Day 177. Kloven on Senja to Lavangsnes

Posted by: James on June 26, 2009

Distance 51km | Time 10.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 177.1 Only two more payments and it all belongs to meI managed to get to bed before midnight last night after doing the blog and it paid off as I woke at 0700. I felt refreshed and after breakfast packed the kayak and set off at 0900. The small bay was basking in the sunlight and even the ruined house looked warm. There was not a ripple on the water as I set forth onto the large Solbergfjord.

Day 177.2 Solbergfjord with the Hurtigruten ferry and the southern part of Senja island in the backgroundI crossed the fjord diagonally heading for Haug on the far side. Each side of the fjord was very green and pleasant in the sun. Just to the west of Haug was a small point which I paddled round. There were people riding horse drawn carriages on the farm lanes on the mainland. It was all very much summer. I also was making good time as there must have been an ebbing tide adding an extra km per hour as I paddled past the north going Hurtigruten ferry.

I noticed some jelly fish in the water which seemed quite warm now. When I measured the temperature, I was astounded to see it was nearly 14 degrees; a full 10 degrees warmer than when I started at Grense Jakobselv. I was hot in the drysuit.

Day 177.3 The lush southern shore of Solbergfjord had many nice farmsJust after this peninsula was a new bridge connecting the small island of Dyroy to the mainland. It was quite an engineering extravagance to have such a large bridge to serve the island with probably a population of less than 50. I paddled under the bridge and had lunch.

There are a few other people paddling Norway’s coast this summer. There is Tom Amundsen some two weeks ahead of me and two Swedish girls a few days behind me. The girls asked me yesterday what the best time was to paddle through the Rystraumen tidal flow. I replied anytime as when I passed through it was not much and they would reach it around the same tidal state if they left after breakfast. However they were earlier and had the full swirling whirlpool ridden current against them and could not paddle. They texted me to say they had to wait for at least 2-3 hours. I phoned to apologize.

Day 177.4 Crossing Faksfjord with Loksetind, 1234m, in the backgroundAfter lunch I had a nice paddle down Dyrsund. There were many larger farms in this sheltered piece of water. Summer had truly arrived here now and I noticed that two of the farms were already cutting the first batch of grass. When summer starts here it seems to explode in the 24 hours daylight and in the last weeks much of this has been sunlight.

Day 177.5 Paddling towards the very mountainous island of Andorja crammed full of alpine peaks over 1000 metresAs I paddled down the sound to the south end a truly magnificent wall of mountains with a few small glaciers grew in front of me. It was Andorja island. It was not a big island, about 20 km by 20 km, but it seemed crammed full of 1000 metre peaks all of an alpine nature. There was a fringe of farming on the fertile skirt round the perimeter of the island before the land erupted skywards.

Day 177.6 Looking out to sea with a sailing boat and some of the Vesteralen islands in the backgroundI opted to go on the inside of the island; to the east and south of it where it was separated from the mainland by a deep fjord. I crossed the open Faksfjord and then entered the narrows, called Mjosund. The tide was now flooding and there was a flow against me. The sailing boat I had been racing from the extravagant bridge to Dyroy could not keep up with me anymore and she abandoned the sails, switched on the motor. Now I could not keep up.

There was a bridge over to the island of Andorja and the smaller and neighboring island of Rolla. These two mountainous islands had a population of about 1000 people on their rugged lands yet they formed a municipality or council called Ibestad. I should imagine fish is the main income here and as I passed under the bridge two large refrigerated lorries left the island with cargos.

It was getting on now and I needed somewhere to camp soon as I liked the early starts and finishes. It was 1800 and I thought I would cross to the south of the Astafjord where I could see some hamlets basking on green slopes in the forest clearings in the sun. On the north side the high mountains of the interior of the island meant everything was in the shade. So I started over to the south.

It took a good hour to paddle the 6 km to Levangsnes. It was basking in the sun on a point where the Astafjord and Lanangen fjord met. When I reached it I could not see any great to camp except near some houses where it was flatter. Just then someone appeared and I landed and asked him if it was OK. Off course he said.

We got chatting and he introduced himself as Arve Johansen. Within a few minutes I was invited to supper in half an hour. Northern Norwegians living on the coast are the yardstick of hospitality. I put up the tent sorted myself out and went up to the house. His wife, Dagmar, had made a wonderful moose stew for the collection of chatty friendly kids and his mother. It was a very nice sociable meal with lots of easy banter and humour.

I postponed the blog until 2330 when everybody but Arve had gone to bed. They kindly let me write it in comfort at the dining table. I had it finished at 0200. So much for an early night but with this tremendous weather forecast and 24 hour sunlight I don’t really need it. It was certainly not worth sacrificing a nice evening for an early night.

It had been a really fantastic day. It was defiantly up there in the top five. It had weather, scenery and in the end good company.

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