Bergen and Area


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The complex waters around Bergen are a diverse combination of coastal islands, high-current waterways and mountain fjords with equally diverse attractions.

Northeast of Bergen, the country’s largest inland island, Osteroy, has several excellent hiking trails. Extending about 30nm along Norway’s exposed North Sea coast directly west of Bergen lies the island group municipality of Oygarden, the site of an experimental wave power plant to harness the powerful waves there.

Inland near Lindas, the tidal currents are so strong that one of Norway’s two saltwater locks was constructed there to allow steamships to pass at any stage of the tide. Deeper inland at the head of Masfjorden is a unique feat of 19th-century engineering: a stone staircase complete with handrails leading straight up the side of a cliff to reach the mountain farm Kringlebotn.

And a little to the north are Skjerjehamn, a popular summer destination with a sculpture park, and Gulafjorden, where an attractive memorial park was constructed to commemorate the parliament held there a millenium ago.


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In the third stage of our detailed exploration of the Norwegian coast, we continued north from Hardangerfjord to spend five weeks in the Bergen area. Over that period, we made 23 stops and traveled 339 miles, but only covered 45 miles point-to-point. We also spent several days in Bergen, including a road trip to Sweden to meet Norwegian immigration requirements.


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Below are highlights from September 11th to October 23rd, 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.

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Hardangerfjord to Osteroy
After two months of near-continuous cruising in Norway, we’d covered 640 miles and made 33 stops. Yet we had only reached Bergen, a mere 102 miles north of our port of entry at Stavanger. The Norwegian coast is a complex and interesting one, with a seemingly endless number of high-quality anchorages and attractions.

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Bruvik
Besides being a sheltered and appealing anchorage, another reason we’d stopped at Bruvik was to climb 1,920-ft (585m) Bruviknipa. The hike is one of the most popular on the island of Osteroy because of its fabulous fjord landscape views.

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Stamnshella
The village of Stamnshella, at the mouth of the Bolstadfjorden, has been a church site since the early 14th century. Today the village lies on highway 569, connecting Bergen to the island of Osteroy via bridges over the Bolstadfjorden and the Veafjorden. We’d driven along a portion of the Bolstadfjorden on our 2018 day trip from Bergen to Hardangerfjord, and this time explored the beautiful waterway by tender while anchored off Stamnshella.

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Hogafjellet
2,812-ft (857 m) Hogafjellet is the highest mountain on the island Osteroy, with great views from the summit. A further appeal for us in making the hike was several technical aspects en route, including ladders, boardwalks, bridges and staircases. We also walked under two power station penstocks, and passed three dams and two sets of hiker’s cabins.

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Lindas
The narrow and shallow channels leading into the large basins near Lindas, Norway are subject to strong tidal currents, making entry difficult for larger displacement vessels at other than slack water. The entry was important enough that a saltwater lock was completed in 1908 to allow steamships to enter at any stage of the tide. The lock is one of only two saltwater locks in Norway (the other is the Skjoldastraumen Lock that we visited a few weeks earlier). With the advent of roads in the area, the lock fell into disuse in the 1950s and the gates were left permanently open starting in 1963.

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Landing
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.

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Austfjorden
We didn’t intend to stop for long in Austfjorden as we continued our detailed tour of the Norwegian coast. But on a tender tour of the area, we explored Kjekallevagen along the eastern shore. The high-sloped basin, ribboned with waterfalls, looked so dramatic and beautiful that we just had to stop there and hike to the top.

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Steinsvagen
While hiking Saeterfjellet above Kjekallevagen, we could see a group of large oil rigs moored about twenty nautical miles away at the island of Sandoyna. They looked super-interesting, and we decided that visiting them would be our next adventure.

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Return to Bergen
In the fall of 2020, we made our third major plan change of the year. We’d been enjoying our Norwegian cruising so much that, rather than return to Scotland in October, we decided instead to winter in Norway.

From the anchorage opposite the oil rigs in Steinsvagen, we made a two-day run south to Bergen, enjoying the beautiful fall colors along the way. On arriving into Norway’s second largest city, we moored in pretty much the same place as our previous visit in 2018. There we picked up a load of diesel, provisioned groceries and shopped for warmer clothes for the upcoming Norwegian winter.

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Road Trip to Sweden
As an EU citizen and accompanying family member, we can stay in the Schengen immigration area for an unlimited time period. But if we stay longer than 90 days in Norway (and most other Schengen countries), we must register as residents. We’ve decided not to do that, and instead exited the country briefly to Sweden.

From Bergen, we made a 400-mile (650km) road trip to Torsby, just across the Swedish border. Our route took us through many tunnels, including the Laerdalstunnelen, the longest road tunnel in the world at 15.23 miles (24.51 km).

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Kjerrgardsosen
Kjerrgardsosen is a large, sheltered basin north of Bergen, with a nice hike nearby and excellent territory to explore in the tender. We arrived there after a 15nm run from Bergen on a beautiful, clear October day and spent three nights at anchor. We toured the area by tender, enjoyed a hike on the well-maintained trail between Skotnes and Davanger, and completed a few boat projects, including upgrading our raw water washdown pump.

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Oygarden
The island group municipality of Oygarden lies direction west of Bergen and extends about 30nm along Norway’s exposed North Sea coast. The eastern shores offer protected coastal cruising, while the western sides see the full force of North Sea storms. The wave strength is such that the island of Toftoyna was chosen as the site of an experimental wave power plant. Unfortunately a fierce storm destroyed the plant three years after its completion.

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Fedje
The island of Fedje is a popular summer boating and tourist destination, with a large sheltered harbour and excellent trails ashore. Of particular interest to us was a chance to walk a section of the North Sea Trail, an EU-funded, international collaboration to create a network of hiking trails along the North Sea. Participating countries include Norway, Sweden, Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany.

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Skjerjehamn
From the island of Fedje, we continued north to Skjerjehamn, also a popular summer tourist and boating destination. The coastal town is known for its many sculptures, including The Blue Garden, an outdoor sculpture trail and exhibit about aquaculture. After a 20-mile, 3.5-hour run, we anchored at the nearby island of Bjoroyna and ran the tender in for an enjoyable tour of the sculptures and the surrounding area.

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Gulafjorden
The Gulating, in Gulafjorden, was the site of Norway’s annual parliamentary assembly from 900-1300AD, believed to have been established by Viking king Harald Fairhair. After 1300, the assembly was held in Bergen, where the Gulating Court of Appeal still sits today. In 2005, a memorial erected on the site to commemorate the 1,000 years of the Gulating.

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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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8 comments on “Bergen and Area
  1. IBM says:

    It’s been an enjoyable surprise to see your boat suddenly turn up on MarineTraffic, and I wish you a pleasant stay and safe journey.

  2. IBM says:

    Bruviknipa is 822 m to climb? Anyway, Bruviknipa is my favorite. Cheers!

    • In Norway, it’s challenging to choose a favorite with so many amazing hikes but Bruviknipa right up there for us as well.

      • IBM says:

        I like your way of exploring btw. It’s like a premium Hurtigruten. Autonomous + WFH = ? Farsund is also very nice. Probably not the best season and better without COVID-19.

        • Premium Hurtigruten? Love it! That’s exactly what we have been doing.

          You’re right Farsund is very nice. What we found shocking on the way in is 2″ ice on the way into the harbor. It looked like it was only a couple of boat lengths to open water so we pushed through and when we got to the “open water” it was still frozen and just original ice rather than ice that had been broken up by a ship passing and then refreezing. So we ended up pushing through 100′ or so of ice and loosing bottom paint and probably taking some glass damage on the bow. It’ll be easy to fix when the boat next comes out of the water but we’ve never operated in ice 1/4 that thick. And, we probably shouldn’t in the future if it’s avoidable.

          • IBM says:

            Have you considered dolphins for hull inspection (Steve Zissou)? Perhaps more nice to have in 2021…Farsund isn’t normally very cold. But ice can be thick enough to walk on. I’m sure my former «neighbor» and CEO of FFS Marine could you a hand if in need. There’s also an American shop in Vanse which is charming. I bought an awesome American flag blanket there.

            • Yes, there is a lot of ice in the Farsund area. We found 2″ of ice on the way in which completely removed the bottom paint on the bow and may have done some gel coat damage. Our plan for when we leave is wait until one of the FFS tug fleet is coming in or leaving and let them break the ice and we’ll follow. Even then pushing ice out of way isn’t great for a fiberglass boat.

              Your neighbors tugs will likely be helping us to have to manage less ice when we leave.

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