Archive for July, 2009

Day 212. Indre Fure on Stadlandet to Ulvsund Fyr lighthouse

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Distance 15km | Time 3hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 212.1 The 'klyngetun' of Indre Fure was a charming and friendly hamletWhen I woke my shoulders were tired, it was a bit breezy but the rain was pelting onto the taught ripstop of the tent. I was not getting up in this just yet. I had earnt a lie in yesterday. When I finally considered getting up it was around 1030 but the rain was still pelting onto the tent.

I looked at the weather forecast and it warned that there would be a lot of rain today ‘Sor fra Stad’ which is where I now was. I also said the wind would remain low until mid afternoon when it would get up to a force five.

I considered writing the blog but then thought I would be better of crossing the 8-9 km of open sea across Sildagapet and continuing south for another 5-6 km to a lighthouse which offered accommodation at the north of Ulvsund. I found a number and phoned and arranged to stay. It was hard to hear the phone with the rain lashing the tent.

I managed to pack up everything and get into most of my drysuit before getting out of the tent. With the drysuit on and everything in dry bags except the tent it did not matter about the rain any more. I carted every down to the waterline and took down the tent. Just then a small dingy appeared.

Out of the dingy stepped Kjell Fure, the husband of Marit who had the nice garden and I had spoken to last night. Kjell was an old sea dog and knew the area intimately. I later read he was involved in a few rescues of helpless fishermen along this coast. He showed me inside his boathouse or naust. It was like a museum with old boats hanging from the roof, huge cognac barrels which had drifted ashore and were used to salt fish. Fishing nets, longlines and glass buoys hung from rafters and there was a large stack of Walkers wooden fish boxes which had been collected from the shore through the decades. Told him the place reminded me of Scotland and he said everybody says that.

He explained to me Indre Fure was a unique hamlet in that it was a ‘Klyngetun’. Usually in Norway houses are spread out but here the 5 or 6 houses and the barns were all clustered together. This is because it was the only safe place to live as there was danger from avalanche and falling stones elsewhere.

When it was finally 1330 I started to set off. By now the wind was up to a force three with the odd force four gust. After yesterdays achievement I was perhaps getting a bit blasé and over confident. However in reality I still had some of the piece of ocean called Stadhavet to paddle over.

As I pulled out beyond the breakwater the reality hit. It was now a force four and the rain was so heavy it was impossible to see the land on the other side. I took a bearing and set off. After a km I considered turning back as the swell was a good 3 metres and many of the tops were breaking. I still had another 6-7 km to go before I reached some shelter again. However sitting upright and paddling strongly I was making good time.

I paddled a good 40 minutes with the waves coming from the side and frequently breaking onto the kayak. The white caps were never really more than 30 cm high when they broke and the stable boat I was in plus the odd support brace could handle that. Suddenly the sea in front of me was filled with large breaking waves, some with well over a meter of white cap and green water which the boat and support braces could probably not handle.

I realized that I must be approaching another shoal, but was surprised there should be one out here in the middle of the ocean. I could not go through so decided to veer east and go down wind round to side of this turbulent area. I felt much happier however sideways to the waves where I could see them coming and react accordingly rather that hearing them coming up behind me.

After 200 metres I was round these shoals which I later found out were called Dragefallet and continued south. By now I had changed my plans to go directly south to Skogsnes Fyr lighthouse and instead decided to head to the lee side of the island of Silda whose grey form was starting to emerge from the rain some 4-5 km to the south east.

Day 212.2 Heavy rain but and end to the large breaking swell on reaching Silda islandIt only took another hour before I was rounding the surf fringed islet on the north of Silda island and was in the relative calm of the lee of the island. I took a photo with my camera – which is not waterproof or even resistant and then continued to paddle down the east of the island.

A Great Skua, a brute of a bird, which is so far been quite rare here, came to eye me up. Sometimes these fearless birds will hang on to the wing of a gannet while the two tumble to the sea and until the gannet drops or disgorges its catch which the skua will then steal. It will peck smaller birds to death eating just the tastiest morsels.

It was pouring rain but still Silda looked a nice place. I spotted some King Scallop (Pectin maximus) (Kamskjell) farming equipment on the jetty and would have liked to have chatted with the owner of it having tried to farm them myself on the Isle of Skye for a couple of years until I realized the hopeless economics of it. There was a nice harbour with the entrance guarded by a topless mermaid. There was even a pub and café but I was not sure if there was any accommodation or not.

It was only 2 km across the bay to Ulvsund Fyr lighthouse. I could see it clearly. But there was a wind coming up the Ulvsund sound which must have been approaching a force eight. I was barely moving and the 2 km took nearly an hour. I was being covered in salt spray the whole time which was rinsed of by the heavy rain.

At last I reached the lighthouse jetty at about 1630 and unloaded the boat and carried it up beside a shed. I then carried all the necessary items up to the lighthouse keeper’s cottage. This was hired by Solvi and she had built up a successful business with a café and accommodation. It was the first lighthouse project I had seen which was successful. Helnes Fyr and Tranoy Fyr seemed deserted after the business went bankrupt. I suppose the advantage here was it had a road to it.

The interior was very nicely done and the place had a very cool, relaxed vibe. There were a few other calm guests here who could enjoy the fruit teas rather than the beer. It was a nice surprise and as soon as I saw it I decided I could spend an extra day here catching up with the writing and browsing the small library.

After a cod dinner I looked at my photos from the last days and was disappointed that splashes of water had affected many and then crashed out around 2300.

It had been an exciting day, but it was incredibly wet. I ended up in a comfortable friendly lighthouse keeper’s house.

Day 211. Flo on Hareidelandet to Indre Fure on Stadlandet

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Distance 66km | Time 13hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 211.1 The island of Runde is famed for its bird, especially puffin, coloniesI looked at the forecast when I woke to confirm it would still be a good day. The forecast was a bit ambiguous but if luck fell my way then it would be no more than a force 4 all day. I was excited as I contemplated making it round the infamous Stad peninsula. I got up at 0700 and had everything in the kayak and had left the enclosed beach by 0900.

As I paddled out of the breakwater the Hurtigruten ferry went past heading north and the island of Runde, famous for its’ bird colonies, especially the puffin colony, was basking in the sun under an otherwise overcast morning. Runde looked quite green.

I first paddled south down the coast past the smaller island of Vattoy and on to the village of Torvik on the island of Leinoy. Torvik was very rural in contrast to Ulsteinvik across the fjord on the island I had just paddled from. Ulsteinvik, despite being on an island was a town of around 2500 people with a couple of large ship building complexes and other industries.

At the south end of Leinoy was a bridge and causeways connecting this island its larger neighbour of Gurskoy to the south. I went under the bridge and then started heading west through Stokksund. Again there were some nice idyllic islets in the sound but some industry on each side of it. On Bergsoy to the north was a quarry and a small town called Heroy and to the south was the large village of Moltustranda where there was a rusting factory. It is surprising how such industries can survive in these relatively remote locations and one imagines that there is a fair amount of government support to such places to enable them to survive.

I rounded the north west corner of Gurkoy and noticed a gentle swell coming in from the Atlantic. It was only about a metre high and the crests some 100 metres apart. From a higher boat it would have been indiscernible, but from my low position I could see it. I quickly crossed Sandsfjord to reach the island of Sande.

Sande was a beautiful island with a few sandy beaches around it. One on the south side beneath the church was large and white. It was still overcast and there was absolutely no wind at all. Just to the west of Sande were the last islands of Kvamsoy and Riste before Stad.

Day 211.2 Ristoy was a Celtic green island opposite the white beaches of KvamsoyKvamsoy was reasonably large with some very nice sandy beaches to the north of it. There were some quaint old farms around the beaches. The best beach was perhaps to the east of the village of Ristesund and this would make an ideal base to camp if the weather was such one could not continue round Stad. To the north of Kvamsoy was Riste which had a single house on its Celtic green slopes and was probably grazed by sheep.

I paused on the coast to the north west of Kvamsoy beyond the beaches to eat in the kayak and was helped along slightly by an east breeze which was developing. As I ate I drifted through some islets and skerries where there some dozen seals and many gulls and shags. Most of this year’s gull chicks, mottled brown bodies with black beaks, were now able to fly. They could not catch their own food yet and still whined at their parents to regurgitate their catch of small fish to eat.

After lunch I set my sights across the Vanylvsgapet stretch of water towards the most northerly and easterly of the headlands on the Stad peninsula There were 4 such headlands, this one in the north and three down the west side. It was a gently and easy crossing with the smallest of swells and a bit of drizzle.

Stad has a fearsome reputation. Perhaps the worst on the entire Norwegian coast and it is considered one of the most dangerous pieces of water in the world. As I rounded this northern headland called Stalet I could not help thinking how such reputations are exaggerated and how lucky I was with the weather. There were a few skerries off the actual point where there was the now 1.5 metre swell breaking in a quiet roar, but otherwise all looked good,

Day 211.3 Approaching Kjerringa the most exposed of the 4 headlands which radiate out from the west end of Stadlandet from Stalet peninsula on the north sideJust after Stalet was a deep bay where there were the hamlets of Honningsvag and Arvik around which there was the occasional green field for fodder and grazing but mostly these would have been fishing hamlets with easy access to the rich fishing grounds right outside the bay. Beyond the bay was the next headland, perhaps the main one called Kjerringa, translated as ‘The Old Hag’. It was the most northerly of the three headlands on the west side and it rose nearly 500 metres straight out of the Atlantic Ocean.

Had I looked at the map with less rose tinted glasses I would have realized I was still in the lee of the weather and was lulled into a false sense of security. As I reached Kjerringa the south westerly swell started to build and build quickly. This swell was not local but was travelling across the Atlantic Ocean from a low pressure centre where the gale or even storm winds some thousands of kilometers away had generated them. They had travelled at about 20 km per hour pretty much unimpeded from this stormy origin.

Day 211.4 A self portrait looking back to Kjerringa which is the most northerly of the three peninsulas on the west side of Stad from HovdenWhen I got to the tip of Kjerringa this swell was now a good 4 metres high, but the crests where 100 metres apart. I climbed for 5 seconds and then fell back into the trough for 5 seconds. There was nothing too anxious about this. However when this swell was approaching the rocky ramparts at the base of the steep slopes it was flowing into shallower water and this caused the base of the wave to slow down while the top still had momentum. The result was the swell suddenly built to 5 metre waves which then crashed onto the rocks with great violence and plumes of spray.

Day 211.5 Looking back to Kjerringa from the middle headland on the westside called HovdenThen this same wave then crashed back into the sea and started rebounding back in the direction it came. When the rebounding wave hit the next incoming wave the crest would suddenly leap into the air in a white claw of foam. Of course it is never as simple as this and the waves rebound at different angles causing the whole sea of leap wildly, with these white claws developing everywhere. This is called Clapotis.

I could avoid the worst of this clapotis by keeping far out and went round Kjerringa some half km from the base of the cliffs. Here the swell was largely unaffected by the rebounds and was relatively gentle. I continued to paddle south past the base of the cliffs until a bay appeared. This was Ervika bay.

Some 2 km off the coast from Kjerringa is a group of skerries and shallows called Bukketjuvane. These have claimed many, many lives through the centuries. These shallows just break the surface rising from the seabed of 60 metres. Today they looked like a place to stay well clear of in my small kayak with the occasional explosion of spray as swell crashed onto them. With really big swells of 10-12 metres which on can find here sometimes the waves which leap into the sky here can be around 30 metres high and even toss larger ships about before breaking them up. Even the Hurtigruten ferry ‘Midnatsol’ very nearly came to grief on these shoals in December 2003 in just a severe gale of force 9 when it lost power.

There was a large sandy beach at the end of Ervika bay where there was a small hamlet. This bay would be fully exposed to the north west and west weather and the inhabitants of the hamlet must have seen some fearsome storms in their time. There was a breakwater here but I am not sure how easy it would have been to get behind. Otherwise there would have been a huge surf for me to get looped in if I aimed for the beach. However, I was aiming to get round all the headlands while the weather was good.

Day 211.9 Looking back from the southern of the three peninsulars  on the west of Stad called Furestaven to the middle one called HovdenI cut across Ervika bay to the next headland called Hovden there were more shoals offshore here called Vossa where there was also some surf erupting when it caused the biggest swells to rear up and explode. I aimed for the beacon on a islet called Buholmen. There was a large breaking swell on the outside of Buholmen and I would have to go some 500 metres off shore to avoid it. On the inside of it there looked a disturbed channel which seemed quiet enough to try. As I was watching it a three metre wave suddenly reared up in the middle of this channel and made me think again.

Rather than take the sensible option and paddle out for 500 metres I decided to nip between a slot between the headland and a rock called Kobbeholmen on the landside of the disturbed channel where the wave had appeared and unsettled me. I waited for a couple of minutes watching the sea in this slot. When a big set of swells came through the wave in the disturbed channel reappeared but the slot seemed OK. I waited until the next set of big swells crashed through and then sprinted for the slot. I sliced through the foam and emerged some 10 seconds later on the other side and kept paddling until I was clear of any danger.

Day 211.6 Dramatic coastal scenery along the outside of the middle peninsula on the west called HovdenI now had another large bay to cross before the final headland. This bay was called Hoddervika. Like its neighbour to the north, Ervika, this bay had a large sandy beach across its end. There was no breakwater here and the swell was charging into the beach. I would have been pitch poled had I tried to land here today with the kayak cart wheeling in the large breaking surf. This was a surfer’s beach and not the place to land nearly a quarter of a ton of kayak and contents in anything but an emergency.

Day 211.8  Dramatic coastal architecture along the outside of the middle peninsula on the west called Hovden as it goes into Hoddevika bayThe coastline between Hovden headland and Hoddervika bay was very spectacular. It was one of the few place in Norway where I have seen some sea caves; which shows this land has not risen so much since the ice melted some 10,000 years ago and that it could have been relatively uncovered by the ice sheet. There were huge buttresses rising up from the sea with a roar of surf crashing on the rocks at their base. Where there was not rock there was very green grass. The place reminded me of the west coasts of Scotland or Ireland. This particular section was very like a giant version of one of my favourite paddling areas; namely the west coast of the Isle of Skye.

Day 211.7 Paddling down across the outside of Hoddervika bay with the southermost of the 3 western headlands called Furustavern and FurenesThe wind was getting up considerably now as it blasted out of the Hoddervika bay. It was a force 5 but from the land so it did not affect the waves. However it did slow me up until I got to the relative shelter of the final headland with its twin points called Furestaven and Furenes. There was some magnificent geological folding on Furestaven with some 300 meters of rock folded in a huge arc.

As I approached the point of Furenes I noticed more shallows. These were called Gamla and Gnullane and lay some 400-500 metres off shore. I found out these shoals were also dangerous and had claimed many live as the swells drove helpless boats and ships towards them and then tossed them about in the huge waves which reared up here before smashing them. There were also some smaller waves breaking on other shoals between these two monsters and the headland, and this was the area I had to paddle through.

It was only a few hundred metres but I spent a long time observing the way the larger sets behaved when they passed over there shoals and where they broke. After some 10 minutes I worked out a route and marked my reference points while treading water in the increasing wind which was against me.

With some anxiety I set off and weaved through the skerries. A large set came through just as I was half way but luckily I was in the right position and away from the white claws which reared up above the shoals be4side me. Even when I was beyond these shoals and rounding the point I kept looking back over my shoulder to see if any monster was going to come up silently behind me.

I finally crossed into quieter waters but was now facing a force six wind against me and it was getting late at around 2130. I slowly pulled myself up to the abandoned hamlet of Ytre Fure with two well kept houses high above the rocks. There was no place to land here despite the fact the swell was now virtually irrelevant again as the shoals had passed through took their force.

Looking at the GPS map I could see there was a kind of breakwater some 2 km east along the coast into this strong force 6 wind. With the light starting to fade I decided to aim for this breakwater at the hamlet of Indre Fure. As I paddled up the rocky coast I saw nowhere to land at all. Progress was slow due to the wind and I was having to dig deep and strain my sinews to move up the coast. Eventually I was the breakwater and pulled round it.

I have occasionally had some surprises when figuring out places to stay from the map. Nothing quite matched Indre Fure. Here on the other side of this small breakwater was a beautiful white beach. Above the beach was a cluster of very nice buildings and houses in a green landscape. The houses were all surrounded with masses of plants and flowers, especially roses which were all in full bloom. It was an exceptionally idyllic sight. It was as if I had walked through a wardrobe door into a different world.

I landed the kayak on the beach and found a nice camp spot just above it. There was no one around and I put up the tent. I was now after 2200 and the last light of the day was just lingering. A lady appeared from the nicest house and I went over to explain. She and her husband were one of three families who lived here. Like many small places in Norway they had the same surname of the hamlet. They were Kjell and Marit Fure. I chatted with her for 10 minutes until it the drizzle and wind drove her in again and I went to the tent. I crashed out straight away with the rain lashing into the tent.

It had been a magnificent day and getting round Stad was another hurdle crossed. It was exposed enough to be exciting and yet the weather was clement enough for it to be reasonably safe. It was not as easy as Nordkapp, but much easier than Slettnes and Kinnarodden on Nordkinn, the first of which was quite fearful.

Day 210. Hildre in Haram to Flo on Hareidelandet

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Distance 36km | Time 10hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 210.1 A nice morning and view to start the day looking out to some of the Nordoyane islandsI slept well in the tent overlooking the larger islands out to sea and woke at 0700. I had a quick breakfast and then packed everything up. The tent was still a bit wet as it had been raining in the night. I eventually cast off with the tide about half way out at 0830. There was a north easterly breeze which was directly behind me.

I flew down the coast passing the hamlet of Skjelten, where a ferry plied between the mainland and some of the 5 larger islands which were collectively called Nordoyane, or the Northern Islands. With the wind behind me I made quick time and soon reached Bjornoy. I decided to go down the outside of it.

As I headed towards Alesund I was still undecided whether I would stay here or not. It was a very nice city but the campsite was up a hill and a bit out of town and if I left the kayak elsewhere it would be vulnerable. It would all be too much palaver for a cup of coffee and a wander around the shops looking at things I don’t need. I had already visited Alesund some 5 years ago so decided to give it a miss. I would be visiting Bergen in about 10 days for a couple of days and it is arguably Norway’s finest city, Although Alesund is not far behind, but it lacks the vibrant music culture Bergen has.

Day 210.2 The town of Alesund lies on a peninsula in the fjord surrounded by the Sunnmoresalpene mountainsOne of the reasons Alesund is a nice town is because it was largely destroyed by a huge fire in the 1920’s (I think). When it was rebuilt it was designed by a rather avant guarde German (I think) architect who had a particular form within the Art Nouveau style. It is this which gives the center its current charm. I dare say the older house which burnt would have been even more charming but these might have got destroyed in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the name of progress. The other reason Alesund is so nice is its location on a peninsula surrounded by fjords and islands and then high snow capped mountains beyond the fjords.

I paddled past Bjornoy and then continued on to Kalvoya. The wind now had just about ceased, but the skies were getting much darker. From the south tip of Kalvoya I decided to keep west of the shipping and ferry lanes and head over towards the suburb of Nordstrand on the island of Valderoya. It was connected to Alesund by a tunnel under the fjord.

As I paddled past Valderoya I saw a shop. I was running very low on food so pulled up near some boat sheds and bought enough for at least 5 days. I also bought lunch which I ate in the shop. It was a whole grilled chicken and after I polished it off I felt slightly ill. Not because of the quantity but because of the quality.

I had a long pause here and also made some phone calls to arrange the delivery of a new Reed spraydeck to replace the porous neoprene one I have. Platou Sports in Bergen kindly agreed to receive it, but I fear I might have problems with import duty as happened with the rucksack.

It was 1500 by the time I left and by now the forecast rain was arriving. The wind was also due to increase in the afternoon. I decided to go round the west side of Hareidlandet which is a large island to the south. It would not be so protected but it should be more scenic and open.

Day 210.3 The island of Godoy is a community oin the sea yet connected to Alesund by tunnel under the fjordAgain I was wary about going into the potential shipping lane although nothing seemed to pass by. So I continued south west over a small sound to yet another island called Godoy. This island was again connected to Alesund by a tunnel under the fjord. Godoy was rural with about 15 farms along the coastal fringe and some old and new fishing wharfs, where working boats were tied up. The centre of the island was wild, craggy and steep rising to around 500 metres. Yet just some 20 minutes by car you could be in the thriving city centre. It was the best of both worlds.

It was a long 6 km to cross from Godoy to Hareidlandet. The wind was against me and it was pouring with rain. The wind was a force four and I was getting regular facefulls of spray. Luckily I had the drysuit on.

As I reached Hareidlandet the rain ceased and the wind swung round to the east. I think the wind shifting was just the local conditions caused by the arrangement of the fjords and mountains on the islands. With the wind behind me instead of against me my speed virtually doubled to 6 km per hour. I noticed there was a gentle swell coming in here from the Atlantic to the west.

Day 210.4 A fisherman catching haddock on longlines on a small boat which is more hobby than comercialThe north side of Hareidlandet, a name to evoke images of Vikings, was steep and empty. There was just a smaller fishing boat catching the occasional cod on longlines. It was motoring ahead very slowly with a line out on each side on poles to keep them separated.

As I came round to the west side of Hareidlandet the wind now swung against me. It was coming in strong gusts round the mountain and down some of the valleys. Some of these gusts were very strong and I came to a standstill. The gusts were a good force 8 and lifted spray of the wavelets into my face and tried to wrench the paddle from my hands. After a minute there were gone and I could gain another 500 metres until the next one arrived.

After some 10 such gusts I finally reached the farming hamlet of Flo. It heralded its arrival with a surprisingly large and very white beach. There was apparently a campsite here and if so I would camp there and recharge the batteries, shower and wash a few clothes. The beach however was very inviting.

Out to the west were the islands of Runde, famed for its puffin colony, and 4 other larger inhabited islands similar to the ones north of Alesund I paddled past yesterday and camped near. There islands here were called the Soroyane, or the Southern Islands.

I paddled on to some breakwaters and had a look inside. Here was another beach and the campsite. They had no free huts but they did have a kitchen with power and a table and chair. I pitched the tent, bought some shower tokens and went to the kitchen area to write. I did not bother with supper as the chicken still made me feel nauseous. Hopefully I will get to bed by midnight.

It had been a long day but I had not that much to show for it. It started very well but I lost a lot of momentum with the shopping and phone calls. The scenery however was spectacular. The rain was almost irrelevant except closing down the views, but the wind initially went from being in favour to against me.

Day 209. Mageroy in Midsund to Hildre in Haram

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Distance 23km | Time 5.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

The noisy seagulls woke me early as they screeched away any intruders who might threaten the three juveniles on the grass who could just now fly. The rain was still pelting down on the tent and the tent was flapping. I did not even bother to look outside but just rolled over for another couple of hours.

When I woke again around 0900 it was still wet and windy. I had not done the writing from yesterday and decided that this would be the time to do it. I started around 0930 and did not finish until around 1200. By this time the rain was sporadic and the wind seemed to have dropped from a south west force five down to a four.

I decided to go for it, especially as the forecast said it would improve. More showers came as I was getting the tent down and putting the drysuit on but eventually at 1330 the boat was packed and I was off.

Day 209.1 Looking back to the islands of Dryna and Midoy from near BrattvagThe wind was still from the south west but was now down to a force three. I decided to go the shortest way which was along the north shore of Midoy and Dryna islands. Initially I had thought to go to Midsund and into Moldefjord as it might offer less wind resistance.

The paddle towards the first island of Midoy and then along its coast was tedious and slow. I was paddling quite hard but could only make 4.5 km per hour. I also made the mistake of being too far from the shore so I could not see the interests along the coast. The same with Dryna. I was a good km from the shore until the end when I met the headland I was aiming for.

Day 209.2 The farms along the south side of Mifjord and Moldefjord were stretched out along a fertile mantle beneath steep mountainsI then cut across Moldefjord, which was called Mifjord at this point. To the south were steep mountains with farms along the mantle of flat fertile land by the fjords’ edge. Out to sea were 5 larger inhabited islands with ferries travelling to and fro. These 5 islands were along the edge of the Atlantic. On their outer side they must be very weather beaten but on the inside they were lush with many green fields and larger farms. I should imagine there were at least 20 farms on each island which were still operating as farms.

I eventually reached the south side of the Mifjord and the town of Brattvag. It had some industry and did not look that attractive in the grey light under clouds pregnant with rain. I would much rather have lived on one of the 5 idyllic islands than in this town hemmed in but dark mountains and warehouses.

Just as I left Brattvag the heavens finally opened and it started to pour down. Luckily I had the drysuit on and it made little difference. The shower was short and after 15 minutes the sun was out and I was reaching for the sun glasses. I was still making quite slow time though and decided to have an early day, write the blog and get an early night. If I paddled late I could only hope for another 15 km at the most at this rate.

Day 209.3 Approaching Hildre with the church tower barely visible on the headland and the farming islands of Lepsoya and Haramsoya beyondAs I approached Hildre I started to look for campsites. There were many really nice ones above a line of sandy beaches. I realized however I had no water so had to paddle all the way to Hildre where a river tumbled out of the valley into the fjord. I filled up both 2 litre bags here which will do me for 48 hours at least.

There was plenty of activity on the farms along the edge of the fjord. The farmers were cutting grass and wrapping it in plastic where it would partially ferment and produce silage. I am sure this would be the second batch of grass taken off these fields with perhaps another one to come in a month.

I paddled round the headland and the beaches before the river vanished. I saw a place to land soon after the small quaint Hildre church. It was without a beach but with a flat grassy field above it which had been cut recently. I decided to camp there. It was only 1900.

By 2000 I had the tent up and all the equipment which was damp from this morning drying. It was now a glorious evening and the wind had vanished. I sat outside and wrote the blog before supper looking out to some of the larger 5 islands I was waxing lyrical about earlier in the day. I had the blog done by 2130. Possibly a record. The sun was low now and it was starting to cool off so I went into the tent.

It had started a miserable day with a tedious slow paddle but ended well with a long sunny evening sitting in the grass in sun.

Day 208. Storholmen in Fraena to Mageroy in Midsund

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Distance 43km | Time 9.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

The guesthouse threw in a free breakfast for me so I was well filled for the mornings paddling by the time I started paddling around 1030. In contrast to yesterday it was a beautiful day with just about no wind and that was coming from the north. The tide was completely out so I would have a negligible tide against me.

Day 208.1 Coming out of the kelp at the start of the day into the breaking swellI pushed the nose of the kayak through some kelp and weaved my way through a line of skerries where there was some big surf breaking. The swell was still there from yesterday at about 2 to 2.5 metres but it was gentle until it hit the skerries.

Once through the skerries I paddled out to the headland which was exposed. There were no protecting islets of skerries to the north of this headland and the swell was piling in and crashing on the rocks. I gave it a wide berth and paddled across the next bay to Haugneset. The village of Hustad lay hidden in this bay.

Day 208.2 A traditional femboring boat from TrondelagAs I was half way across I saw an old square sail. It was on a boat which was hardy moving on this calm day. I was almost on my path so I went over to investigate. There were about 6 younger people on board and I chatted with them. The boat was a femboring and it was a traditional boat from Trondelag. It looked quite similar to the Nordlands boat but not quite a graceful. It even had the small shelter on the back which is sometimes removable.

Day 208.3 A pause on on of the islets on the coast west of Hustad villageFrom the village of Hustad all the way down do the end of the peninsula at the small town of Bud were many small skerries and a few islets. There was some swell here and there, but out to sea perhaps a kilometer off shore was a line of skerries where the swell was breaking. It was almost a reef covered in surf. So these 7-8 km of relatively sheltered and did not contain the exposure I had heard about. I stopped briefly on one islet when I saw it had a beach.

Just as I reached the tip of the peninsula the protective reefs and islets ceased and there was an exposed km to get round the point. Here and there a submerged shallow would lie quiet while 9 swells went over it and then suddenly cause the 10th swell to rear up in a great wall which toppled over. I chose my route after observing it for a while and went between an islet and the mainland to enter the calmer waters south of Bud.

Day 208.4 A fishing boat and beacon returning to Bergset harbour on the Hustadviken coastHustadvika has something of a reputation. It is ill deserved. The entire coast is perhaps some 30 km and there are just really two exposed headlands to the east of Farstad and Hustad respectively and the final headland before Bud. Each of these is a km at the most. Otherwise there are plenty of landing spots and protection. While one might have to pause while going down this coast for better weather, as I did, it is not possible to get caught out by a sudden deterioration in the weather without the chance to land, as one finds on the Osthavet coast in Finnmark.

Day 208.5 A fishing boast setting out to sea from Bud which is the town in the backgroundBud seemed a nice small town but the wind was now behind me and the waves small, so I decided to head straight over to the island of Gossen at once heading for the north west tip. It was only 6-7 km and it was a fast crossing. There were a few islands in this bay to skirt round and explore.

Day 208.6 The community of Bjornsund is on a couple of small islands surrounded by the AtlanticOut to the west of my crossing was the village of Bjornsund. It seemed quite large with about 200 houses. Probably most of them were leisure homes now but Bjornsund must have still have had a good resident population. It really was a community in the sea on its small island surrounded by the Atlantic.

I stopped just after the island of Rinderoy of the north west of Gossen. There were a series of rocky islets ringed with seaweed where I was hoping for a beach. None the less it was easy to land as this whole bay was really an extensive basin with islets far into the ocean, even beyond my limited horizon, taking the pounding from the Atlantic swell. The waves generated in the basin had a limited fetch.

After this break I set my sights on the north west tip of Otroy. Unlike the flat Gossen I was just leaving Otroy had mountains. Indeed everything to the south and west was a mass of mountains. Beyond the coastal mountains were some of the most impressive mountains in Europe in Romsdal and Sunnmore areas but I could not see them. The light was poor for photography as is was getting grey.

On the crossing over I kept hearing a thump like crack. I wondered if it was sometime to do with the kayak. After about 10 of these over half and hour I saw a small school of porpoises in front of me. They were an energetic bunch and occasionally one would almost leave the surface and crash into the sea again. There were only about a metre long.

As I reached Tangen the rain started. There were no beaches here so I continued south to the causeway out to the island of Mageroy. Luckily there was a bridge in this causeway. Sometimes there is not despite the map indicating there is and I have to detour out around the island. Just beyond this bridge was a small marina and about 5 houses, a farm, and many boatsheds on the south side of the island.

In the pouring rain I found a good camp spot, levered the 90 kg of kayak and baggage onto the pontoon and set up the tent. The kayak is a strong boat and one of the few fiberglass boats on the market where I could do this. Most would bend and crack along the hull. In my drysuit I was completely oblivious to the heavy rain. I managed to get everything inside and sorted out before taking the drysuit off and crawling in.

There were three seagull chicks on the jetty area outside. Their parents were perched on shed tops and posts around them and me. There were extremely noisy all night and had I known I would have camped elsewhere.

After supper I tried to write but it was already 2200 and I felt drowsy so packed it up and fell asleep.

It had been a very good day. It was certainly one of the best after leaving Helgelandskyst a fortnight ago.