The alarm went off before dawn on our first morning in Norway. It was Mark’s turn to make breakfast, and I heard him leaving his cabin. I lay under my two duvets, luxuriating
in the warmth and savouring the smell of fresh coffee and baking bread rolls.

Outside, the sea was as different as it could be from yesterday. The water of our anchorage was glassy calm, and the sun was rising behind the mountains into a clear sky. Instead of wind, the only sound was calling seabirds.

Norway’s longest stretch of exposed coast had seemed a challenge last night when we were both exhausted after a long and difficult day at sea. This morning, in calm conditions, it was a pleasure, and by mid morning we were moored to a pontoon at Vågen in the centre of Stavanger to pick up Fionn who had flown into Oslo and then caught a train to meet us and come aboard for a week.

There’s just a small visitors’ pontoon here; in season, the chances of a berth would be slim, but in mid April it was virtually empty and we could pick our spot.

Stavanger is an attractive city, busy with tourism and commerce. The quayside around our pontoon in Vågen is the focus of cafés and restaurants, all literally just a few yards away on all sides, and behind them, narrow streets filled with groups from a cruise ship that had arrived shortly after us.

One of Norway’s more famous tourist attractions is the nearby Lysefjord. This was our first real experience of the classic Norwegian fjord; a deep narrow slash into the mountains, sheer sided and spectacular. It’s an overused word, but awesome is the only way to describe it.

Waterfalls cascade down sheer rock faces almost 1,000m high while below the boat, the depth plunged to over 400m. At times, the fjord narrows to a slender gorge, just 200m between the sheer rock walls.

Normally it’s busy with pleasure boats and sightseeing trips but midweek and so early in the season, we were the only boat in the fjord – a very special and privileged feeling.

Watch the video above and read John Boyle’s full report in the July 2017 issue of MBY.