Day 179. Sandstrand in Skaanland to Ramsund

Posted by: James on June 28, 2009

Distance 30km | Time 6hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 179.1 The calm Vagsfjord en route to the  north of TjeldsundI slept well and did not hear any of the rain which must have fallen during the night. However in the morning I was tired. I just could not bring myself to start the day despite suspecting I would be missing a good current to carry me through Tjeldsund.

Eventually I got up at 1000 and even then I was quite inefficient about packing and carrying the kayak down. With the tide at the end of the ebb and nearing its lowest I eventually cast off at 1200.

My initial aim was to paddle to Lodingen where there was a cheap guest house and I could wash cloths and more importantly buy some food for at least the 4-5 days to Bodo. I only had a day left. This meant paddling down both northern and southern Tjeldsund. Tjeldsund basically separated the Vesteralen and Lofoten group of islands from the mainland.

Initially I had to paddle along 8 km of calm coast with the occasional sand or coral beach. It was overcast but completely still and I made good time. Even at this late stage in the ebbing tide I was getting some help.

At the northern end of the sound I got a lot of help from the tide and I started to fly along. It was nearly 1400 and long after the tide should have turned so I was lucky there was this local tidal quirk. Before I knew it I was sailing past a lovely beach on the east side of the sound towards the bridge. There were people fishing in the current here and I flew past them. The tidal current must have been adding an extra 4 km per hour onto my speed.

Day 179.2 Looking across the basin south of the bridge over Tjeldsund past a puffin and to the town od EvenskjerOnce on the south side of the bridge the sound became much broader and opened into a basin. There were a few coral beaches here of bleached white pulverized shell. I kept to the west side where there was still some helping current and could look over to the east side of the basin and the town of Evenskjer and its large white Lutheran church.

There were a lot of puffins in the basin here. I had not seen any since I entered the sounds at Tromso and was surprised to see so many here. There were a few low grassy islands in this large basin with brilliant white beaches but I don’t think they were suitable for puffins to nest on so they must have come in from the steeper Vesteralen islands to the north.

Day 179.3 The quaint resturant on an old farm at SandtorgI soon reached Sandtorg where there was a quaint looking restaurant. I stopped on the beach near it and had my lunch at 1500 having done the quickest 20 km of the trip so far. After lunch however the current did turn and I was down to a miserable speed. To make matters worse the wind had now got up and was from the west; directly against me.

I looked down the wide southern Tjeldsund and did not fancy paddling 6 hours slowly pulling my way to Lodingen against the wind and current. I had been there before and there was not much to look forward to except the guesthouse with a washing machine and shower and the shops when they opened tomorrow. I quickly decided to change plans and go down Ramsund instead.

Day 179.4  Waiting  for the incomoing tide to cover the coral beach at the northern end of RamsundRamsund was a smaller sound and due to its orientation did apparently not have the same current. Most of the tidal flow went up and down southern Tjeldsund. I crossed over Tjeldsund to a group of flat grassy islands ringed by coral beaches. These islands guarded the northern entrance to Ramsund. I could have gone round all of them but decided to cut through. At one point I had to wait for 10 minutes for the incoming tide to flood some 200 metres of flat coral beach. It was quite remarkable to be standing on this coral beach with spruce trees and typically Norwegian boatsheds nearby and high mountains still covered in snowfields above all that.

Ramsund seemed much easier to paddle in than what I anticipated the southern part of Tjeldsund had in wait. I just hoped the town of Ramsund had a shop open tomorrow. It would also mean that tomorrow I could cross Vestfjord at its narrowest and paddle through an interesting archipelago of islands south of Baroya rather than face a long and relatively uninteresting fjord crossing.

There was a new bridge from the mainland to the somewhat mountainous island of Tjeldoya. The island would now probably have a population of less than 200 in the winter but there would be many leisure houses from people who had old family connections to the island.

There was a bit of current under the bridge for 100 metres where I had to paddle hard but otherwise it was an easy ride up to the town of Ramsund. The town was much bigger than I expected and seemed to be some sort of naval base and there was a grey battleship parked further down the sound. I spoke to a fisherman as it approached and he told me there was a shop and guesthouse at the quay.

There was no guesthouse. The navy had taken it over and closed it for all except visiting defense personnel. In revenge and because it was sheltered I put the tent up on its lawn. There was a simple café nearby and the shop looked big enough for my needs and opened at 1000 tomorrow for sure and perhaps earlier if I asked.

In the evening I went to the café for supper and wrote the blog on the comfort of a table, while eating some fast food. It seemed a very quiet town with a few bored teenagers in the café. I suppose the naval base here sustained the town but it would also have jeopardized the community spirit of this previous farming and fishing village.

It had been an OK day. The weather was not up to much and I had been spoilt with very impressive scenery over the previous days to today’s scenery, although spectacular at any other time, seemed a tad normal. However I had done 30 km in a reasonably quick time with a lot of help from the tide.

One Response to “Day 179. Sandstrand in Skaanland to Ramsund”

  1. e.c.baxter Says:

    Slow Down! You are now on our Main map & you will reach the Bottom too soon ! Love M&D