Geirangerfjord


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Geirangerfjord, a branch of Storfjorden, is one of the better known and popular fjords in Norway and is part of the West Norwegian Fjords UNESCO World Heritage Site. Full-sized cruise ships regularly travel the waterway, as do the Hurtigruten coastal ferries, local ferries and countless other commercial vessels. A lesser-known branch of of Storfjorden is Tafjorden, where in 1934 a 2.6 million cubic yard (2 million cubic meter) section of a mountain broke off and dropped over 2,300 ft (700m) into the fjord, producing a 200-ft (60m) tsunami that raced up the fjord and overtook three villages, killing 40 people.

When we visited Geirangerfjord by car in 2018, the village of Geiranger at the head was packed with tourists from the 1,092ft (332m) cruise ship MSC Preziosa. When we returned later that year on a 90-mile tender run through Storfjorden, we again found the town busy with tourists.

This year we retraced that tender run in Dirona, albeit at a much slower pace. From Romsdalsfjorden, we spent a night at Torlevagen then continued on to spend New Year’s Eve anchored at the head of Geirangerfjord. Normally this wouldn’t be allowed because we were right where the cruise ships moor, but with the cruise industry on hold during the pandemic, there weren’t any ships for us to interfere with.

We felt particularly lucky to be in that unique and beautiful anchorage and spent a memorable three nights there. We enjoyed an unexpected New Year’s Eve fireworks display, and on New Year’s Day went for a hike through the snow to the partially frozen waterfall Storsaeterfossen and got some great views along the way. We then spent a night at anchored at the head of Tafjorden, where we watched the Norwegian disaster movie The Wave, based on the Tafjord Tsunami, but filmed and set in Geiranger.

We completed our tour of Storfjorden anchored near the mouth off the town of Valle. There we made a tender tour of the area on a clear but very cold day, with the temperature at 27°F (-2.7°C).

Below are highlights from December 29th, 2020 through Jan 3rd, 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 mvdirona.com/maps.

12/29/2020
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Ferry
Ferry crossing Langfjorden at 7am on the Afarnes-Solsnes route.
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Traffic
Heavy traffic, most heading to or from Molde, at we exit Langfjorden. Directly off our bow is the fast ferry Jektoey (highlighted red triangle), a fishboat is close to port (black circle with dashed line extending forward, indicating course and speed), the ferries Moldefjord and Fannefjord are crossing ahead (blue triangles), the ferry Glutra just arrived at the terminal Moldefjord departed from, and the vessel Skorgnes (green triangle) is southeast of Glutra. The triangles are AIS targets and the circle is an ARPA target.
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Fannefjord
The ferry Fannefjord passing in front of us towards the dock at Vestnes.
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Scanbio Dart
The waste disposal vessel Scanbio Dart passing us in the channel to the new Lepsoy Bridge that surprised us a couple of weeks back. The channel is narrow and a bit of a constriction point along the coast, and we always seem to encounter other traffic there.
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Alesund
Approaching the bridge over Steinvagsundet as we head through Alesund en route to spend New Year’s Eve in Geirangerfjord.
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Tug Assist
Small tug assisting one of several Russian ships at a shipyard outside Alesund. And even though the tug on the bow is remarkably small for the size of the vessel it’s pulling, the outboard-powered skiff visible at the right side of the picture has just dropped his line from helping with the stern.
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Torlevagen Anchorage
Our anchorage in Torlevagen outside Alesund in 79 ft (24 m) on 250 ft (76 m) of rode.
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Moonrise
Spectacular moonrise over the anchorage at Torlevagen.
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Impeller Failure
Broken impeller blades sticking out of the generator heat exchanger inlet boot. All but three blades on the raw water pump impeller were thrown, but we found them all.
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Dusk
Dusk looking west from the anchorage at Torlevagen to the shipyard we passed en route to the anchorage.
12/30/2020
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Vegsundet
Approaching the narrow and shallow channel Vegsundet, that will bring us to Storfjorden and on to Geirangerfjorden.
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Close Quarters
Close quarters as we approach the 53-ft (16.2m) bridge over Vegsundet.
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Shallow
The channel Vegsundet is well-marked, but really narrow, with the shallows right next to the boat clearly visible in our sidelights.
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Stranda
The town of Stranda with the Sunnmore mountains beyond.
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Sunnylvsfjorden
Cruising up mountainous Sunnylvsfjorden shortly before sunrise at 9:42am.
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Grautnibba
Dramatic Grautnibba rises 4,133-ft (1,260m) nearly strait up from Geirangerfjorden. The fjord’s spectacular scenery make it one of Norway’s most visited attractions.
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Nearing Geiranger
Approaching Geiranger at the head of Geirangerfjorden. On our previous visit in the summer of 2018, a large cruise ship was in town and the place was packed with tourists. It’s looking pretty quiet now.
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Geirangerfjord Anchorage
Our anchorage at the head of Geirangerfjord in 107 ft (33m) on 300 ft (91 m) of rode. The depth makes it a less common choice for another pleasure craft to anchor here, but this normally wouldn’t even be allowed because we are right where the cruise ships moor. With the cruise industry on hold during the pandemic however, there aren’t any ships for us to interfere with. We feel particularly lucky to be in this unique and beautiful anchorage.
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Web Cam
Blog reader Ulrich Sonneborn found us on the Geiranger web cam.
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Anchor Ball
One of the fins on our anchor ball tore off in a storm, so we replaced the entire unit with a spare.
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Geitfjellet
Looking down Geirangerfjorden across our anchorage to snow-covered 5,298-ft (1615m) Geitfjellet.
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Geiranger
The view to Geiranger from our anchorage at the head of Geirangerfjorden.
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Happy Hour
The lights of Geiranger, viewed from Happy Hour in the cockpit.
12/31/2020
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Wing Fuel Filter
The wing engine primary filter changed after 184 hours. The filter is still in good shape and not close to having measurable flow resistance, but there is black showing on the bottom 1/2 of the filter. This residue is asphaltenes that precipitate out of diesel during storage. A good measure of this is to watch the main engine filters since they get more hours of use and are changed on flow resistance rather than time. Since the main engine filters still last 375 to 500+ hours between changes, the asphaltenes building up in the tanks aren’t yet a problem. Most boats will need a tank clean after 10 to 20 years and we suspect we will eventually as well.
1/1/2021
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Fireworks
We usually try catch a fireworks display on New Year’s Eve, but with most celebrations this year canceled or heavily curtailed, we felt being in Geirangerfjorden would be special enough. We weren’t expecting to see any fireworks, but Geiranger residents put on quite a display. This will certainly be one of our more memorable New Year’s Eve stops.
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Tender
The tender tied off at the Geiranger guest harbour for a New Year’s Day hike to Storsaeterfossen.
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Trailhead
At the trailhead for our hike to Storsaeterfossen, along Fosserasa (The Waterfall Trail).
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Marakelva
The first part of the Fosserasa trail leads up a staircase with viewing platforms beside the river Marakelva. The river spills down through the middle of Geiranger and down into Geirangerfjorden.
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Fosserasa
Map of Fosserasa, the waterfall trail, along the staircase beside the river Marakelva.
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Marakelva from Above
Looking down into Geirangerfjorden from the top of the stairs along the river Marakelva. Dirona is just visible at anchor in the distance (click image for a larger view).
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Fireworks
Remnants of the New Year’s Eve fireworks displays.
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eMobility
Dozens of eMobility electric Twizzy cars stored at Geiranger.
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Morkja
The path up the hillside Morkja follows the old road up to Vesteras.
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Grinddalsnibba
5,367-ft (1,636m) Grinddalsnibba burst into view as we entered a clearing.
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Vesteras
Looking southeast to Vesteras towards Grinddalsnibba on a spur trail to the Vesterasfjellet viewpoint. The old Vesteras farmhouse, dating from 1603, now is a popular restaurant and hotel.
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Lostad
We walked a little way along the trail to Lostad, looking for views, then returned back out to the Vesterasfjellet viewpoint.
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Vesterasfjellet
Fabulous views down Geirangerfjorden from the Vesterasfjellet viewpoint 920 ft (280m) above the water.
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Moorage
View down to Dirona anchored at the head of Geirangerfjorden from the Vesterasfjellet viewpoint. The two bouys in front of the boat and the one behind are part of the mooring system for large cruise ships. The white snake-like structure with blue edges at the bottom of the picture is the Geiranger SeaWalk, a floating ramp that is extended out to the moored ship to allow passengers to walk directly from ship to shore. This is much more environmentally friendly than shuttling passengers back and forth in the cruise ship’s small boats.
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Geiranger
View to the town of Geiranger from the Vesterasfjellet viewpoint. The river Marakelva that we walked alongside on the first part of the trail is roughly at center, near the clump of trees.
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Stairs
The stairs we took from the waterfront along the river Marakelva to the upper level of town.
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Geitfjellet
View down Geirangerfjorden from the Vesterasfjellet viewpoint to snow-covered 5,298-ft (1615m) Geitfjellet
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Back on Fosserasa
Back on the trail Fosserasa to the waterfall Storsaeterfossen. The snow was getting pretty deep now at altitude 1208 ft (368 m).
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Footsteps
Looking northeast on the trail to Storsaeterfossen with 5,367-ft (1,636m) Grinddalsnibba in the background. We’re definitely not the only ones to be out hiking recently—there are lots of footprints in the fresh snow.
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Storsaeterfossen
Our first view to beautiful Storsaeterfossen.
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Finger Post
Lots of trail choices near Storsaeterfossen.
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Towards Falls
There weren’t any footsteps on the spur trail to Storsaeterfossen and the snow was quite deep.
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Deep Snow
Jennifer almost up to her knees in snow as we near Storsaeterfossen.
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Path to Falls
Storsaeterfossen is a popular destination because a trail leads right under the falls.
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Slippery
Thick ice had formed near the falls and the going was extremely slippery.
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Under Falls
Standing underneath the falls. What a fabulous New Years Day hike!
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Ice
The railings underneath the falls were coated with thick ice and looked wild.
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Icicles
Long icicles hung from the cavern behind the falls—we were careful not to get underneath any of them as they could do some serious damage if one fell on us.
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Skiing
We were able to partially ski back down on some of the steeper sections as we returned back out from Storsaeterfossen.
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Summer Cabins
Back at Geiranger, we passed thes striking summer cabins back.
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Marakvegen
The last time we were walked Marakvegen in Geiranger, the streets were packed with tourists. Today we saw perhaps two other people.
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Geirangerfjord
View from Geiranger to our anchorage in spectacular Geirangerfjord.
1/2/2021
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Snow
Snow and strong winds as we depart the anchorage at Geirangerfjorden.
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49 knots
We saw gusts to 49 knots from the south as we ran out of Sunnylvsjforden from Geirangerfjorden. But the winds have settled and we expect calm conditions overnight at the head of Tafjorden.
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Sylte
The town of Sylte beneath snow-covered mountains in Norddalsfjorden, a branch of the main Storfjorden.
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Langhammeren
In 1934, a 2.6 million cubic yard (2 million cubic meter) section of the mountain Langhammeren broke off and dropped over 2,300 ft (700m) into Tafjorden. The water displaced produced a 200-ft (60m) tsunami that raced up the fjord and overtook three villages, killing 40 people. The scar from the landslide is visible roughly at the center of the photo, directly beneath the highest peak.
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Tafjord Anchorage
Our anchorage off the village of Tafjord at the head of Tafjorden in 100ft (30m) on 300ft (90m) of rode.
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31.2 Degrees
The temperature (upper center) is just below freezing at 31.2°F (-0.4°C).
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PSS
On a recent run up to full RPM, the PSS (packless shaft seal) backed off due to shaft vibration. As a safety precaution, we have another collar preventing the PSS from backing off all the way, but it still let a lot of water in. The primary problem is the shaft vibration, which isn’t really noticable but still needs to be resolved.

For now, we tightened the PSS boot to the correct tension and moved the safety collar up so the rotor can’t move down. This will work fairly well with only a occasional drip due to shaft vibration.

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Spitfire
Spitfire in his latest new sleeping spot, on the rug above the generator where we dry our hiking boots after washing them.
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Tafjord
View to the landslide scar in the mountain Langhammeren from the anchorage off Tafjord at the head of Tafjorden. When the tsunami reached Tafjord, it was still 55 ft (17m) high and sent water up to a thousand feet (300 m) inland, decimating the village and killing 23 people.
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Fishfinder
Our Furuno DFF1 fish finder that we use as a depth sounder has been intermittent for a few weeks and now never shows depth. Here we are testing the connections to make sure everything it secure, but that didn’t resolve the problem.
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The Wave
Since we were in Tafjord, we decided to watch the Norwegian disaster movie The Wave. The movie is filmed and set in Geiranger where we just were, but is based on the Tafjord Tsunami. We quite enjoyed the movie and it was interesting to see some of the places we’d just visited.
1/3/2021
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High RPM
Running at high RPM to verify that the PSS no longer leaks in that situation. It doesn’t.
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Valle
The town of Valle with snow-covered 3,507-ft (1,069m) Blaskjerdingen in the background.
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Solnorvika Anchorage
Our anchorage in Solnorvika in 74 ft (23 m) on 250 ft (76 m) of rode. You can see the warning on the top of the screen that one of our depth sounders no longer is working.
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Oil Change
Performing the 43rd oil and filter change on the main engine, at 11,533 hours. Our standard change interval is every 250 hours.
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Dirona
Looking northeast across the anchorage at Solnorvika towards 2,060-ft (628 m) Lebergsfjellet.
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Sore Dragsundet
Breaking a thin surface ice as we enter the narrow and shallow channel Sore Dragsundet. It’s cold today with the temperature at 27°F (-2.7°C)
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Skodjevika
Reflections into Skodjevika on a calm and clear day.
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Storstraumen Bridge
The old National Heritage Board-protected Storstraumen Bridge with the new Straumsbrua behind. The original bridge opened on 1922, and was closed to traffic in 2004 when the new bridge was completed.
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At Speed
It gets cold running at speed in the tender, but we’re dressed warmly. We’ve been making good use of the winter gear we picked up in Bergen and Forde.
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Alesund
Without really intending to, we ended up running the 16-nm length of the island Uksenoya all the way to Alesund on our tender tour from Solnorvika.
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Mountains
Mountain views as we return to Solnorvika from Alesund. The winter scenery is really starting to take shape.
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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