Coastal Vestland

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Vestland is Norway’s newest county, established on January 1, 2020, and lies directly south of More Og Romsdal county. After departing Vestland’s administrative center, Bergen, we spent a week cruising coastal Vestland between Austevoll and Lammavagen. We’d already explored much of inland Vestland, including Nordfjorden, Sognefjorden, and Hardangerfjorden but hadn’t spent much time in the coastal islands.

We made four stops in between weather systems and had a particularly enjoyable tender tour in the beautiful Austevoll Archipelago. We also had some unexpected excitement leaving Lusapollen, where our anchor picked up a cable.

Below are highlights from Jan 15th through 21st, 2021. 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

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Power Cords
Our power cords were so cold on leaving Bergen they were difficult to coil. Dropping them in the engine room for a half-hour or so warmed them up and made them more supple again.
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Thawing Hatch
The temperatures was below freezing last night and the forward hatch where we keep our ground tackle gear froze shut. Pouring a bucket of hot water over the lid thawed it enough to open.
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Austevoll Anchorage
Our anchorage in the Austevoll Archipelago in 95 ft (29m) on 300 ft (91m) of rode.
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Crane Piston
The crane extension was seized when we tried to drop the tender today. It appears that it was frozen and the system was unable to break the ice with the weight of the tender also resisting it. We lowered the tender back to the deck and the extension then broke free.

While working on the this, we noticed the extension block on the boom where the hydraulic piston rod connects to the extension was loose. We removed the block from the extension and unbolted the hydraulic extension cylinder to allow he block plate to be turned. We then removed the two machine screws that hold the extension block to the extension block mounting plate, cleaned them, applied Loctite and tightened them back up. We reattached everything and all fasteners now are now tight and it’s functioning properly. We really rely on the crane, so it’s great to see it working well again.

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Greasing Boom
A weakness of the original Steelhead ES1500 crane was the crane extension friction surfaces. The early versions of this crane shipped with aluminum-on-aluminum friction surfaces. This works very poorly and failed almost right away, where the aluminum at the interface balls up due to friction and once that starts, it accelerates quickly. Our initial fix was to grind off all the rough surfaces to return both sides to smooth aluminum on aluminum. We then greased the crane extension friction surface and between that and being careful to not operate the extension mechanism when the crane is horizontal. The grease is the key part of the solution, but only operating the extension mechanism when the crane is near vertical (lower loads) or is not loaded at all really helps as well. This fix lasted for 6 more years.

In 2018 we re-manufactured the crane and machined the friction surfaces down to make space for a glue-in synthetic friction surface. This works well, but we still grease the surface once a year to reduce the risk of damage to the friction surface. Here’s we’re greasing the surface on schedule.

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Dirona at anchor on a calm and clear day in the Austevoll Archipelago.
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New Mittens
Our hands and feet had been getting a little cold on some of our longer tender trips, so we bought some warmer socks and new mittens on our recent trip to Bergen. The new mittens are gigantic and as warm as they look.
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Passing under a footbridge over a small boat channel on a tender exploration of the Austevoll Archipelago.
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Reflections in the still waters of Dronspollen on the east side of the island of Dronen.
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Waterfront House
A spectacular modern waterfront home perched on the southern tip of the island of Bjanesoya.
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Fairly thick ice forming at the southern end of Heiamarkpollen in the Austevoll Archipelago.
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An old dam at Fleskaryggsundet in the Austevoll Archipelago.
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Skandi Ships
We keep coming across offshore supply vessels tucked away throughout Norway with the oil industry downturn.
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The fast ferry Admiralen passing through the Austevoll Archipelago near sunrise.
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Stolmasundet Bridge
Approaching the Stolmasundet Bridge between the islands of Stolmen and Selbjorn on the Norwegian outer coast. The clearance looks tight, but its 98 feet (30m).
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45 knots
The winds were gusting to 45 knots as we crossed Selbjornsfjorden, kicking up the seas. We were both pitching and rolling (at left, near bottom) over 15°.
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Lusapollen Anchorage
Our anchorage in Lusapollen in 64 ft (20m) on 180 ft (55m) of rode. The narrow and shallow entry channel to the basin required care to navigate in the dark, but we’re now snug inside.
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Battery Temperature
Our Maretron system flagged excess battery temperature. They’re not unsafely high at 110°F, but that’s higher than we normally see. It hasn’t repeated since, so may have been a transient measurement problem.
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Anchor Fouled
The anchor was fouled in a cable when we raised it this morning. A charted cable does run along west shore in Lusapollen, but it was 200ft (60m) from where we dropped anchor (and newer charts show it even further away). Perhaps this is an older cable, or it had been dragged off position.

We hooked the cable with our Ultra trip hook, lowered the anchor away from the cable, then dropped the cable off the hook and were free in minutes.

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Trip Hook
We’ve not used our Ultra trip hook much, but it’s come in super-handy on several occasions like this, such as when we snagged a logging cable in Teakerne Arm, BC. We hook the fouling item with the trip hook, then secure the line in Jennifer’s left hand on deck. Then we can lower the anchor out of the way as the hook holds the fouling item. And finally, we pull the line in Jennifer’s right hand to release the item from the hook.
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Surface Cable
Most charted cables run along the seabed. This one runs along the water surface—you can just see it crossing between the two islets in front of the no anchoring sign.
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The fast ferry Admiralen, that we saw a few days earlier in the Austevoll Archipelago, underway in Stokksund.
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Rubbestadneset Anchorage
Our anchorage in the islets north of Rubbestadneset, in 90 ft (27m) on 300 ft (91m) of rode.
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Lammavagen Anchorage
Our anchorage in Lammavagen in 43 ft (13m) on 200 ft (61m) of rode. We’d considered anchoring here on our way north, but several boats already were inside.
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Pantry Latch
Replacing the latch on the lower pantry slide-out in the galley. We’ve gone through at least a dozen of these latches over the life of the boat. Fortunately they are easy to replace.
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Bell Housing Plug
Last summer, we replaced the generator cylinder head. Prior to top end service, the rear main oil seal was leaking very badly. So badly that, with the front cover off, it would spray oil all the way to the wing engine. The weird thing is once we changed the cylinder head, the oil leak completely stopped. Our theory is that the bad #3 exhaust valve meant that the #3 cylinder wasn’t firing, so the diesel injected into the cylinder was leaking past the pistons into the sump. This oil dilution was causing our tired rear main oil seal to leak fairly badly. With a new cylinder head and an oil change the oil leak was completely stopped.

After nearly 1,000 hours, the engine has returned to having a nuisance rear main oil seal leak. Just enough that it dribbles out the magnet RPM pickup hole in the bell housing over the course of about 20 hours but it’s otherwise not annoying. The engine doesn’t need oil top ups and, other than the oil dribbling from this one location, the only evidence of oil leak is the oil diaper under the engine does pick up oil.

We hate oil leaking down the side of the engine, so we replaced the plastic plug that is placed in the magnet pickup hole (on engines not equipped with a magnetic pickup) with a plastic plug equipped with an O-ring. With this nice-looking little addition, the engine stays nice and clean. It’s a simple solution to avoid an annoying oil leaking onto the outside of the engine and and the rear main leaks so little that we’ll not change it until it starts to leak measurable amounts of oil or is making a mess.

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Another storm system is on the way. The barometer has been plummeting and now is down to 954mb, and the winds (tell-tale on wind gauge at top row near right) have been gusting to 41 kts.
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


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