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My Greatest Experience
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After we had lived in Tønsberg all the time since I was born, we wanted to move back to Fredrikstad were my parents were born. Another reason that we wanted to move back was to take care of my grandmother and grandfather, who began to get old.
But in the summer-autumn of 1999, my dad came with a suggestion, that we should take a long holiday before we moved back. A sail tour to the Caribians.
We began to prepare us for the tour by getting a boat and equipment. We looked at many different boats but didn’t find exactly the right one before we found the Hardanger-yacht S/Y Anna Marthine.
When we had sold our house, we rented a another one while we renovated the boat. We lived in the rented house, in Berganveien on a island called Nøtterøy, from the 1th of December to the 1st of April.
It was a old and very cosy house. We had a very nice Christmas there together with my parents and my grandparents.
On the 21st of July we had a farewell party at a place called Fjærholmen. We barbecued and had a great time together with friends and family. 12 PM the 21st of July 2000 we sat of towards Fredrikshavn together with a friend of us, Øyvind, who was going to sail with us for a while.
We arrived in Fredrikshavn on my ninth birthday, the 24th of July. In the evening we went to a hamburger-restaurant, I think it was McDonald’s, to celebrate my birthday. Øyvind left us there. Just the same day we coutinued down the east coast of Denmark.
In the evening of the 26th of July, 20.15 PM, we arrived in Ebeltoft. In Ebeltoft you can either lay in the shipharbour or in the trafficharbour. We laid in the trafficharbour, witch lies next to the world’s biggest wooden ship, the warship Jylland. It was magnificent! Ebeltoft was a very nice and cosy city. It reminded my of “Gamlebyen” in Fredrikstad with stones in the pavement and watchmen and much more. We needed several days to see everything.
We sat of again the 28th of July and sailed to a small island called Samsø, which lays a small sailtrip from Ebeltoft. We just stayed there overnight by anker, but we still reached a small trip into the island. It was a calm and peacefull place.
We had a very nice experience when we was sailing from Samsø to Ramsø, witch also is a small island. We had company of a grey-black whale, which was about 1,5 metres long. It followed us some of the way. We think it could have been a porpoise (Nise). It came up to breed now and then and was just a few metres from the boat at all times.
After just a quick stop in a city called Marsal on Ærø, we sat the course towards Germany and Kiel. It was no wind at all, so the crossing went by engine, and it took us five hours.
We sailed through the Kiel-canal, so we wouldn’t have to sail around Denmark. The canal has lockes on both endes because there is a height difference between the two oceans, Skagerak and the North Sea. The trip through the canal took a day. We met a few boats and hundreds of swans.
After we got out of the canal, we headed for England. We moored in the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club in Lowestoft, on Sunday the 7th of August. Lowestoft is a very pleasant, medium big, bathing city. Here you can find every thing you need too really have a great time.
We countinued our journey along the south coast of England and visited Dover, Falmouth and many other places. In some of the places there was nearly 7 metres height difference in high water and low water, and a lot of current.
On the 24th of August we sailed from England, out into The Bay of Biscaya. We had heard many frightening storys about The Bay of Biscaya, but none of them came true on our crossing.
Before the departure from Falmouth we had decided to sail directly to Bayona in Spain. The voyage over The Bay of Biscaya took us 5 and a half day. Through out that time we got to experience how unbelievable and wonderfull it can be out on the open ocean.
We had company of dolphins many times through out the days and nights while we were on our way. They were so playfull. It seemed like they were having a blast. They were jumping up and down through the water surface.
We were followed by dolphins the last hours into Spain. There were in all ten of them fighting to lay as near as possible to the bow.
On Wednesday the 30th of August, in the morning, we sailed into the harbour of Bayona. We had been looking a long time for the summer and here it was! Luckily we had a few days for sightseeing. It was a beautiful place. The height difference on the water was about 3 metres.
The harbour lies just beside a beautiful old castle. In the middle of the castle it is built a magnificent hotel in old style.
After a nice farewell party with four other norwegian boats, we sat off again. Our plan now was to sail directly to Gibraltar.
We had now been on the go for a while and we began to wonder if we really wanted to set out on the Atlantic ocean. It would have taken us three weeks on open ocean to get to Amerika, so we decided to skip the Caribeans and spend the winter in Spain.
We tried to sail directly to Gibraltar but we had to make a forced stop in Portimao in Portugal, because the dynamo in the engine broke. We had to repair this before we could continue. Portimao was a very nice place and is absolutly worth visiting. The first part of the city we saw was the part which lays around the harbour. Here it just was expensive shops, booths, hotels and of cause casinos. We thought, until the last day we stayed there, that this was the centre of the city. But it wasn’t. The centre of the city lays in the botton of the bay. Here everything was much cosyer and cheaper. Right beside were we had ankered it was a beautiful beach. We went there every day and bathed in nice warm water, up to 22°C.
The beaches on the Algarve-coast are very beautiful. They are many kilometres long with white sand and are splitted up by big rocks that stretches out into the ocean. The rocks are full of big holes. It was so very nice that we for sure will come back to this place some day.
We arrived in Gibraltar the 15th of September. 423 metres over Gibraltar lays the Gibraltar-rock. It’s partly covered with forest and is mostly of calciumrock. One of the days of our stay there we went for a trip up on the rock, to see the famous monkeys which live there.
The monkeys was so cute! Several of the monkeys had small babies, which were even cuter then the grown-ups, with their wrinkled faces and small hands with small brown nails. The monkeys has several food- and waterstacions, so they are being taken good care of, and that’s maybe not so strange when the legend says that if the monkeys leave the rock, Gibraltar will again be spanish.
Today, as I guess you know, it’s a british colony. The monkeys are tailless and are called “Barbary Macaques”.
We left Gibraltar the 16th of September and ankered up in a quiet bay on the other side of the Gibraltar-bay. Now we were in Spain again. After a quiet and calm night and a nice breakfast with homemade bread, we headed east along the south coast of Spain. Just before we past the Europa Point, wich is the firehouse south on the Gibraltar-rock, the dynamo broke down again.
We finally reached “Marina Internacional” in Torrevieja the 26th of September. We stayed in Torreveija in almost one week and we were quit pleased with this place. It’s a medium big city. As in all other touristplaces their are all types of cafés, pubs, restaurantes, night clubs, discotecs and casinos. There are many beaches here, some for every tast. Just before we left Torreveija we finally got the dynamo repaired. That was good! Øyvind came on board again in Torrevieja.
We left Torreveija the 6th of October. After a short sweep into the Bay of Albir, we sat out towards Ibiza. The sailling started smootly with 3 knots and in the evening it just both better. We sailed with 5 knots and had a slope off 15 degrees. But when the night came it just went faster and faster. We now sailed in 7,5 knots and the slop has increased to 30 degrees. What made it even worse was that the wind had changed direction, so that we had to change the course to get the wind from the other side. We got the boat up against the wind and began to take down sails. We should have done that earlier, but if the wind hadn’t changed direction we could easily sailed directly to Ibiza. After one hours fight against the elements my father and Øyvind finally managed to change course and began the surfing towards San Antonio on Ibiza.
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San Antonio is a true tourist city with many sunburnt english tourists. After a few days of investigating San Antonio we decided to go to another island, called Isla Conjera. The island had a lot in comman with “Missingene” near Fredrikstad, but the mountain tops is much higher. The highest tops was about 62 metres high. On one side of the island we could see many metres down into the ocean. There were many lizards on the island. For every metre we walked small green green lizards ran around our feets. Is was very vigorous to be in such a warm place.
When we was bathing it was like bathing in a aquarium. It was houndreds of fishes in every colour of the rainbow and in every size. It was so much more beautiful than you can imagine. Øyvind, my mum and my dad went diving a lot and they said it was fantastic. I envy them that they could dive!
After a while on Isla Conejera we sat the course for the mainland again. After a quiet night with good sailwind, the wind dead out. So the last bit of the trip to the nearest harbour, wich was Valencia, went by engine.
We arrived in Valencia the 20th of October. We had to stay there longer then we wanted because the rain began poureing down. Big parts of the inland in Spain was flooded. In Valencia it wasn`t that bad but it was good and wet as long as it lasted. We had to lay two extra day in “Real Club Nautico de Valencia” because we wasn’t allowed to sail further because it was a lot of current in the river beside the harbour, because off the water that came from the inland. One day we went for a trip into the city of Valencia. The harbour lays 5 km from the centre of the city, so we took a taxi. Valencia is a beatuifull old city with almost 800 000 inhabitants and many old sights.
We sat off towards Torrevieja the 20th of November. Here my grandparents came to visit us. After some nice days we sailed back to Altea.
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It was in Altea we staid over the winter. My dad began to work for my uncle and aunt, witch owns Service Centeret. Mum and me used the days to do homework (witch I got from the school in Norway) and many nice walks with Carmen. Carmen is a dog that we got from a place where they took care off ownerless dogs. While we stayed here we celebrated Christmas and New Years Eve in the apartment of my uncle and aunt, who was in Norway. It was very nice and pleasant to finally live in a house again.
After about 2 or 3 weeks we went back to the boat. It was after all our home. There we had all our belongings. Everything we needed to have a great time on board. I can’t think of a single thing we missed on the trip. We had for one thing no TV on board, and we didn’t miss it at all.
We met many nice people in Altea too. For instance a family from Bergen who was on holiday. They had a daughter on my age and we were together a lot. We also met an english family of four who travelled around in the world in a campingcar. They are in Africa in the winter and in Europe in the summer.
We went back to Norway in July 2000. My mum, Carmen and me drove home together with my uncle and my aunt. My dad sailed the boat back to Norway, with some help from some friends.
When we came to Norway again we lived with my grandmother and grandfather for a while, until we bought a house on Sellebakk.
My opinion about the trip:
I think the trip was absolutely fantastic. There was of course times that were tough, but it was over all a great time of my life. We experienced many exciting and magnificent things. But I wish I haven’t been that young because then I think I would have remembered more and gotten more out of the trip if I had been older. But as I said it has been magninficent!
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