Day 199. Smavaeret in Flatanger to Tarnes in Afjord

Posted by: James on July 18, 2009

Distance 67km | Time 12hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 199.1 The Buholmrasa Fyr lighthouse on the exposed Frohavet coastIt was a beautiful still morning when I woke around 0630. I got up soon afterwards and had a packet of biscuits for breakfast and then packed up the kayak. It was on the floating jetty and I slid it of the wood into the water and pushed off at 0830.

There was an increasingly strong north east wind developing as I paddled of out of the small harbour and into the ocean. This wind was a good force three and it seemed to be on the up. It blew me down the flattish coast quite quickly to Buholmrasa Fyr lighthouse some 5 km away. It was a classic Norwegian lighthouse with a couple of white keeper’s cottages.

I then veered south and headed inside the two Rauoya islands. Again with the force four wind now still behind me I made good time. The waves were quite small as there was not the fetch for them to build up. A ship suddenly appeared round a headland north of Hovika. I was surprised such a big boat was using these channels so near the coast. I assumed it would continue north from the headland out into the open ocean. Suddenly it changed it course and was coming straight for me. I must have been on a inside shipping lane. I veered northwards and it passed me with a good 300 metres to spare. I could see men on the ship’s bridge looking my way. It was not really a close call.

Day 199.2 Going down the sound to Hovika bay and the town of SandviksbergetI soon reached the same headland where the ship appeared from and paddled into a basin with the town of Sandviksberget at the south end by some narrows. This seemed to be quite an industrial little place with a ship unloading and a couple of what looked like concrete foundries. There was also a ships yard here. The wind was still a force four and I had the tide behind me also, so I was cruising along at around 8 km per hour.

After the narrows at Sandviksberget there was another basin between the mainland and a couple of islands. Here the wind increased to a force five and the waves were getting larger and whiter. I caught a couple of the larger ones and surfed them. At one stage I managed 15 km per hour down the front of a wave. The landscape here was quite dull though with rounded crags and sparse vegetation. It was mostly grey ice scoured rock.

Despite the choppy sea there were plenty of German fishermen out in small boats with about 40 horse power outboards. I could tell they were German because they had 3 people per boat with 3-5 rods each. They were also mostly standing up fishing. I am sure that on a day like today the coastguard gets a few calls when the outboards won’t start and people drift in the strong winds towards rocky islands or out to sea.

Day 199.3 Approaching the narrows between the mainland on the left and the larger island of Boroya in the centre backgroundWhen I reached Boroya island there was another narrow passage between the mainland and this island. The wind was really funneling through here and was a good force five. The waves were small and I got blown along quickly to Brandsfjord.

I had to cross Brandsfjord to the headland on the west of it and the wind was now approaching a force six with larger waves. I decided it would be OK and went round the outside of an island in its mouth to save time. The kayak was extraordinarily stable but in a large following sea waves tended to wash over the back of it.

I was surprised to see some 10 odd larger fishing boats; some over 40 foots stationary in Brandsfjord with many people fishing off each one. They seemed to be mostly Norwegian as they had hand lines. I don’t know why Brandsfjord was so popular.

After I reached the headland to the west of Brandsfjord and was growing confidence in this force six following sea I had two islands to pass. I could not see if they were in fact islands, and if I assumed they were and I was wrong and there was a isthmus or causeway it would have been hard paddling out again against the wind so again I decided to go round the outside.

I then crossed straight over Skjorafjord for 5 km to the final headland. The wind started to diminish here, but the waves were still large and some were nearly two metres. My feet were working hard to keep the rudder moving so I would hold a straight line and not broach on the waves and lose momentum.

With this last headland out of the way I now left the more exposed waters and entered a sound between this headland and the island of Stokkoy. I was hungry so ate while being blown along and using the rudder to keep the kayak in line with the wind. I made nearly two km while relaxing and eating. At the south end of this sound, called Stokken, the water opened out into a large basin full of steep rocky islands. I turned west before I reached them to reach the town of Stokksund.

Stokksund was also surprisingly industrial with a few larger ships tied up unloading or in a yard for maintenance. Like Sandviksberget earlier in the day I was very surprised to see such industry along this otherwise empty and wild coast with many leisure cabins hidden in various bays. There was a bridge here connecting the Stokkoy island to the mainland.

I had made good time and distance when I got to the bridge and now the wind seemed to be against me. I thought about calling it a day here as I clawed my way under the bridge. There was nowhere to camp however so continued south west when suddenly the wind was behind me again.

Day 199.4 Heading south west from Stokksund looking for a campspot on the peninsula on the leftIt was now a fine evening and the wind was down to a steady force four and behind me again. I decided to paddle on passing a few headlands and bays on my south covered in the small neat farms one sees all over coastal Norway. I also passed a few islands in this stretch of water which had a lot of geese on them. I kept an eye out for somewhere to camp all the time but did not see anywhere really good for an hour.

The beach I was looking for eventually appeared near the end of this convoluted peninsula I was following. It appeared just before the end and I was already thinking about crossing to Lauvoy island. It was a beautiful sandy beach with a few cabins and a tidy farm around it.

It was 2030 and I was quite wet and getting cold. My new spraydeck was much better but I could feel water coming through the porous neoprene onto the top of my legs. The fleece leggings were soaked and there was about 3 cm of water in the boat. Also my old faithful paddling cagoule had a few holes in it and the spray from the waves and wind had penetrated it and soaked my fleece shirt. So the beach was quite welcome.

I charged the kayak onto the sand and went to look for a campsite. There was one just above the sand in a field of cut grass with some tall vegetation as protection. It was perfect. Furthermore there was a terrace with a table and chairs nearby. After supper in the tent I went to the terrace to write until midnight. By then the wind had almost vanished and there was a glorious sunset. I felt I was still at sea lurching back and forth all evening as I wrote.

It had been a fast day. The land just seemed to wiz by and I had little opportunity to enjoy it. However I had made a good distance very easily and some of the windy wavy areas were quite exhilarating, especially when I caught a wave and managed a short surf.

Comments are closed.