port).
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Bunkering
We store bulk gasoline on the boat deck in two 29-gallon (110L) tanks. From there we transfer them to four 1.25-gallon and one 5-gallon tank to quickly and easily fill the tender. When the tender is low and all those smaller tanks are empty, we repeat the process. 58 gallons is a lot of fuel, but we use it. We’ve gone through one full load already this year, and expect to use up this current load and need to fill again before the end of the year.
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Matresfjorden
Heading down Matresfjorden in the tender on a wonderfully calm, but cold morning. The temperature is 46°F (7.8°C).
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Tender
The tender moored at Haugsvaer to hike up 2,004ft (611m) Nonkletten.
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Haugsvaer
Walking up a grass road from the village of Haugsvaer.
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Trailhead
At the trailhead for 2,004ft (611m) Nonkletten.
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Towers
We often pass near big power line towers on our hikes. Norway is full of power lines that cross large waterways with towers such as these supporting them. The cables from these towers run about one nautical mile across Haugsvaerfjorden to the left.
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Haugsvaerfjorden
View to the village of Haugsvaer at the head of Haugsvaerfjorden from 1743 ft (531 m) on the trail to Nonkletten.
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Nonkletten
Spectacular view looking southwest to Masfjorden from 2,004ft (611m) up at the summit of Nonkletten. We reached the top in about two hours from the tender.
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Gjerdbergelva
The river Gjerdbergelva spilling down through a narrow gorge just outside the village of Haugsvaer.
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Matre
Looking across the village of Matre, with a waterfall spilling down the slopes of 2,532-foot (772m) Snjogjeldalen. We later learned the waterfall isn’t natural—it’s actually fed by a pipe, visible when you climb above it.
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Tailrace
Tailrace from the 150MW Matre Hydroelectric Power Station.
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Lacy Waterfall
This lacy waterfall just off our anchorage at Matre was all but gone a couple of days later after a few days with no rain.
9/26/2020
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Dirona
Dirona anchored of Matre at the head of Masfjorden with the pipe-fed waterfall in the background.
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Tender
The tender tied off at Matre while we hike to Stegane.
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Platforms
Old platforms and towers mounted on the steep slopes behind Matre, perhaps constructed for an earlier hydroelectric project.
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Low Bridge
A really low bridge with 11.5ft (3.5m) clearance where the road we’re crossing passes under the E39 highway through Matre.
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Matreselva
The river Matreselva flowing down to Matre, with the sheer cliff of 2,040ft (622m) Slottejfellet prominent in the distance slightly right of center.
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Kvernhusfossen
The waterfall Kvernhusfossen along the river Matreselva. An attractive slate wall running along the left bank suffered substantial damage in the foreground section, likely due to water flow, but possible falling rocks.
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Fossen Waterfall
Spectacular waterfall at Fossen where the lake Fossevatnet drains into the river Matreselva.
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Lunch
We started on our hike late in the morning and it took about an hour to reach Stegane from Matre. Before ascending, we stopped for lunch along the river Matreselva with a view to the Fossen waterfall in the distance. The waterfall looked so appealing that we were tempted to bail on our current hike plans and walk up to it instead.
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Power Station
Old power station building at the base of Stegane.
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Stegane
Stegane is a trail, likely built in the mid-1800s, to reach the mountain farm Kringlebotn. The path ascends 650 ft (200m) up the side of a near-vertical cliff, through a series of steps built into the mountainside complete with handrails. Remote mountain farms, accessible only on foot, are common in Norway. During our travels in the country, we’ve seen many farms perched high up on roadless mountainsides, where everything had to be carried in.
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Drop-Off
The Stegane trail is a remarkable feat of engineering, even more so in that it has lasted nearly two centuries. Here the path is so narrow there is no room for a handrail on the outside. It’s a long way down.
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Metal Step
In places along Stegane where a stone step couldn’t easily be installed, a metal step was placed instead.
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Penstock
Remains of the original penstock that fed the old power plant at the base of Stegane.
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Landing
Enjoying the view into the Matre Valley from a landing near the top of the steps. What a unique experience to climb these steps.
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Valve Hut
Hut alongisde the Stegane trail containing a large valve, nearly the size of the hut, once used to control the flow in the old penstock.
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Cable Car
Motorized cable car, still in use, to carry goods up and down the mountain. The early farmers didn’t have this help.
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Dam
Dam on the lake Hummelvatnet to feed the power plant. We’re at the top of the Stegane path, but still are nearly 2 miles (3km) west of the old Kringlebotn farm. Reaching it requires boat trips across the lakes Hummelvatnet and Kringlebotsvatnet, with a little walking in between. Kringlebotn must have been a really, really appealing place to live to warrant such an effort to reach it.
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Debris Scoop
Mechanical scoop at the penstock intake to scoop debris off the intake grill.
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Fossen Waterfall From Klavebotnen
From the lake Hummelvatnet, we followed a trail higher up the mountain Klavebotnen, hoping for a good view to the Fossen waterfall. And we found it.
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Matre Valley
Great view into the Matre Valley from the trail up Klavebotnen.
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Hummelvatnet
Having a break at a boathouse along the lake Hummelvatnet.
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Descending
Descending back to the valley along Stegane. We’re really glad to have experienced such a unique piece of Norwegian history.
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Old Road
Walking a portion of the old road back into Matre, with the new road visible down to the right.
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Storsethilleren
Jennifer perched inside the cave Storsethilleren where archaeologists have found traces of use since the Iron Age.
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Sheep
Following three sheep through the beautiful Matre valley.
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Slottefjellet
The dramatic mountain Slottefjellet rises over 2,000ft (600m) nearly straight up from the road.
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Catch Fence
We see plenty of rock catch fences throughout Norway. Falling rock is a real problem here.
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Rock Damage
Rock damage on the road barrier, presumably before the catch fence opposite was installed.
9/27/2020
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Bjorn West Museum
The Bjorn West Museum in Matre tells the story of a Norwegian army unit of the same name that operated from a base in the Matrefjella mountains near the Kringlebotn farm during the World War II German occupation of Norway. The group numbered 260 by the end of the war. They had limited air support, and accessed the base on foot using the same staircase, Stegane, that we just climbed.

Near the end of the war, attacking German forces landed at Matre. During six days of fighting, 6 Norwegian soldiers died compared to between 35 and 177 Germans. Both sides withdrew as peace negotiations took place.

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Substation
The substation for the 150MW Matre Hydroelectric Power Station.
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Institute of Marine Research
“Breaking the Waves” by May Bente Aronsen outside the Institute of Marine Research in Matre. The station has been doing world-leading fish farm research since 1971.
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Matre
Dusk looking northeast across Matre from our anchorage, with the mountain Slottefjellet visible slightly left of center.
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Morning
Another calm and beautiful morning off Matre at the head of Matresfjorden.
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Oxygen
Oxygen tank used in fish farm research at the Institute of Marine Research in Matre, that we passed on our way to hike Storursfjellet.
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Dam
A small dam in one of the rivers flowing into Matre along the road to the Storursfjellet trailhead.
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Footbridge
Footbridge crossing the river upstream from the dam we just passed.
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Waterfall
We took a detour off the road to see if we could get a closer look to the pipe-fed waterfall and got a pretty decent view here.
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Matresfjorden
View to Matresfjorden, and our anchorage, from the road towards the Storursfjellet trailhead.
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Shortcut
We generally download and follow GPX tracks from the Norwegian Trekking Association at UT.no, but weren’t finding much for the area. We expected trails did exist, so picked up a map for the area at the Bjorn West Museum yesterday. It showed the trail we were taking today to Storursfjellet, and indicated a shortcut between the road switchbacks. We weren’t expecting much of a trail, but it was nicely built with stone steps even.
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Second Breakfast
Enjoying a hobbit’s second breakfast in the ruins of a building at the trailhead for 2,040ft (622m) Storursfjellet.
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Climbing
The trail up Storursfjellet was pretty non-existent, but from looking at the topography the route appeared to go straight up a scree. It was a steep, but relatively easy climb up.
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Storursfjellet
After about an hour’s climb, we reached the top of 2,040ft (622m) Storursfjellet for a wonderful view down to Matresfjorden. Dirona is barely visible at anchor at bottom left. The conical-shaped hill roughly at center is Nipa, that we’ll likely climb tomorrow and directly to the right is Nonkletten that we climbed two day’s ago (click image for a larger view).
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Panorama
Jennifer, at center, taking in the panoramic view from the top of 2,040ft (622m) Storursfjellet. Matresfjorden is on the left and the mountains around the Matre Valley are on the right (click image for a larger view).
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Fossen Waterfall
Another view to the Fossen waterfall that we saw on our hike up the Stegane stairs yesterday.
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Pipe Feed
From the top of Storursfjellet, we could see that the waterfall we’d sighted on arrival was not natural, but actually flowed from a pipe. It’s amazing how small that pipe is, given the apparent water flow below it.
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Institute of Marine Research
View to fish tanks at the Institute of Marine Research in Matre. The oxygen tank we passed this morning is at the parking lot end of the building.
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Fish Farm
This fish farm in Matresfjorden has an unusual long rectangular shape, whereas most we sea have the pens grouped more together. We later learned this a research fish farm run by the Institute of Marine Research in Matre.
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Cliff Trail
From Storursfjellet we followed a reasonable trail, shown on our paper hiking map, west back towards Matre. The map showed two switchbacks that we had trouble finding, but eventually got on the right route. Here we’ve just finished the first part that ran right along the edge of the clifftop that Jennifer is looking at.
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Stairs
We had even more trouble finding the second portion of the switchback, but after several aborted attempts we arrived at a set of stairs right along the cliff and were confident we were on the right path. Trail-finding is a lot easier with a GPX plot of the route.
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Lise Dyrhovden
We stopped to chat with Matre resident Lise Dyrhovden and her partner. Lise works at the Institute of Marine Research, but also is a weaver.
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Baskets
Some of the beautiful woven baskets that Lise Dyrhovden makes in Matre.
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Frode Oppedal
Later that evening we met another Institute of Marine Research employee. Frode Oppedal came by with his two young children to say hello. Spitfire, who doesn’t see kids very often and usually stays well away from visitors, was very curious about the “small people”. They in turn were captivated by Spitfire and were so careful and quiet with him that he got quite close.

We very much enjoyed chatting with Frode and learning more about the Institute and their work. He joked that Matre is the most educated community in Norway because it’s a small town with a relatively high number of PhDs due to the Institute.

9/28/2020
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Fog
A light fog over Matresfjorden as we set out from Matre on a hike up Nipa.
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Old Road
The path to the Nipa trailhead leads along the old road, strung along a cliff edge as is common for older Norwegian coastal mountain roads. This, and many others, have been replaced with tunnels and are open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic only. We could see the old road from our anchorage and were looking forward to walking along it.
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Trailhead
At the trailhead for 1,925-ft (587m) Nipa. The day is so warm, at 57°F (14°C) in late September, that we’re down to T-shirts.
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Mushroom
A large, “Alice in Wonderland” mushroom along the trail to Nipa.
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Nonkletten
View to Nonkletten, that we climbed a few days ago, from the altitude 1,881 ft (573 m) along trail up Nipa. The power line towers we photographed are roughly center of the picture.
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Ridge
Following a ridge along the summit of 1,925-ft (587m) Nipa for a view down to Matre.
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Lunch
Lunch with a view to Matre from the summit of 1,925-ft (587m) Nipa.
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Matresoyna
Aerial view to the island Matresoyna, with Dirona visible at upper left.
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Tender
Our tender tied off at the Matre dock, viewed from 1,925-ft (587m) Nipa.
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Perch
Jennifer taking in the straight-down view to Matre from a rocky perch atop 1,925-ft (587m) Nipa. Dirona is visible anchored at right and the Institute of Marine Research is strung along the closest side of the large sports field at left.
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Hans Brattstrom
The Hans Brattstrom, a research vessel owned by the University of Bergen and operated by the Institute of Marine Research, arriving into Matre.
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Botnetjorna
Frode Oppedal recommended a loop route down from Nipa, not shown on our trail map, alongside the lake Botnetjorna. We had a little trouble finding the trail at first, but got on track once we arrived at the lake.
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Footbridge
Enjoying the view to a small river from a footbridge along the loop trail back from Nipa.
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Forest Road
The loop trail back from Nipa eventually widened to an old road through the forest.
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Picnic Table
On the way up to Nipa we passed this enticing picnic table with a view to the anchorage, and stopped for a snack on the return.
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Smordalen
Afer returning from our hike, we ran the tender over to Smordalen to check out the Institute of Marine Research fish farm there. The large silos likely contain different types of fish feed.
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Nipa from Smordalen
View to Nipa, that we just climbed, from the Institute of Marine Research fish farm at Smordalen.
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Matre Marina
The small marina at Matre, tucked behind a breakwater in the bay Matresvagen at the head of Matresfjorden.
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Dock
A Dirona-sized dock opposite the marina at Matre.
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32nd Oil Change
James doing the 32nd oil change on our generator. We normally change the oil 2-3 times per year, but this is the 4th change for 2020 and we’re on track for 1-2 more. The generator has seen substantially more use this year than past years as we’ve spent much more time at anchor and less time in marinas or underway.
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Downpour
Good thing we got our hike in this morning. The beautiful clear morning became a downpour in the afternoon.
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Evening Calm
The downpour at Matre ended as quickly as it started, and we were back to calm conditions in the evening.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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4 comments on “Masfjorden
  1. Joakim says:

    I see, im working as engineroom operataor (ERO) on an oil drilling jackup-rig, we have 4 Caterpillar
    diesel generators, (CAT C280-12) 4500 KW at 900 rpm. And leroy summer generators. We do filter service at 1250 rh, and oil samples sent to lab, including the filters there is 3 centrifugal filters that spin around at high speed mounted on the side of the engines, 2 nozels drive them from the oil pressure on the engine, these we clean at 500 rh. we dont change oil if the results are within spec. they average 45000 rh. The rig is 10 yerars old.

    • You’re mid-speed diesels are excellent with very large capacity oil sumps and far more advanced filtration than those found on small, industrial, agricultural or marine high speed diesels. Our main engine sump capacity is 20 liters, it has only a single oil filter and no centrifuge. At work, we have 100s of Cat 3516s and a small number of C175-16 but even these are emergency use generators rather than the 24×7 units you work with.

      I would love to see your engine room (and also the rest of the rig). Thanks for the comment.

  2. Joakim says:

    How many running hours between oil changes on the generator and the main engine, do you repalce the lubeoil filters at every oilchange? Good luck on your voyage, i enoy to follow your page. All the best.

    Joakim

    • We run 1 year or 250 hours on the main and gen and 150 hours on the wing engine. The wing engine oil usually gets changed once a year since we typically only use it 75 to 125 hours a year. The main and gen always hit hours before time. The main can go to 375 hours when using Deer Plus 50 oil. We always change the filters with engine oil on these engines. The Honda 50 gets an oil and filter every year and, if we are running up more than 100 hours a year (we are in Norway), an oil only change at 100 hours. All other engines on board get annual oil changes.

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