July 14, Bao Quoc and I flew to Kirkenes where we met Tor, his wife Birte and their daughter Susanne. Together we drove out to Grense Jakobselv where our adventure was to start in the morning.
By the light of the midnight sun we pitched our tent and settled in for the night. In the morning we packed, and packed, and packed – including three weeks’ worth of food. Birte and Susanne waved goodby as we set out in gale winds and choppy waves. As this was the first day and conditions were challenging, we paddled 12 kilometer on this first day. At that point it felt good to enter a quiet fjord which was protected from the wind. Anders traversed a challenging tidal current and almost capsized. Tor followed him … and did. No problem. Tor was wearing his dry suit and Bao Quoc quickly came and provided support. With Anders there in addition, recovery was quick. We were next to a beautiful campsite and settled in for the night.
Next morning we passed Bøkfjord lighthouse and continued on to Skogøya in great sunshine and fair winds. Having found our rhythm, we did 42 kilometers before landing on a boulder beach with waves from the back. Getting ashore quickly is critical to avoid getting wet. The area was intriguing – and inhabited by a large number of foxes. They had ribbed birds and even eaten a badger where only a bit of the skull now remained. We found a hollow that was protected from the wind, and spent a very calm night. The foxes did not bother us.
Next morning we gained Bugøyneset after a short, uneventful crossing. We trimmed the kayaks during the crossing so that they would not weathercock during the longer crossing that was to follow – to Vadsø. During a short break, Anders discovered the he had got a small rift in his kayak – the first time this had happened in his 20 years of skin on frame kayak paddling. A few liters of water had seeped in through the rift. Anders quickly pumped out the water, mopped up the remaining drops and patched up the rift with a few centimeters of duct tape. Two incidents in two days? Hopefully a bit more excitement than we will experience on average during our trip.
The crossing to Vadsø was smooth, and we enjoyed a late lunch at Rica hotel – which very hospitably let us charge our cell phone batteries and create this blog entry in the calm of their reception. Thanks.
We plan on doing a few more kilometers this evening before wrapping up for the day.