Monday, November 7, 2011

Video



Finally, I had the opportunity to put together some of the video clips from the journey.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The story goes on.  Almost one week home, now. I would like to still share some thoughts on this project.
Slowly, things turn to normal. But I think things will never turn completely normal. I feel so completely relaxed, as I have never been in my adult life before. I have been very tired also – going to sleep at 9 in the evening, and waking up at 5 in the morning (ready to paddle?). 
My tiredness, I guess has especially to do with the last weeks paddling. I calculated my average day’s paddle the last 3 weeks of the journey to be above 55 km. per day. According to competent long distance and competition paddlers, an average day’s paddle should not exceed much more than 40 km. If you wish to be go on for weeks and weeks. I also dropped 5 kilos of weight. I had not much to lose in the first place.  
But all in all everything is very satisfying. My total paddle distance was 3063 km. in 73 days – about 42 km a day. Pretty much the same as other expeditions of equal duration have had.
On Friday, I could not resist the temptation to take my baidarka to the nearby lake, and paddle my usual 20 km. trip around an island there. The kayak was empty, not that it matters much. I paddled this distance focused, but without great effort (not much pulse) in 2,5 hours. Nearly one hour faster than before my journey!!! The average speed was 7,9 km/hour. Before the great journey, my average speed would be 6,8 or so.  
The weather was as good as it can be this time of the year!

On Thursday I talked to Bao Quoc. He told me that he wanted to build his own baidarka this winter, and finish his part of the journey from Kristianssund to the Swedish border next summer. I agreed on having a baidarka building workshop this winter from 7.-15. of January. This workshop will be open to anyone interested.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Home.....

Two whole days home! It has been fantastic. No big party, just the sensation of everyday life. My children has occupied most of my time. Today I have begun looking at the big amounts of orders, e-mails, bills and other stuff, that has vaited for me so long.


Above: The very last paddle stroke on this journey, so far..

I would like to thank everyone for all the congratulations and good wishes they have sent me the last couple of days, both blog comments, SMS and e-mails. I have not had the time to ansver all, but you must all know that it really warms my heart. Thank you very much!


                                   Above: First step out of my kayak - I didn't get very far

It really doesn't bother me being in the outdoors for a long period. I get used to it, it works great, and I even enjoy it! But once home, I do appreciate all the blessings of civilisation. You flip a switch, and there is light! Wow!



 



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

73. day of paddling

I started my last day of paddling in Borre. The day before, I paddled 72 km. I got at 05.00 and started paddling 06.30. Heavy rain falls had made the rivers flood, and there was a rapid flow of water against me in the Drammen fjord, and later up the river. I had 1-2 hours stop in Drammen to talk to the press and eat, then I was on my way again, up the river to my home in Vestfossen.
Nrk made a small radio broadcast and this article: http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/distrikt/ostafjells/buskerud/1.7808877
I was very eager to get home, and I don’t understand how I kept up the speed for the last 36 km. to Vestfossen. My average speed was 6 km/hour and the total days distance was, like the day before, 72 km. Amazing what you can do when you are motivated!
Approaching Vestfossen, I was met by two flashlights – it was my two sons who wanted to be first out to meet me. It was 21.00 and completely dark, but hearing their voices just made me so happy!
Another 500 m. of paddling took me to the river bank in Vestfossen. I was met by my wife, my two daughters, some friends and a local newspaper. It’s hard to express how happy I was to finally be home.
See the article and the pictures here:
It’s strange being home, and there are so many things to do. I will continue the blog the days to follow. There are many thoughts that need to be expressed, and some practical facts I want to share. But now, It’s time for rest and family.
AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH EVERYONE FOR ALL THE GOOD FEEDBACK AND CONGRATULATIONS I HAVE GOT. IT IS VERY GOOD TO HEAR, I ENJOY IT A LOT!



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Risør - Nevlunghavn

Morning in Risør - breaking up camp

Today the weather was mostly BEAUTIFUL!


I stopped for a break on the island "Kråka" in Telemark. This is the place I was first introduced to Greenland kayaking about this time of the year 18 years ago. This is in a way where it all started!

The weather was good until 16.00 when I crossed over to Nevlunghavn. Nevlunghavn has a reputation for difficult waves. The wind grew stronger as I paddled on, and soon I found myself in a chaos of waves - It felt lik sitting inside a washing mashine. At one occation I came too close to a series of huge breaking waves, and I nearly capsized. That was a bit scary. I found ot there was no point continuing under these circumstances, so I camped near Nevlunghavn, even though it was not late at all.

When we were a group of 3, we wanted to paddle to the Swedish border and end the journey there. Now as I paddle alone, I think I will rather simply paddle home. I've paddled to the border earlier, It's a shorter distance than paddling home, but for me at the moment, paddling up the river to my home in Vestfossen seeems much more attractive.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Soon home!!!!

Home....that's whats on my mind most of the time these days. But I still have great company with Alexander. Today we paddled a short distance (46 km) we must remember to have a good time. We camped early outside Risør and made a campfire (It's getting cold now). We had a good dinner and a glass of brandy too!

Alex leaves me tomorrow, and I have 3-4 days left of the journey. It's my 70th day out now, and I'm looking forward to see my  wife and children again.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Arendal

We have had some good paddling since my last blog entry. We have still had a lot of wind, but since the compass began to point north east, the wind has helped us. It's so fun to see the landscape changing from steep rocks and sea to nice arcipalago with little islands, grass spots and sand beaches all over.
We enjoy the wind in our backs, and sometimes we even see the sun!!! I begin to belive I can actually finish my journey in good style when I see the progress we have made the last couple of days.

It's great being with Alexander. He will paddle with me until saturday. He have had some tough days with blisters inside his hands and sore muscles, but the spirit is always good.

Today we had a great meeting with a relative of mine. My fathers cousin Mark Thygesen and his wife Ruth moved to southern Norway many years ago. I have never had contact with them, but Ruth has read my blog. As we got near Kristianssand, she contacted me, and we had a great lunch together in Lillesand. It was a 3 hours break this day, and we enjoyed every minute of it, comfortably seated in good company and with great food, cake and coffee. It was hard to paddle after that, and we didn't stop to eat for a while.

In the evening, we got near Arendal, and made our camp just outside the city on a beautiful spot - sand beach, grass and even a public toilet!!!! Luxury!


Here in the south we find great landing places everywhere.

 

The weather may be bad, but the spirit is good! This photo was taken just after passing Lindesnes - the southernmost point of Norway:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lindesnes

3 great days in wind and rain brought Alex and I to Farsund yesterday. We have had a good time, despite the bad weather. As I had thought, the south west coast could be difficult. It is wery exposed. And it was difficult. We had strong winds and huge ocean swell, and very few landing places on our way. We did not paddle fast in the wind.


Today the weather forecast was promising, and we tried to get around Norways southernmost point - Lindesnes - and we managed!!!! We had a hard days work in huge seas and slightly less wind and travelled 46 km. to Mandal. Now we are on the safe side of the coast - a coast that I am familiar with, and a less exposed coast.

The lighthouse on Lindesnes - I felt a bit like a mountain climber on top of Everest!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Company

It seems that the blogspot did not send yesterday - I camped south on Bokna, just before the crossing to Stavanger. The crossing was fine - weather was perfect! No wind and sun!!!! I just thought I would never use my sunglasses again!

I paddled a good bit south of Stavanger just as Alexander and his father came driving to the west coast. Fun to see this part of the coast - it looks like my home country Denmark - long sand beaches and flat green fields!

We met, and drove together to the nearest camping site. Good to sit on a chair and have a beer! Tonight is party time!!!!! Tomorrow early, Alexander and I will paddle on, and Alexanders father will drive back to the east.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

artikkel

ja, så var artiklen til ut.no klar. ikke de store blemmer her.
http://ut.no/artikkel/1.7791467

A challenging day

It seemed to be a perfect day today - I got up early, the weather seemed good. My first goal was to reach Haugesund. Then a bit further towards Stavanger. The wind got still stroger as I paddled on. The coast between Bømlo and Haugesund is marked on my map as a "difficult wave area". I supposed that meant that the bottom of the sea was very uneven, and that it may get troublesome for small vessels, as it is constantly exposed to the huge ocean swell of the North Sea....And I was right.

Normally such conditions is a smaller challenge, when you go out in a group with empty kayaks, and play a bit in the waves. For me it was a little different, alone in my heavily loaded kayak. And a small bit would have been all right, but todays challenge lasted for 30 km. The wind grew from moderate breeze to strong breeze, and the ocean swell, that was perhaps 1,5 meters, doubled their size, as they washed over the shallow rock bottom here and there. sometimes I would fin myself very unstable, balancin on the crest of a steep wave like that.

I was quite exhausted when I reached Haugesund. I had arranged to meet Gunnar Eldjarn, who works in Haugesund, building the worlds largest viking ship. It was easy to find Gunnar and the ship, and I had a great lunch together with Gunnar and his boat builder colleges.



The ship was amazing - 115 feet long, made out of solid oak. Breathtaking!

Tomorrow I will paddle to Stavanger, and perhaps a bit farther down the coast, and meet Alexander. By the way, it's been exactly 2 months since we began this journey, and I have paddled more than 2500 km. by now!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rain, wind and paddling

In weather like this, there's nothing to do but....paddle, paddle! I left Bergen late yesterday (13.00). It was tempting to stay for another day, but I'm soooo close to home now!

Ronny and Kyrre who runs the kayak shop "God tur" helped me a lot. I fixed and dried my stuff. Sent home some useless stuff...and got some new stuff from Ronny and Kyrre! As I write these words, I drink a nice espresso from the genious "Aeropress" from "God tur". Thank you very much Ronny and Kyrre - this coffee makes living in a one person tent a lot better! (and Einar, don't be sorry, I got great coffe for the rest of the trip!)

Commercial: Anyone considering buying a kayak should go to Ronny and Kyrre in "God tur" Bergen. They are such nice guys, and real enthusiast,s who sell quality stuff and take their time helping the customers the best way.

Tuesday I paddled 43 km. in wind and rain. average speed was 6,7 km/hour. today I had paddled 50 km. at dinnertime, and another 11 after dinner. I stopped early, before 18.00 - average speed 6,8 km/hour. I'm not exhausted at all. I think I begin to gain real good physical shape.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is promising - finally the rain will stop, and perhaps I will get the wind in my back! I can't wait...better go to sleep now.

Monday, September 12, 2011

God tur

After a hard paddle - 54 km. in wind and rain, I finally reached the city Bergen at 19.00 yesterday. I was met by Hallvard Torp, who have held a depot of dried food for the expedition


The last couple of years, I have been contributing to the sea kayak symposium in Western Norway arranged by the company "God Tur" in Bergen. I contacted the guys that run the company when I arrived Bergen, and I was welcomed to take my kayak indoor for maintainance and stay in Ronnys house. I gladly accepted both.


Now my kayak stays in the kayak shop in the centre of Bergen. I have peeled off what was left of the protective tape on the keel, and replaced it with new tape. My equipment hangs all over the shop to dry, and i have slept in a good warm bed. I took a day off today, to re organize my equipment and reconstitute my body.. It has been hard paddling for the last couple of days, so I probably need it.
I took a walk in the city today....strange and exciting in a way, to see so many people. Had a hair cut and a shave! Lovely! My hair has been bothering me the last weeks when I paddle in the wind.
NRK, the national tv and radio broadcast company also contacted me today. They would make some interview with me regarding my trip tomorrow, before I leave Bergen.
And then I just heard from my friend Alexander that he will come and paddle with me for a week, starting next friday! I'm very happy about that. That is something to look forward to.



For those who are new on this blog, I just add a "Anders and Alexander baidarka paddle" movie clip - seeing this clip makes me happy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Close to Bergen


Yesterday i said goodbye to Øystein, who have paddled with me for 3 days now. He was picked up by Ahn Loan, who had made dinner for us. I said goodbye, and paddled on alone.

Today I crossed the Sogne fjord and Flens fjord,and it seems to be the last real fjord crossings on my long journey. I'm very optimistic about that. Unfortunately, it seems that I will get more wind and a lot of rain in the next days to come.

It has not been easy finding good camping spots lately. And being alone makes landings quite complicated. My poor kayak has taken a lot of wear the last week. I have reinforced the keel with some protective tape, that is almost completely worn down now! It's also hard for the back, and sometimes risky to pull the kayak on shore. Usually I place driftswood pieces on shore, and pull the loaded kayak on top of them.


Tomorrow I probably reach Bergen. It will be rainy and windy, but I have been offered housing for me and the kayak. I will carry out some maintenance (new protective tape!!) and perhaps give myself a days rest.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We did like the vikings!

It has been a while since my last blog entry. Many things has happened, but no great sensations. It has been good paddling alone for some days, and I sure meet people.

Like many have probably guessed, I did not paddle around the feared cape "Stad". When I got there it was windy, but I was determined that I would paddle around Stad. I do respect all the scary stories I hear, but most of them are from boating people. A paddler's point of view is different. I studied the map, and sure, it could be difficult - no doubt. But I also noticed serveral spots where you could land, in order to shorten the difficult passages. "Not that bad" I thought.

But then in the evening, I met Bao Quoc's sister and brother in law, Ahn Loan and Øystein. We camped together north east of Stad, and Øystein wanted to paddle with me. Cool!

It turned out a bit different. During the night came strong gale force winds, and they kept blowing in the morning. It would possibly be only tiering and foolish to attempt to paddle in such winds. We had a small hope, and went by car to the westernmost point, where we got a good view of the sea. No doubt - not a good idea to paddle today!


West cape "Stad" Norways westernmost point. We could hardly stand upright, and opening the door of the car was quite difficult. I was happy to go by car past this place. I'll come back some other day when the weather is better! 

And so we did like the vikings, who pulled their ships over narrow land passages to avoid exposed and difficult seas, we took my baidarka on the car roof and simply started paddling on the southern side.

It was great to have company by Øystein. He has paddled a lot in this area, and is familiar with all the places here. By the way, paddling was far from easy. It was still gale force winds, and paddling 30 km. with such strong wind against you is actually more tiering than paddling 60 km. in calm weather.



Camping with two one person tents in hard rain could become boring, but if you put up the tents close together it's no problem to have conversations through the walls!

That was yesterday - today has also been windy, and we have paddled to Florø. Ahn Loans sister lives here, and has kindly offered her house for us to stay for the night. Tomorrow we will paddle past Askvoll, and hopefully I will be in Bergen in 3 days. The weather shall become still calmer, but it will be rainy. ØØystein follows me tomorrow, and then I'm on my own again.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Meeting people

Yesterday as I paddled by the dreaded Hustadvika in calm weather and rain, I noticed a group of people by a small lighthouse. They looked at me, I looked at them....and kept paddling.

As I came to Bud, a small harbor nearby, they contacted me. It was Wenche and Lars from Oslo kayak club - old acquaintances of mine! They had a cabin nearby, and i was invtited to them for a shower, clothes washing, a good meal and a bed. It was so nice meeting them. These things happen all the time.

I have had some good days now, paddling alone. My breaks get shorter, and paddling is a bit faster now. Today and yesterday, I covered 110 km, finishing early in the afternoon. Now I will slow down, since I will not paddle outside Stadt on Tuesday - strong winds on Tuesday probably. So now I will spend two days getting to Stadt, seeing whatever there is to see. The city of Ålesund could be interesting, so could Rundø - biggest bird cliffs in the country.....We'll see what the days to come will bring.

It doesn't bother me being alone at all. After 7 weeks of sharing almost every moment of the day with others, It's quite satisfying to be alone.


Wenche and Lars followed me to my kayak and waved goodbye this morning

Friday, September 2, 2011

Changes......

Today Bao Quoc announced thet he wanted to quit paddling for a while. The reason was that he wants to finish his studies.

We paddled to Kristiansund. Here we met Elsebeth and Geir, who kindly offered us a bed for the night, dinner and a small sightseeing in beautiful Kristiansund. Thank you so much Elsebeth and Geir!!!!

We re arranged our gear and got a smaller tent for me. I intend to keep paddling as long as I still enjoy it, so even though I dislike the thought of paddling alone, I take one day at the time an go on....

Tomorrow is Hustadvika - an area feared by sailors. The weather forecast says the weather will be good - little wind and no rain!   

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Living in style

Finally we met some other paddlers! Near Bjugn we were met by Greta and Ole Kristian in their kayaks. They paddled with us as we crossed the Bjugn fjord. They invited us to Greta's home for an evening meal, sauna and a good bed, which we of course appreciated! Many thanks - it was so nice meeting you.



We paddled on today in great weather and some light wind. During the day, the rain came, it got cloudy and dark! It was getting late, as we found a small site called Magerøy, where there was a guest harbor. The great people who run the place let us sleep inside a great 17. century house, which is now in use as a guest house for tourists. Our tent was completely soaked, so we gladly accepted their offer.


The house to the right is where we stayed for the night. Talk about living in style!
Tomorrow, we will get up early. We need to use the light hours for paddling now, as the evenings get shorter.
  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stokkøya

The wind had calmed as we left Sætervik, even though some swell had built up during the night. The goal for the day was Stokkøya. We got up a little late, as a nice couple from Haugesund had invited us for a drink the night before!


Evening paddling - calm sea and some ocean swell.


The weather was BEAUTIFUL - sun and light wind. Almost too good to be true. 50 km. of paddling took us to Stokkøya - a beautiful remote spot, with a strange mix of beautiful nature and modern architecture.


The beach bar at Stokkøya.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good paddling in strong winds

After we left the North, the weather has been fair. Little rain, and some sun. Until today....
We got out of our moist sleeping bags at 06.00 in the morning. We had some wind and rain the day before, and were happy to see the sun drying our tent and tarp. We had a good long breakfast, consisting of oat porridge and tea. Everything was perfect......

At 08.00 we were seated in our kayaks, heading south-west into the beautiful archipelago.





We usually paddle 3x15 km. a day, on average. With two good breaks in-between, or so. Our first stop after 17 km. at a small harbor was great. As we went on, the fog came! we had 100 m. visibility, and did some small crossings between islands paddling real close to each other, trusting the compass completely. I sometimes get sea sick from paddling in fog, but when I had Bao Quoc in my sight it was O.K. Then came the rain.....

And then came the wind, and even more rain. The best thing was that the fog disappeared!


8 km. of paddling in gale force wind and strong rain took us to Sætervik. The old lighthouse in Buholmråsa was spectacular in this weather!! There is a sheltered harbor in Sætervik, and we figured out there might be some place to get shelter from the weather and take a break. There was not only a good harbor, but an open cafe and....an apartments for rent!!! We were served good coffee by the gentle couple who runs the place, and we agreed to stay for the night. We have had a good shower, washed some clothes by hand, and eaten a good meal.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is promising, and we are optimistic about venturing out early tomorrow morning...


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Goodbye to the North

It was so good to vistit Inge and Bent at Havnomaden's Kayakcentre in Husvær. Not far from Husvær is Brønnøysund - a place that I have visited often, and a place where my heart belongs....We arrived early today, and met my good friend Kurt in the harbor. Tonight we have arranged to eat pizza with Kurt and his family, and other great people from Brønnøysund.

The weather is still good. Yesterday we had what seems to be the last summer night with no wind and sun - we paddled a long distance in complete silence, only disturbed by little dolphins who hit the surface and exhaled.

It is both great and a bit sad to be here in Brønnøysund. Brønnøysund is in the southernmost part of Northern Norway, and leaving Brønnøysund means leaving the North! And I won't be back for a long time... I have enjoyed our trip through Northern Norway so much - especially the last couple of weeks in Helgeland.

(above was written 2 days ago)

Now we have crossed another county border!!!!!! North Trøndelag lies ahead of us.

We have had difficulties connecting to the internet, but now it seems to work! I'll get back with some photos. At this moment we are just about to cross the Folda Fjord. The weather is fine, a bit rainy and windy this morning, but it's getting better. We have had a good break in a guest harbor, but now we need to move on....

Monday, August 22, 2011

1467 km

We are approximately half way on our long journey now. And we have used half the time. Today we reached Husvær South in Nordland. Soon it's time to change to my next overview map!

Our progress is good, and we still experience amazing things. Yesterday we came across pods of small dolphins, who jumped out of the water quite close to us. Unfortunately, we did not manage to take any photos before they were gone.


We often get up early in the morning. 05.00 is typical. Then it's good to take a nap any time you have the opportunity. Here I take a short nap in a harbor, using my thermos as a pillow.

We eat well all the time. Our typical breakfast consist of oat flakes, dried milk powder and hot water. Usually we add sugar, sometimes butter, and sometimes we even add chocolate! We eat oats quite often, actually. For lunch too, and sometimes as an evening meal.

Once or twice a day, we have "dinner". Dinner consist of vacuum packed, freeze dried meals from a Norwegian company "Drytech". They come in many varieties. Unfortunately Our first food depot to last 3 weeks had only two varieties! Now I have more to choose from. To add a little extra fat (and taste), we have brought lots of olive oil. We add up to one dl. in every meal as often as we can.

We sometimes take a break out on the water. Therefore we need some "deck food". This usually consists of different kinds of nuts, raisins and chocolate. All packed in waterproof little bags, within easy reach.
You actually become a little tired of the same food every day. Therefore, we eat well every time we reach some kind of civilization. We now typically buy bread, cheese, eggs and canned fish. We prefer fat and protein!


Life beneath the sea is often more interesting than life above the sea

Today we reached Inge and Bent Skauen. They run "Havnomaden" (sea nomad) kayak center. We have had a good time with good food, wine and great company with Inge and Bent, who are passionate paddlers. We have slept in good beds, had a good shower, and washed our smelliest clothes.

Wine, chairs and table - luxury!!!! Thanks to Inge and Bent.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bodø - Ørnes

We set out from Bodø rather late on the 16. The wind was strong - too strong to cross the Salten fjord. We had to stop and sleep only 12 km. from where we started, and wait for better weather. We got up at 04.00 in the morning on wedensday 17. and crossed the fjord in nice weather. This day, we paddled 62 km. It is very efficient to get up early! Today, we paddled 30 km. We rounded the dreaded "Kunna" in fair weather, and got to Ørnes early. We had a good meal, and went out to find Tor's cabin on Mesøya. We had placed a depot of dried food here, and everything went as planned. Today it is two weeks since we left Tromsø, and we had estimated a two weeks trip to get here - it couldn't be more perfect.



Finally Helgeland! I have been looking forward to paddle this part of the coast.

Tor and his wife Birte came here by car as I write these lines. We had a good evening together, ate fresh food and sat on chairs! Luxury!!!! Birte had brought Tor's old baidarka. It is shorter and better suited for this kind of trip, and Bao Quoc will leave behind his 570 cm. long baidarka on Mesøya. A little rigging needs to be done before we can continue.


Man or kayak? I met this two legged monster lying on its back when I went outside the cabin to brush my teeth!


Tor and Birte approaching the cabin in their kayaks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Press coverage

During our trip, the press has shown a fair amount of interest in our expedition.  The first newspaper to provide coverage was Sør-Varanger avis, which gave us a two-page spread with lots of detail.



Here is an article from the newspaper Nordlys based on an interview the journalist did while we were in Tromsø.


(Click image for full-size picture).

And here is an article from Avisa Nordland the 20th of August:

Strong winds and a stop in Bodø

We had a good overnight stay in Leines, where an acquaintance of Tor invited us to have dinner, take a shower and offered us a bed for the night. Such luxury!!! Many thanks to Berit for her genuine hospitality.

At this point we had quite strong winds. Tor still had trouble with his wrists, and the direction of the wind was difficult to prejudge. It was a bit exciting to cross the Folda fjord. The weather seemed stable when we began the 10 km. crossing, but after 6 km. the wind started to blow strongly from shore, and we had to battle against the wind for the last 3-4 km. or so. We camped close to the crossing place near Os on one of the journey's most beautiful places so far. The weather was warm, and for the first time in a month, we could enjoy the evening without socks, shoes and windproof clothing.

On the August 15th - one month after our start in Grense Jakobselv, we set out from Os early in the morning. We paddled quite a distance - 15 km. - in little wind and sun. Upon crossing the little Mist fjord, the wind grew stronger from an unfortunate direction - Easterly. The last 2 km. of the crossing was really hard. We had the feeling of not moving forward at all. We had to concentrate on keeping the course and our balance, when sudden bursts of wind up to storm strength suddenly came upon us for periods of 3-4 minutes.  The gusts were so strong, they threatened to tip us over, and we had to lean strongly into the wind to avoid this... which, of course, becomes 'interesting' the gust subsides. We reached Mjelde, 10 km. North of Bodø and decided to take a break and have dinner. Here, the weather only got worse.   The strong bursts of wind continued, all the time from different directions.  A thick layer of froth from the waves blew constantly across the water, and eddies of foam formed here and there.  It was obvious that it would not be wise to continue paddling - such a shame - we had been looking forward to reaching Bodø this day.    

As we sat there wit our frustration, i got a message from Jim Ness in Bodø: "I follow your blog, you can stay in Bodø Kayak club if you wish. Hope to see you soon, otherwise have a good trip!" I called Jim, just to check that he really meant it, and he immediately offered to come and pick us up and take us the last bit to Bodø by car. We accepted his offer and installed ourselves in the club house, then we went and had a good dinner in Bodø. Many thanks to Jim for his help, and to Bodø Kayak club for letting us stay at the club house "as long as we wish!".


Jim Ness at the beach of Mjelde - it was actually hard to stand in the strong winds, and loading kayaks on the car was risky business!

According to the weather forecast, the strong and unpredictable winds will continue for a few days. Tor has decided to stop here in Bodø, so Bao Quoc and I will wait for better conditions and go on. It is very uncertain, but perhaps tonight will offer a short opening, where we can paddle for five hours or so.





Bao Quoc making breakfast outside the clubhouse. He has an obsession with food. While Tor and I have both dropped a few kilos, Bao Quoc has gained two kilos! I constantly tell him that he eats too much and works too little, but he refuses to listen!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Steigen - and finally some pictures

After four days of paddling in Nordland, we have made it to Steigen. Nature only gets better and better. Bright white beaches and small islands everywhere. We have had some rain and some wind. The distances we paddle have been shortened slightly. Tor's arm is not getting better, and we have had to slow down. We will attempt to go to Mesøya together slowly - that is 150 km. from our current position. Mesøya is the home place of Tor's family, and we would like to go there with him. Once there, he will stop paddling, and it is up to me and Bao Quoc to continue the journey. We will have to reorganize things slightly, but there is no problem in paddling on only the two of us. Only a shame that Tor cannot continue with us.

The most impressive sights lately is the eagles that we constantly see. We often get quite close - 30-50 meters yesterday. But not close enough to take a good photo so far. On Thursday, I nearly hit an otter with the tip of my kayak. It was windy, and I approached it from the downwind side. I thought it was a dead animal, lying so still and not being aware of me. As I got closer I saw that he was completely occupied, eating a fish. The bow of my baidarka was only 30 cm. from him when he saw me, took the fish with him, and disapeared in the water.

And finally I have the chance so put in some pictures!!!! See below


Paddling between two giant ships from the Norwegian marine. Paddling long distances is not always that exciting, so whenever we approach something interesting, it has to be explored.



Lunch stop between little islands on a sand beach. Quite a change from earlier where we sometimes had to paddle long distances to find a suitable landing place.


Steigen in beautiful weather


We had decided to find the perfect campsite as we were expecting lots of rain.  We had no trouble finding one.  In addition to pitching the tent, we stretched a tarp as an additional shelter for luggage.  We also cooked our food and ate under the tarp - a bit less claustrophic than eating in a cramped tent.  Here the bad weather is on its way.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nordland!


Another day on the water…

10th of August. A good, long day of paddling took us from Bø to Korsnes – 55 km. all together. We are happy to have reached Nordland. We crossed the border between Troms and Nordland yesterday and found out that our total distance so far was a little more than 1000 km. Really something to celebrate – to all luck Tor had brought a small bottle of armagnac from Tromsø, and we had a toast!
The first physical sign of being in Nordland was the bright white beaches that consist of coral sand – a beautiful sight. In addition it gives us great satisfaction to realize that the country is changing – we are making progress! We had a late dinner ashore between Ofotfjord and Tysfjord. Paddling here was spectacular – many kilometers of shallow, bright green water and coral sand underneath revealed all the life in the sea: anemones, urchins, crabs, a plethora of shells and different kinds of kelp. A bit later, on our way across Tysfjord, the otherwise cloudy sky opened, and a bright burst from the evening sun illuminated the majestic Lofoten peaks further out in the ocean.
The weather has been fine – little wind and rain so far. Yesterday we had strong winds, but we just took a good long break in the middle of the day, and continued when the wind had calmed down. When the strong wind started, we also had some serious current, so paddling was quite exciting for a while. We have also passed some strong tidal streams in narrow passages – it has been difficult to prejudge how the water is running at high tide, low tide etc. Often the water flows in different patterns – one place you paddle all you can against the current, then suddenly your kayak is turned sideways and suddenly you paddle at good speed in the direction of the current. There are many things to learn for us southern paddlers who are not used to this.   

In closing, have to share one funny incident.  After a long stretch on the water, we came across an isolated building on shore where we discerned the sign “Kro og Lefsebakeri” – a cafeteria with home-made “lefse”  - a baked good that is traditional in this region.  We decided to go ashore for a break and see if we could get some lefse.  No luck.  The place was closed – with no indication of opening hours. We don’t know if the place had closed for the day, for the season, for good or what, but it was clear that we were not going to get much joy from this place. Today.  Well, we settled down on the pebble beach, fired up the Kelly kettle, had a hot meal and coffee and enjoyed the sight of the calm sea.  The sun smiled to us.  It was actually much better than being inside.  Still …. It would have been nice with some lefse.  Later that evening we went ashore for the evening.  When it is convenient, we generally ask permission to pitch our tent when we are in an inhabited area.  According to tradition, Tor ran up to the nearest farm house to ask permission and, while he was at it, for fresh water.  The woman in the house was accommodating, and when she hear that we were famous (there had been a full-page article on our trip in the local newspaper Nordlys the day before), she was mightily impressed and – unprompted – asked “do you like lefse?”.  Well, Tor indicated that we were not completely against lefse.  The woman went over to another building a brought back a big, fat lefse!  We enjoyed it very much for lunch on a spectacular coral beach we found the next day.  Life is very, very good!.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Crisis? What crisis?


Today, the 8th of August is actually my 40th birthday! No bad way to spend a special day, to be out paddling with friends. I was a bit concerned, since so many people ask me about the midlife crisis – so far it seems to be nothing to worry seriously about!
We left Tromsø late Saturday. 30 km. of paddling took us to the outside of Kvaløya. We had quite strong wind at our backs, and some nice surf too. A narrow passage with strong currents also made the paddling exciting, but fortunately no capsize this time!
From Kvaløya we crossed Malangen on Sunday. We ended up just North of Dyrøya late, after 63 km. of paddling – the longest distance paddled in a single day so far on our trip! We made a stop of more than 4 hours just north of Finnsnes. A paddle friend, Ørgen Karlsen, had arranged a stop at Kurt Sverre Albrichtsen’s summer house. Kurt Sverre has built several skin on frame kayaks with my guidance, and on his own. Meeting him and his wife was a great experience. They served us a great meal (we haven’t eaten fresh vegetables for almost four weeks now), and showed us around in their wonderful summer house. The summer house consists of several small and large buildings, all built and decorated by themselves with second hand materials, stone and wood. It was beautiful and radiated creativity – truly an inspiring visit. Kurt Sverre was very modest about his creations himself, but I was amazed. A couple of true artists, and a place I definitely would love to visit again.
Today, we had a late start. It’s my birthday and I phoned my family while having 4 cups of coffee in the sun. Truly a good start of the day. 39 km of easy paddling brought us to Astafjord. I had a good long surf on the way – the GPS showed a top speed of 16 km/hour – or 9 knots. Almost the speed the Aleuts were rumored to keep for long distances in the old days – I wonder if they surfed too?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Goodbye to Finnmark

It feels very odd to sit in a coach in front of a laptop with clean clothes and a smell of soap. My whole body is in paddle mode and I can still feel the waves moving me and my baidarka all the time.

We arrived Tromsø yesterday evening after a day's paddling where we clocked up 61 km. It was Thursday, exactly 3 weeks after our start at Grense Jakobselv. Without much effort, exactly on schedule - strange in a way. Finnmark was, due to its exposed nature, the bit of coast I was most uncertain about. 790 km. all together ... so far.

We will stay here for a day or so, and continue south on Saturday.

I think I have lost a bit of weight, otherwise my body seems to function perfectly. I'll spend the day here in Tromsø to eat a lot and make phone calls to friends and family.

I was completely overwhelmed by the nature in Finnmark, and I certainly want to come back some day. We could easily have spent a month or two exploring all the exciting and spectacular bits of the coast - all the fjords, the settlements, the beaches and wildlife.

Our equipment also worked well. The planning could have been better, but we have had the right equipment to make ourselves comfortable at all times, also when the weather was bad. I'm very happy about our choice of camera equipment - with the combination of compact and bigger cameras, we have managed to make a lot of good photos. And I have managed to keep the camera dry and safe.

The baidarkas work well, but Bao Quoc may have chosen a slightly too long baidarka. He has had some trouble steering well in certain winds and tidal streams. We hope that attaching a small skeg here in Tromsø will solve the problems. The paint he used just prior to our departure has partly loosened; still, the baidarka is fairly dry. We washed it in fresh water yesterday, and today we will give it a few coats of fast-drying varnish.

All the way, we have used the ingenious KELLYKETTLE!!!!!! My warm regards to the mr. Kelly, who invented this waterboiler.  We use it every morning heating water for our breakfast. Usually you just sit on the beach and pick up whatever you find - sticks, driftswood bits, dried grass and seawheed - whatever. In a few minutes you have boiling water! we use it one or two times during the day at lunch stops, and we use it in the evening for our evening meals.

Commercial: "Go buy a kellykettle immediately - you will not regret it. (Available in my web shop)"

We have made a lot of campfires - both during daytime stops and in the evening. We use drysuits all the time, and a fire both warms you and makes your woolen inner clothes dry for the next paddling. Many thanks to Bao Quoc who insisted on bringing a small hatchet along!

Also my warm thanks to Glenn who encouraged me to buy (and sell in my webshop!) the Crewsaver "Cell" drysuit. It's affordable, and it is excellent! I've been living in this suit for 3 weeks now, both in good and bad weather and I feel just fine in it. I was a bit skeptical to neoprene cuffs, but they work fine and keep my neck and wrists good and warm as well.
 
I will go and eat!!!!!!! I hope to be able to write more often now, as we enter more inhabited parts of the coast.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Exhibit at Tromsø Folk Museum

Over the next couple of days we are going to be doing some kayak maintenance, including repainting one of the kayaks to make it smoother (and hence faster).  We have struck an agreement with the Folk Museum in Tromsø that we will combine this work with some "show and tell".  Friday and Saturday we shall be exhibiting three traditional kayaks on the museum grounds, demonstrating simple maintenance and providing a guided tour to any comers.  For anyone in the area ... come and see us in Folkeparken, down by the sea.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tackling tendinitis


We mentioned in an earlier entry that Tor had developed tendinitis - a challenge to be tackled.  Well he saw a doctor and got a prescription for an anti-inflammatory drug (diclofenac).  Combined with some rest from paddling, this has already eliminated the pain.  However, we still have a long way to go and we don't want this challenge to recur. We therefore sewed a set of straps together to link the paddle to his arm without the need to use the flexors in the lower arm - see photos.  One strap goes around the wrist, the two others go around the paddle, on either side of his hand.  It remains to perform the long-term field test of this new contraption.

Friday, July 29, 2011

More photos

Due to limited bandwidth, we have not shared many photos from our trip so far. Well, now we have a chance to correct this. Hopefully these shots give you an impression of the spectacular nature we are enjoying.