Here we run across stretches of open sea and through narrow straits.

When the wind is blowing heavily, it can get pretty bad to drive over Kvåsefjorden. Here, through snowstorms and hurricane winds, people have attempted to rowe across the fjord in search of priests and midwifes. Many tours are still not forgotten, to this day.

Blindleia however is distinguished by calm waters, and a warm and friendly landscape. Here we find older buildings with very distinctive architecture of previous centuries which are well preserved to this day. There are several summer cottages located here, that are both interesting and historical monuments.

Why is it called Blindleia?

There are several theories about this. One is that it is so easy to navigate here, that one can do it blindfolded. Another theory is that it was impossible for larger vessels to come through, and thus, made it to be a dead end for them. But what is most likely, is that it is a narrow passageway without any lighthouses, so the vessels travel in the dark.

The first outport we come to, while driving through Blindleia, is called the ancient Hellesund. This is one of southern Norways best percerved secrets. Old Hellesund has been inhabited since 1729. There have been customs offices located here, and the place was also a refuge for sailing ships in the storm season. At most, there could be between 20 and 30 ships here, waiting for better weather. During the Napoleon war, many vessels chose to settle here, due to privateering.

History states that on April 9.1940, during WW2, German troops came to Norway and occupied several major Norwegian cities. But we know that the first war happened here, just outside of ÅKERØY on April 8th, the same year. Then the residents heard an explosion from the sea. No one thought this could be war. They saw thick smoke rise from a cargo ship that was sinking, and many fishermen threw themselves onto their boats and headed out to salvage the people onboard. When reaching the casualty they were surprised to encounter men in uniforms with horses and carrying heavy war equipment. Luckily, some of the fishermen spotted a torpedo which came whizzing through the water and they bowed down before it hit the casualty again. Burning parts and equipment from the vessel flew through the air. Some of the people still living here actually experienced this. No Norwegians were killed, but several fishing boats were severely damaged. They rescued about 100 soldiers from the burning sea, while about 250 of them got a watery grave. There
is a memorial for these soldiers, located in Lillesand. The ship that sank was a German troop, called Rio de Janeiro which was on its way to Bergen. It was a Polish submarine that went into action against Rio de Janeiro.

In the 17- and 1800s, Brekkestø was the winter harbor for sailing ships in Southern Norway. Ships came from all over the Northern European countries, and it was very common that they had to stay here for several months, before they could continue their journey. They were waiting for better weather, cargo, appropriate winds or that that the ice would disappear. In the winter of 1862, there were 92 ships in the harbor at once, so the crew members could walk on dry ground from island to island here. The layovers created much activity on the harbour, such as; increased business, guesthouses, inns, workshops and a toll station.

When the sailing ships disappeared, artists such as writers and painters came here to get inspiration. Gabriel Scott stayed here in periods, and it was here he found his inspiration to write "source", "Found" and "Josefa ". Today there are tourists that rent the different places during the summer, and during this time the old store is still in open for business.

Most of the houses we see here are built in the Golden Age of the 17- and 1800s, they are well preserved and most of them are protected by Cultural Heritage. The small and simple houses were built by fishermen, while the larger ones were built by wealthy houses owners.

On top of the different islands there stood pilots in the old days and scouted for ships that had their rescue flag up. Until the mid-1700s, scouting for ships in distress was a profession, and often there was heavy competition between the pilots in the area. They served well and hard, but the stakes were high; many lost their lives in their open boats out at sea. On the fells around the islands there were
built small huts, so the men could stand in shelter, out of the wind to scout. Today we see copies of them, which act as small
gazebo. The tour takes about 5 hours for a round trip.