Crossing the North Sea: Egersund - Peterhead

Egersund - Peterhead, across the North Sea. Screenshot from Google Maps.

We finally made it to Peterhead, Scotland at 03:30 this morning, almost three full sailing days after leaving Egersund. More text may follow - right now we prioritize food, beer and sleeping.
Hard waves met us at the exit from the Egersund fjord, but the rain and waves decreased and during the evening, we found ourselves sailing in a beautiful dusk, with shallow waves and 90 degree wind, making great speed and enjoying the scenery. The sun was going down, leaving the sky and the sea with vivid pastel colours, just as if they were from an italian ice-cream parlour: melon, mango, peach, strawberry with cream, blueberry and blackberry sorbet. Gently rocking in the warm Southern wind, with a cup of hot chocolate in our hands, we were making jokes of how North Sea is a freaking Sunday cruise for beginners and sissies.
Until we opend the keel box.
Everything was afloat, the ham, butter, sausage and everything else stored there to be chilled.
The boat's taking in water and it's getting dark fast... What to do?
The answer for Mark was: to go to sleep. The answer for me was: check the leak and the amount of water coming in, bilge every hour and keep on going. It turned out to be a minor leak and I relaxed. The lookout time was about 4-5 hours each, depending on what we felt for, and during the day both were awake and could actually socialize which is very appreciated if you don't want to go completely nuts. So pumping some bilge and relaxing was the plan.
The Northern Sea gave us great weather, stable Southern wind and beautiful scenery. And some cell phone coverage! Right in the middle of the passage, there were oil rig platforms, one of them being so bored that they even called us on the VHF and talked about the weather and where we were heading, which I found great. All in all, a nice ride down to 30 km from Peterhead. We were already half-celebrating. And suddenly..
The wind died out and the tide waters took on the boat. We were drifting at 4 knots past all civilization, and the outboard engine mounting plate was about to give in. Some three thrilling hours, and we made it anyway, but three hours at black night fighting the sea without sleep are not really three hours at a project meeting with coffee breaks and well-placed jokes from the team and internet access.
Anyways, we made it into the harbor, slept on the wet and cold beds, payed the harbor fee (for the first time since we sailed away, Yaaarrr!), took an endless nice warm wonderful shower each, and now the first serious leg was over. There were severe gales both before and after our passage, several boats were in distress, and a sea scout boat had to be salvaged. This is a good point about how important it is to have patience and wait for good weather.

Another fun thing to mention - on the way there, we encountered a whole floating city of oil rigs. There was even a mobile network coverage! As it was in the night, the lights actually looked like it was a city in front of us and I almost though that we'd navigated away from our course... One of the rigs even called us, making sure that we'd keep the safety distance, but in fact they just wanted to chat. They asked us about where we were going, where from,the boat's name, and were kind enough to give us a weather report.

The oil platform that VHF:ed us.
So the next step after arriving was to get in to Caledonian Canal.