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!