Thawing in Farsund


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Valentine’s Day 2021 brought an online Pearl Jam concert and the end of the cold snap in Farsund, with the temperature soaring 18° to above freezing at 37.8°F (3.2°C) from the previous day’s low of 19.1°F (-7.2°C). The ice melted as quickly as it formed, and over the course of ten days we went from completely frozen in to having no ice visible near the boat.

Partway through the warmer weather, the temperatures again dropped below freezing while the ice was still more than four inches thick. Not wanting the thawing to stall, we came up with what we think is an innovative way to work a boat out of ice without damage. Exploiting the fact that the water below the ice surface was warmer than freezing, we put the engine in gear and the warm water cut away the ice like a flame thrower.

We’d also met earlier in the week with John Nilsen, the CEO of FFS Marine, whose tugs moor beside the Farsund guest harbour to ask if it would be possible to have one of the passing tugs break a section free behind us. Pictured above is the FFS Amaranth easing into the ice behind Dirona later that evening after we’d washed down the ice. If you look carefully, you can see a crack starting to spread in the ice from the aft corner of the tug. And you can also see the tug has thrown lots of water on top of the ice as well, which speeds melting. By the end of the day, we had a clear path behind us to the tug berth.

The FFS Amaranth captain warned us that the ice was still very thick in the outer harbour and didn’t recommend leaving right away. He expected the ice to be all gone by the end of the upcoming weekend, and he was right. The ice was completely gone a few days later.

Below are highlights from February 14th through 23rd, 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.

2/14/2021
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Sunrise
We sure have been getting some beautiful sunrises in Farsund. We were expecting to have a lot more snow and storms while in Norway over the winter, but the weather has been surprisingly clear and calm much of the time.
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37.8F
The cold snap appears to be over and temperature jumped up 18° today from yesterday’s low of 19.1°F (-7.2°C) to above freezing at 37.8°F (3.2°C).
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Pearl Jam
One of our favourite bands, Pearl Jam, temporarily made available a stream of their iconic 2018 Seattle hometown concerts that we watched as part of our Valentine’s Day celebration. The group put in a fabulous show, playing 36 songs over nearly three hours. We particularly enjoyed cameo appearances from other local grunge band members, such as Soundgarden’s talented lead guitarist Kim Thayil.
2/15/2021
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Snow
A light snow fell overnight in Farsund and everything was hushed and white this morning.
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Testing Ice
With the temperatures above freezing, the ice is obviously melting. It looked slushy behind the boat, so we tested it with a boat hook. It’s most definitely not slushy and remains very thick. Looking down cracks in the ice, it still appears to be 5-6 inches thick.
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HVAC Outflow
The HVAC outflow is melting the ice off the port stern. If it keeps melting at this rate, we’ll be free by May :-).
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Farsund Guest Harbour
We’re out on an afternoon walk to enjoy today’s fresh snowfall. This is the view across the Farsund guest harbour.
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Path
Following yet another newly-discovered path up to the hill behind the Farsund guest harbour.
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Theis
The workboat Theis, that we watched break out of the ice in Krossnessundet a couple of weeks ago, moored at the Farsund inner harbour surrounded by large sheets of ice.
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Dirona
The ice is melting and breaking up with the warmer weather, but Dirona remains firmly frozen in place and the ice is still quite thick.
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Happy Hour
Happy Hour in Farsund. Since we were all bundled up for our walk, we didn’t bother putting on the Mustang suits. All the new winter gear we bought has been working out super well, and we’re loving the Baffin boots we picked up here in Farsund.
2/16/2021
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Farsund Views
Morning view from our berth at the Farsund guest harbour (clockwise from top left: forward, aft, starboard and port). The ice still is thick around is, but definitely is starting to melt. It’s looking much better behind us in particular.
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Heat Exchanger Zincs
We replaced the hydraulic system heat exchanger zincs. These were completely gone, so we upped the frequency to 16 weeks between changes.
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Antifreeze
Here we are removing the antifreeze from the wing engine in order to change the thermostat. This is a simple little trick. It’s not possible to get a sufficiently large container underneath the drain cock on the wing engine because of the proximity of the batteries. So years ago we installed a very long hose that we just unroll, drop in a bucket, drain the antifreeze and then roll the hose back up and tuck it away. This makes a slow and/or messy job quick and easy.
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Wing Thermostat
Replacing the wing engine thermostat with a spare. The wing engine wouldn’t get warmer than 160°F (71°C) and it’s been like that for several weeks. It now warms to 176°F (80°C) in near-freezing outside temperatures.
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Thermostat and Gasket
The old wing engine thermostat and gasket. The thermostat is stuck in the open position after eleven years of use.
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Groceries
Another load of groceries coming back in the snow.
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Sorlandets Dyreklinikk
Snow falling At Sorlandets Dyreklinikk (veterinarian) in Farsund where we took Spitfire for his rabies and standard vaccination shots.
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Spitfire
Returning from the Sorlandets Dyreklinikk (veterinarian) with Spitfire. The temperature is 37°F (2.8°C) and the clinic is about a half-hour walk from the boat, so we put extra insulation in his carry bag and wrapped the whole bag up in a heavy blanket. 17-year-old Spitfire didn’t seem to mind the temperature, but he objected vociferously to the bouncy ride in places where we had to cross piles of shoveled or plowed snow that had refrozen.
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Ice Breaking Up
The ice continues to break up behind us as the temperature stays above freezing.
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Guest Dock
The big piece of ice behind us detached from the dock this afternoon. This is the first time in at least ten days we’ve seen clear water directly off the stern. That piece is 5-6 inches thick, so we’re still a ways from getting out, but things definitely are heading in the right direction.
2/17/2021
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Cockpit Shower Head
We found a water leak at the starboard aft corner of the lazarette and discovered the cockpit shower head has suffered freeze damage. We must have not gotten all the water out of it before temperatures dropped below freezing. We have a new part on order.
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Engine Wash
The air temperature has fallen back down to just below freezing, which will not help our frozen-in-ice situation. But the water temperature is much warmer at 45°F (7°C). In seeing how well the HVAC outflow melted the ice around the boat, we came up with what we think is an innovative way to work a boat out of ice without damage. Here the ice is still more than 4 inches thick, but we’re exploiting the fact that the water below the ice surface is, of course, warmer than freezing. So we put the engine in gear and you can see the warm water is cutting away the ice like a flame thrower. This is the result after only eight minutes.
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Melting Progress
By moving the rudder, we were able to direct the engine wash to different parts of the ice behind us and after forty minutes had melted a substantial amount of it.
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FFS Amaranth
Earlier in the week James met with John Nilsen, the CEO of FFS Marine, who operates the tugs that moor beside the Farsund guest harbour. We explained we were stuck in the ice and asked if it would be possible to have one of the passing tugs break a section free behind us. He said sure, but the captain would have to make the final decision on the safety of the job when the tugs returned back into harbour later in the week. This is the FFS Amaranth easing into the ice behind Dirona. If you look carefully, you can see a crack starting to spread in the ice from the aft corner of the tug. And you can also see the tug has thrown lots of water on top of the ice as well, which speeds melting.
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Clear Water
After the FFS Amaranth broke free and washed down some of the ice behind us, we now have a navigable path to the tug berth. The captain warned us that the ice was still very thick in the outer harbour and didn’t recommend leaving right away. He expected the ice to be all gone by the end of the upcoming weekend, so we’ll give it more time.
2/18/2021
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Morning Ice
Yesterday we and the tug FFS Amaranth soaked down the ice behind us with engine wash and opened a path to the tug berth (visible at upper right). This morning the ice forward and beside us still is quite thick, but the water behind remains mostly clear. The large floe at upper right ran parallel to the dock last night, but has detached in front of us (upper left) and twisted back onto the dock with the current. The air temperature is 45°F (7.2°C) this morning, so the ice should continue to melt.
2/19/2021
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Morning Ice
After several days of above-freezing temperatures, and two days after soaking down the ice with engine wash, the ice situation has improved markedly. The ice no longer is solid in front and to port (upper and lower left) and the large piece behind us is shrinking (upper right). The marina beside us (bottom right) still is fairly frozen in, but it’s melting too.
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Subduction
In a process similar to tectonic plate subduction, two ice floes slowly collided next to us, with one being pushed up over top of the other as currents shift. Because these chunks of ice are quite large, and some still as thick as four inches, once they get moving, they can hit the hull of our boat fairly hard. In the next picture, you can see the resulting damage from ice in motion.
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Ladder Torn Off
The ice in motion tore off one of the ladders opposite our berth.
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Farsund Guest Harbour
View across the Farsund guest harbour on a walk up the hill behind. The ice situation has really improved in the main fairway, but the marina beside us still is quite frozen in.
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Ice Melting
The view to sea from the Varbak viewpoint in Farsund. The ice situation is much improved compared to a week ago.
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Rederiet Hotel
One of several large ship models in the Farsund Rederiet Hotel.
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Lyngdalsfjorden
We were considering touring through Lyngdalsfjorden after departing Farsund, but it remains firmly frozen and likely won’t thaw for days, if not weeks. That trip is not going to happen.
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Dock Damage
Down the dock from our berth, the ice tore free this wooden dock section.
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Evening Ice
The ice situation continues to improve as night falls. There were a few times during our stay in Farsund that we were starting to worry that we were going to be iced in for many weeks, but overall its been fun and all part of the adventure.
2/20/2021
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Morning Ice
The ice situation has again improved overnight, with the pieces behind us (top right) and to port (bottom left) much smaller now.
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Evening Ice
The ice diminished dramatically during the course of the day. The water behind us (top right) and to port (bottom left) is now mostly clear and the pieces in the marina (bottom right) are much smaller.
2/21/2021
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Temperatures
Salt water freezes at 28.4°F (-2°C), so it’s not surprising that we were surrounded in ice once the air temperature fell to the mid-20°F (-4C°) range. What we did find surprising is that relatively warm 45°F (7°C) water will still freeze at the surface in colder temperatures. We would have thought that the water would conduct heat so much better than air that the entire water column would have to cool before ice formed on the surface. But, as long as the water isn’t moving quickly and mixing, the cold air temperature wins.

When the ice formed a few weeks back, the water temperatures four feet below the surface where our depth-and-temperature transducer is mounted was way above freezing at 45°F. In fact, the water temperature hasn’t changed the entire time we have been in Farsund. When the air temperatures got down into the mid-20°F range, ice formed on the surface and thickened quickly, even though the water temperatures was still 45°F four feet below the surface. Today, the water is still 45°F but now the air is 45°F as well (top center) and the ice is disappearing as quickly as it originally formed.

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Afternoon Ice
The ice has completely gone on all sides except for the marina to starboard, and its melting quickly there too. It’s hard to believe that a week ago we were surrounded by ice 4-6 inches thick and that we couldn’t stab a boat hook through. The ice melted as quickly as it initially formed.
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Ship Departing
Other than the FFS tugs, we haven’t seen much ship traffic in the area since we arrived in Farsund. This is the Finnish-registered cargo ship Misana departing the commercial docks in Lundevagen to our southeast.
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Pork Tacos
Lime-cilantro pork tacos for dinner at Taqueria Dirona.
2/23/2021
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Ice-Free Farsund
For the first time since we’ve arrived in Farsund a month ago, no ice is visible in any of our cameras (clockwise from top left: forward, aft, starboard and port).
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Faucet Cap
We saw temperatures down to 19°F (-7.2°C), which is far colder than we’ve seen in the past in this boat. So we were a bit uneasy about how the plumbing would do. Overall, we did pretty well. Fortunately all the freshwater pipe Nordhavn installed are PEX, which don’t tend to rupture when frozen (the video Copper vs Pex vs SharkBite – Freeze Testing does an excellent comparison of various freshwater pipe material in freezing conditions).

The cockpit shower showerhead was damaged by us not draining it fully and we found the faucets have an interesting fault mode that is avoidable. What we learned is if the faucets freeze in their normal closed position, the faucet itself doesn’t break, but the rubber o-ring that seals it can be damaged by freezing. A surprisingly effective solution is to cap off the faucet and then open it fully. With that solution, we went through a hard freeze cycle with no damage to the capped faucets whatsoever. We didn’t have a cap, so we improvised by replacing the gasket in a quick disconnect fitting with a circular seal.

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Faucet Replacement
Our cap saved the bow freshwater faucet, but we didn’t cap the saltwater one. It developed a leak and needed replacing.
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Replacing Faucet
Here we are accessing the hose connection underneath the bow faucet to tighten the new one in place. Once again, Nordhavn has designed for repairs in the field and accessing the connections involved just pulling down a ceiling panel in the guest stateroom.
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Happy Hour
Our final happy hour in Farsund on a foggy evening with the temperature at at 44.6°F (7°C). We really enjoyed our month-long stay here and Farsund will be a memorable part of our worldwide adventure.
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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