Week 31 29 July – 5 August 2019 Vatersy, Hebredies – Mollösund, Sweden 742 nm
29 July Monday Vatersay – St.Kilda 69 nm
Woke up early listening to a fog horn! Not close at all, as we were anchored close to the beach, but telling us that we probably had dense fog around.
Sure enough we could not see the bow of Moon. The fog was intensively white, telling us that the sun was shining above a low laying fog.
The fog and the forecast with two weeks of northerly made us have a slow morning to say the least. Not any easy option to get around Scotland and back to Sweden with that prediction..
The fog eased a bit after breakfast and we could see the water hundred meters around Moon. We weigh anchor and motored out in the fog with full attention on the radar.
Went south around Vatersay before we turned north. The fog disappeared west of Vatersay, but the engine had to run all day. Late around ninish we arrived in dense fog at St Kilda. Several boats were anchored, but we managed to find a spot for Moon.
This flat water and no wind condition was a complete change of scenery to our crossing from Ireland!
30 July Tuesday St. Kilda and north
Fog hundred meters above the water as we woke up. Half way up the sloop the island disappeared into the fog.
After breakfast we took the dinghy ashore. Took a long walk uphill and admired the old village were people lived for thousands of years until 1930 when the island was abounded. They lived not on fish due to rough conditions most of the time, but on collecting seabirds from the cliffs.
We made a tour around the shores in the dinghy to see all the sea birds, mainly Puffins, before we came back to Moon. Several hundred thousands only of Puffins!.
Left the island before dark to avoid another roly night.
The fog came back at night for some hours and the motor kept humming.
31 July Wednesday under way between St Kilda and Kirkwall Orkney.
The night was calm and comfortable after the fog disappeared. The moon was behind light clouds, but it was never really dark.
The light from Flannan Island was following us all night, first due north and later west until it disappeared early morning south of us as the morning light took over.
At sunset we were west of the Butt of Lewis, the most northern cape of Outer Hebrides.
Too early to get following tide, but that meant we got better condition north of Cape Wrath, Mainland Scotland north west cape.
Late afternoon we where across North Minch and Cape Wrath many miles to the south of Moon.
When dinner was served we could shut down the engine and sail in five knots. Annika got a silent free watch and could sleep comfortable. Unfortunately the little wind turned west and the sea state became more disturbed. Had to turn on the engine again to get some progress.
The only company we had was the four skerries far out in the sea with lights and AIS becon. Odd because the sea seems to be very empty and free of dangers.
1 August Thursday Kirkwall arrival after two nights and 203 nm
Our arrival in Rousay Sound was perfect. The tide had just changed and we got following tide through the otherwise standing waves. In the narrow part we had more than six knots of following current on flat water. No wind made us really enjoy the ride and we arrived after another two hours into Kirkwall, where we got a good spot along the pontoon in the marina.
We took a walk to the grocery stores and a longer walk to a hard ware store. Both good exercise and found what we were looking for.
Two nights offshore gives you a good sleep! We even avoided a short walk to the pup because the weather called for an early start tomorrow.
2- 5 August Friday – Monday Kirkwall – Mollösund 470 nm
Early start to get ready before the tide change. Breakfast and then we topped up our diesel tank.
Paid the marina for the night and the diesel, then left for the sound east of Kirkwall to the North Sea. Not as rapid as the famous Pentland Sound we went through last year, but fast enough to have to take care of the direction of the tide. Seven knots against isn’t a good start on any voyage! We had little wind and flat water when we passed in following tide.
The forecast showed moderate wind across our route and we sailed in good speed in a very moderate sea state.
In the afternoon we got dense fog, but with radar and AIS this is not a big deal. Unless you meet, as we did, a wooden sailboat with wooden mast with only a three color light at the top of the mast. No AIS and no reflection on Radar. Some people are either brave or stupid!
At sunset the fog disappeared and we got a clear night with comfortable sailing.
Saturday came with cloudy weather but good wind all day. The only interruption was food three times!
Saturday evening the wind decreased and we got an uncomfortable slow pace sailing. Two reefs in the main and the engine engaged gave us comfort back again during the night.
In the middle of the North Sea we passed several oil rigs, the first one with some major electrical problems. No AIS and no lights. A service ship stayed close by and informed us about the circumstances and we could safely pass in the dark.
Normally all rigs have lots of light and a burning flame on top plus AIS information, making it very safe and comfortable to manoeuvre between the rigs.
Sunday came with gray weather but no rain. At sunrise we could sail with full sails and shut down the engine. Nice and fast sailing all day.
Sunday afternoon we approached Norway and Sörlandet. We had not yet decided if we would proceed directly to Sweden or spend some days i Norway.
We passed Lindesnäs, south cape of Norway, around five and then decided to continue through the night to Sweden, because we got a forecast telling us that tonight we will have wind, but then a few days without.
We had good wind all night with out pooled sails until Monday noon, when the wind came more from south and we got eighty degrees across the boat.
Made five knots on flat water the whole afternoon, but had to support the sails with the engine when the wind decreased to reach Mollösund in time for dinner.
Elisabeth and Roger have sailed Bijou to NZ and are now back home in a new house in Mollösund. They have their own jetty and that was a perfect place for Moon to make landfall!
Annika & Björn