Day 178. Lavangsnes to Sandstrand in Skaanland

Posted by: James on June 27, 2009

Distance 34km | Time 7.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

I did not get to bed until about 0200 last night and when I woke at 0800 I felt tired still. The sun was beating down onto the tent and cooking me slowly. I opened up the ends and slept for another hour and a half. As 0930 I went up to Arve and Dagmar Johansen house for the breakfast I was invited to. They were also just getting up after having been up late also.

Breakfast was a happy family affair with all the kids tucking into boiled eggs. I had two strong coffees at breakfast and it helped with the banter. It was a very nice mealtime and it was not until nearly 1200 that I started to pack up the tent. Both Arve and Dagmar came down to see me off and I eventually cast off at 1300. It had been a very nice stay.

The weather had lots of promise and for the first time I decided to paddle without my dry suit on. It was great to be liberated from its confines but I soon noticed how badly my spraydeck leaked. I have yet to find a neoprene spraydeck which does not leak or wick water.

Day 178.1 The stunning wall on mountains on the north side of the small Lavangen fjordAlmost immediately I passed the entrance to Lavangen fjord. Looking into it I noticed a very spectacular array of jagged peaks down the north side rising in a high wall straight out of the fjord up to 1200 metres. I photographed it and then paddled over this small fjord

I only paddled an hour before I stopped for lunch by a small sandy beach with a number of boatsheds. The one I stopped at had an oyster catcher chick nearby sheltering in the grass. The parents buzzed around me noisily and then one of them feigned a broken wing. I observed them for a while and then the agile chick made a bolt for it across boulders to another patch of grass.

There were also numerous ducklings in rafts watched over by 2 or 3 mothers along the shore and an island where gulls were nesting along the stretch of coast. The gulls chicks had also hatched and a few of them ventured out of the protective grass onto bare rock but retreated again when I neared.

Day 178.2 Another look at the alpine island of AndorjaI paddled down the main Astafjord to Myrlundshaug passing many small farms along the shore. Many here had already cut the first batch of grass. On the other side of Astafjord was the really spectacular island of Andorja with it compact alpine terrain.

Day 178.3 Looking back up Astafjord to its east end from the south of Rolla islandI paddled over Astafjord to the north side and the island of Rollo as it was the shortest route down the fjord. I had a good look at this island also as I went along the south shore. It was not as alpine or large as it sibling, Andorja, but it was impressive none the less. The mountains on the mainland here were also inspiring.

Despite the high mountains and wild coasts I had not seen a sea eagle for a few days now; the last was north of Tromso by Lyngen. Obviously they need more open ocean and do not seem to thrive in the fjords and sounds.

I kayaked down the coast of Rollo past a couple of larger hamlets and then crossed Astafjord for the third time as I crossed over to the forested point of Fornes on the south side. The wind was starting to get up again and shift directions. It had been an erratic wind all day. After Fornes I started looking for a campsite.

Day 178.4 Fertile farming hamlets along the south shore of Astafjord. This one is RensaI noticed on the map a village called Sandstrand. It means sandy beach so I set my sights on this village another 8 off km down the coast. The paddle down to it was quite rural with many farms lining the shore. While long to the north were some of the steep sided Vesteralen islands.

It was indeed a sandy beach with about 50 houses the other side of a row of grassy fields. There were a lot of boat houses. I aimed for what seem a good camp spot as the sky darkened over and the wind veered to the north and suddenly increased to a force four with white caps everywhere.

I found a sheltered camp spot at once and within half an hour the tent was up, the empty kayak was stashed in the shelter of a shed and I was getting out of my wet clothes which the porous spraydeck had soaked.

I was tired but still managed to write the blog and do the pictures before crashing out in the tent soon after midnight. On my own I find there is just enough time in the evening to write the dairy and do the photos, but it take nearly two hours to complete it.

Day 178.5 Looking up the side fjord of Grovfjord to a spectacular peakIt had been an OK day; I had started very late but still did an acceptable distance. Without the drysuit and socks on I also found the rudder easier to operate which was satisfying. The weather had not quite lived up to its promise in the evening but during the day it was lovely.

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