Bergen has the reputation of being Norway’s rainiest location, yet on the day we arrived the sun was shining brilliantly and it was HOT! Brian, Bruce, Kathy, and I were well rested from our peaceful night anchored at Lysøya; it had been our last night together before the chaos ensued. That morning we’d each taken a turn in Detour‘s shower while en-route to Bergen; we felt refreshed and donned our town clothes in anticipation for arrival at Norway’s second largest city.Our arrival at the big city was daunting after we’d gunkholed for the previous two weeks. Vessels of all sizes (cruise ships, cargo ships, ferries, tall ships, motor yachts, sailing yachts, and dinghies) bustled about the harbour. A flurry of activity and color engulfed us! Charming, historic wooden buildings of Bryggen lined the wharf. People swarmed sidewalks, music blared from waterfront restaurants, and the entire quayside was lined with motor boats and sailboats. Thank goodness Detour had a reserved space! Boats at the quay were rafted three-deep and those that were not rafted lurked nearby while bobbing and weaving and spinning ’round among themselves. We proceeded to the innermost, southeastern corner of the harbour and spotted several sailboats with yellow, flying fish flags flapping near their spreaders. That’s our spot! We rafted to S/V Iroquois just in time to watch our rally’s organizer, Jan, majestically motor the gleaming S/V Jenny into the harbour. At Bergen, we joined the participants of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) Arctic Rally. And then the chaos ensued! A motor boat that sneaked into the OCC’s reserved quayside had finally cast-off. Jan began to reconfigure the reserved quay; our three rafted boats were backed a bit, as an entire unit, and all the while any of us at our bows shooed away little motor boats who circled over the open gap of quay like vultures while Jan backed S/V Jenny into the vacated space. Bruce carefully monitored the distance of our dinghy to S/V Quench’s overhanging anchor and eventually the fleet was settled. Bruce and Kathy became quite good at tip-toeing across the bows of three boats to reach the quayside. We first utilized the tourist information center to get the scoop on airport buses, wifi, access to the harbour’s service building (included laundry & showers!), the location of Bruce & Kathy’s hotel for the next night, city map, etc. Then we meandered through Bergen’s Bryggen, the old waterfront and home of the Hanseatic League. Today Bryggen is well preserved and houses many shops, galleries, and restaurants. It was at Bryggen that we took a rest for lunch with the OCC fleet, to get acquainted and be informed by Jan of the upcoming days’ plans.
At Bergen, we had a crew change. Bruce and Kathy welcomed their good friend, Glenn, to Norway; he will sail aboard Detour during the next portion of our trip. While Bruce, Kathy, and Glenn made their way from the airport, Brian and I tidied the ship! I began a day’s task of laundry, washing everything and anything I could while it was nearby and “free.” We welcomed Glenn aboard, then had a busy day of touring, shopping, and a fine dinner out on the town all the while I scooted back and forth to swap loads, and hang-dry, and fold clothes. That evening Bruce and Kathy said goodbye to their cozy bunk aboard Detour and headed for their hotel while Brian, Glenn, and I tried to get some rest for our much anticipated OCC Arctic Rally departure.
We’re off! We received a fabulous send-off from Bruce and Kathy; releasing dock lines, waving, taking photos, and cheering as the OCC Arctic Rally fleet cast-off from the dock in Bergen.