Veek 21 20 – 26 May 2019 Lerwick – Papa Stour 120 nm
Shetland is only 60 nm from south to north cape, and making 120 miles in one week means a lot of around and between islands. On top of that Papa Stour is only half way south on the west coast, on our return trip, starting from Lerwick half way south on the east coast going north.
20 May Monday Lerwick
Woke up around seven, (eight Norwegian time) after a good but short nights sleep.
The German boat we were rafted to told us when we came last night that they will leave at nine. Not to disturb them we moved Moon forward to the now free space in front of the German boat before they started to get ready. Then breakfast and just as we were ready to start to investigate procedures here in Lerwick, a women from Customs came and we had a nice talk at the dining table down in Moon.
Then to harbourmaster to pay for one night, 21 pounds without electricity (which is 7 pound plus 2 each day, meaning 9 pound if you only stay one night!)
Then groceries. A big Tesco store and an almost as big Co-op is available within walking distance from the harbour. We visited Tesco before noon and the other in the afternoon using Google maps. Well stocked and we got some exercise too.
The grey houses and the surroundings without trees remain us of Falkland Island, especially as most live stock are sheep here too.
Before dinner a local sailor that Björn met on the pontoon came aboard and had a look at Moon. He had been visiting Koopmans design office at the same time they were talking to us, repairing Moon in Malaysia, and because of that he new a lot about our adventures.
He then drove us to his Koopmans. An Al 52 feet with centreboard, berthed in the local marina.
Tired after the passage we had an early night after dinner in Moon.
21 May Tuesday Lerwick – West Lunna Voe 25 nm
After breakfast we had to decide where to go. The weather forecast gave no real answer. But we had to stock up and get fuel before any decision could to be made. Tesco and Co-op gave us enough groceries and after 500 litres of diesel we left Lerwick shortly after noon motoring to the north. In spite of counter current we came all the way to Yell Sound, where we anchored in West Lunna Voe, a landlocked anchorage that had been used by the “Shetland Bus” fishing boats that took refugees from Norway to England during WW2.
As we had dinner the rain started.
22 May Wednesday West Lunna Voe
Rain most of the night and a north westerly strong wind.
Grey morning with rain off and on. Had a shower before breakfast, which is a challenge when the rain is pouring down outside. Humidity and condensation doesn’t improve adding extra moisture!
But most of the condensation comes on the frames around windows and when not at sleep during the night it’s easy to wipe it up now and then.
During nights we close the door between the saloon and bow cabin, where we have the hatch under the dinghy open for ventilation. The temperature in saloon comes down and thanks to the minimized temperature difference between outside and the salon the condensation is minimized.
The weather kept us inside the boat all day, catching up things that had been left behind during the crossing and the busy Lerwick visit.
Both the weather and the unwelcoming shores kept us from using the dinghy to go ashore.
23 May Thursday West Lunna Voe – Baltasund, Unst 26 nm
A quiet night with undisturbed rest.
The weather looked good for a trip north. Due to the tide we weigh anchor already before breakfast.
Unfortunately the wind was only enough for sailing the first hour. On top of that we had of some reason miscalculated the current. But we got some sunshine half way to Baltasund.
Lots of abandoned houses along the shores, most of them without roof and only stone walls left.
The tree less landscape remind us of Aleutians and Falkland Islands. It’s really fantastic.
Coming to Baltasound we found a place at the wharf, tied to the wharf with long lines outside a small sailboat. Ashore we found a local that after a chat took us in her car to the small boat museum in the next village.
Very interesting museum, showing us several different small fishing boats from the time when all boats were pulled ashore on the beach when not in use. Some made in Norway.
The long walk back to Baltasund was good and we saw many birds and amazing views. In Baltasund we finalized the trip with a pint at the local little hotel just above the harbour.
24 May Friday Baltasund – Culli Voe 18 nm
Up early to take advantage of the sunny weather. The plan was to go around the north cape and pass Muckle Flugga. The enormous gannet colonies up there was the magnet.
Coming out between Unst and the protecting island east of Baltasund, we got the now giant swell against us together with the wind. The conditions were not favourable, especially as the tide will be bad around the cape if we were delayed by the wind and swell.
Having been there 2001 on route to Faroe Islands we decided to turn south.
After three hours we anchored in Culli Voe, same harbour we had planned to stay in, but coming from north west after rounding the north cape.
The sound between Unst and Yell is narrow and has great tide. Important to time the tide and choose a route in shallow water to try to avoid ripple and standing waves.
25 May Saturday Culli Voe – Hamar Voe 36 nm
We had an early start to get through the sound before the strong wind against tide started.
Managed to find a route close to shore in shallow water to avoid the races and overfalls in the sound. Ok we didn’t get much following current as we were travelling in counter current water, but that’s much more comfortable and safer than through the over falls to say the least. We managed to reach open water and turn south west before the predicted northerly wind started to blow stronger. But this spring is odd! The wind only lasted half way, and the rest we had to motor in lumpy sea.
Into the fjord we had chosen to anchor, the wind came back and we had a fun ride all the way into the protected anchorage in a landlocked arm of the fjord.
A few farmsteads and a lot of sheep on the surrounding hills. The birds were active and the song was very enjoyable.
26 May Sunday Hamar Voe – Papa Stour 15 nm
Sunshine when we woke up and a light breeze across our pond made the conditions for today sailing very light.
Breakfast and then weigh anchor. Motoring out of the fjord we had no wind across the boat. The following wind was as weak as our speed! Out on St Magnus bay we tried to sail, we were only to cross the bay to reach our next anchorage on Papa Stour.
Had a fishing line behind the boat, but no luck. After an hour our patience was gone. We reeled in and started the engine.
Shortly before two we anchored in Hamna Voe, a big landlocked bay on the south west corner of Papa Stour. The entrance is a bit tricky, but that’s what makes the bay completely landlocked, and the depth in the lagoon is ten to five meters with room for several boats, but we were alone.
After a coffee we launched the dinghy and went ashore.
Last time, almost twenty years ago, we were lucky to have no wind and no swell, a very unusual situation. Remember there is nothing until Newfoundland to west! Then we could use the dinghy to get into the caves and tunnels, not possible to reach during swell because the swell hit the roofs!
Now we did a long walk and saw all that from above. Lots of fulmars on nests at the steep cliffs everywhere, but no other birds had started to build nest.
Back at the dinghy around five after more than six km walking up and down on the sloops, having to take care of the Skuas that were plentiful and very protective. We used our old experience and had a stick lifted above our head to prevent them to dive on us. Worked very well and we got no attacks.
As we arrived to Moon the rain started. Everything is about timing the weather!
Half an hour later, as a roasted lamb was in the oven, the sun came back and we got a beautiful sunshine in between the clouds. (The lamb was not one of the many we met ashore, it was bought in Lerwick so still a Shetland lamb)
Annika & Björn