Day 176. Raudberghamn to Kloven on Senja

Posted by: James on June 25, 2009

Distance 33km | Time 7.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 176.1 The lush shores with larger trees and boat sheds along the side of GisundI slept well despite heavy rain during the night. I did not finish writing until 0100 so slept right through until 0900. When I got up at 1000 after breakfast the rain had stopped but the day was overcast, grey and misty with the threat of rain imminent. I slowly packed all and loaded the kayak.

I now travel with 4 litres of water so the evening campsite need not have a stream. There was a house here with a car outside do I went to ask. He was an older man well into his seventies. We chatted a bit. He was the only inhabitant of the village and his wife was now in hospital with both legs amputated. The ashtray was full. I felt sorry for him but he kept insisting it was OK to stay here alone in his tidy house and fastidious garden. With the water packed I set off at 1200.

The first part of the day took me down Gisund. The mist was still there and it was drizzling occasionally. It was the type of drizzle a kayaker hardly notices. There was also a bit of a headwind and my speed was slow. I pretty much followed the coastline as it was much more interesting than cutting over bays and skipping the detail like ducklings and characterful old boat sheds. Besides it was also a shipping lane in the middle of the sound with the occasional large boat.

It was quite a pleasant paddle down despite the wind and drizzle. I am always a bit stiff for the first few km, but after an hour I am up to speed again with the arms working well. The tide should have been against me but I hardly noticed it. I did notice the head wind however.

After a couple of hours I approached some narrows and an island. On the west side of the sound was a village called Gibostad. I crossed over to it and landed for lunch. There were some large old fish wharfs but they were disused and some were in disrepair. I saw a shop nearby so bought a few treats and some Vaseline to keep the rudder wires greased.

I noticed just how quickly things are growing now. The grass and flowers were a good 30 cm high and the angelica was nearly a metre. The birch trees here were no longer the twisted gnarled mountain variety but tall elegant trees with drooping branches dripping in bright green leaves.

After lunch the rain was back on but in my dry suit I really did not notice it. The only disadvantage was that the scenery was obscured by the mist. The wind had also died down and the negligible current should have been turning in my favour.

I crossed the sound again at the narrows here to the east side and the village of Lensvik with its large and white Lutheran church, a landmark of a building. I continued to follow the coast to a tranquil grassy point with a beach on both sides. As I paddled round the point I could look down and see the sand some 4-5 metres down in the crystal clear water.

After this point, called Leiknes, the town of Finnsnes came into view some 7-8 km south down Gisund. There was a large bridge here connecting the island on Senja to the mainland. It was the only bridge to Senja but there were a few ferries. The wind had now swung behind me and I made good time to Finnsnes. Despite the fact the sound was narrow here and the tide starting ebbing a good two hours previously I was disappointed that there was no current to help me along.

I did not want to stop here as it was a town and set my sights on a small peninsula to the south to spend the night. I crossed a large basin of water to the south of the high bridge where some yachts from Finnsnes seem to be having a small regatta. I passed the yachts and then reached the forested shores of the peninsula. There were a few rocky beaches here but it seems there was a nice bay just round the corner on the south side. The forest here was mixed with large birch but also aspen and spruce.

The bay on the other side was called Kloven. There was a derelict house in the bay which would fall down soon and a few remains of even older buildings. Someone had planted a large area in spruce. The tide was at least half out and it was easy to land on the weed covered rocks. I could drag the kayak a good way up these without damaging it.

Day 176.2 A camp in the grassy forest at Kloven bay on Senja islandI found a nice place to camp on a terrace beside the shore and under some aspen trees. It was so wind still that not even the aspen leaves were fluttering. Now and again the sun came out as I put up the tent. I expected to be overrun by mosquitoes but none appeared on this damp evening from the long grass. By 2000 I was in the tent writing the blog. It seemed I would get an early night after all.

It had been a relatively easy day, however the scenery was obscured. It was not perhaps that impressive anyway. Despite the late start I had also managed an almost acceptable distance.

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