Day 200. Tarnes in Afjord to Dypfest in Bjugn

Posted by: James on July 19, 2009

Distance 33km | Time 9hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 200.1 The small lush island of Lauvoy in the foreground and the mountains between Frohavet and Stjornfjord behindDue to the late finish and long day yesterday I slept late until about 0900 and then did not get going until 1130. It was a somewhat overcast day but it was virtually still and calm. I made my way down more lovely beaches until I reached the end of the flat peninsula. There was a graveyard here it seemed with a small white wooden chapel.

Just beyond the south west of the peninsula was the island of Lauvoy. It looked prosperous with a lot of arable land and numerous large farmhouses. There was a smell of silage coming of the island in the breeze. The breeze was south easterly and coming off the land and it was surprisingly warm. Central Scandinavia had been basking in the sun for weeks now and the land was heating the air.

To the south was a dark range of mountains rising above the coastal fringe. These mountains separated the coast from the parallel Stjornfjord. They were rugged and knobbly but too rounded and short to be alpine at around only 400 metres.

As I paddled over to Lysoysund I came across an active group of terns feeding. They were diving into the water head first with almost the same commitment as a gannet. Frequently I saw them come up with a small fish. The breeze was ruffling the surface of the water and it was overcast and I could not understand how the terns could still see these small 5 cm fish through the surface and some half metre of water.

Day 200.2 A skua is a fantastic acrobat but a thiefThere were also a number of Arctic Skuas around. These larger dark birds do not hunt themselves but obtain their food by attacking and harassing other birds who have just caught food and then bully them until they drop it of disgorge it. Their Latin name of Stercorarius parasiticus shows their thieving nature. It is an unpleasant bird whose only redeeming feature is that they are superb fliers and accomplished acrobats outwitting the tern or kittiwake they are pursuing.

Arctic Skua are not as menacing as their larger cousins the Great Skua, Stercorarius skua, which is a fearless predator and will also bully even gannets to surrender their catch, and will kill numerous puffins and other birds often just plucking out the tastiest morsel like the liver and wasting the rest. Very surprisingly, I have seen very few Great Skua on this trip so far and they don’t seem to be that established in Norway. A fact the numerous puffins are no doubt grateful for.

Before I reached Lysoysund I passed a Marine Harvest fish farm. It was by far the biggest operation I had seen yet with about 20 heavily stocked square cages all abutting each other in two rows of 10. The feeding tubes were continually blowing pellets to feed the teeming cages which were dense with large writhing and jumping salmon.

Lysoysund was an eyesore. At the east end of the channel was a semi derelict herring oil factory. Here the remains of processed fish and by products were pressed and boiled to extract the remaining oil for animal feed and fertilizer. The factory looked as disgusting as it sounds. It’s great hulking, rusting buildings were on the cards for demolition and then west end of the town would become more pleasant on its own.

I felt weak and tired so stopped here for a meal in a café. Had I seen the chef or noticed the rest of the clientele before I ordered I would have moved on. The chef was an ugly brute with rolls of fat on the back of his neck wearing cloths covered in last week’s tomato sauce. It was only about 1600 but 15 odd customers were the towns wasters who seemed to be staving off last night’s hangover with beer, roll ups and subdued small chat. They were all 40 somethings and too fat to work and when they last did it was probably in the herring oil factory a decade ago. I could easily have been in Britain and did not feel like Norway at all.

Full of grease I left the town and continued west down the sound out in to the countryside again. I had to go round the outside of the Vallersundhaloya peninsula, connected to the mainland with the smallest isthmus, but an isthmus which forced me into the Frohavet, sometimes an exposed sea and coast.

Day 200.3 The church at Jossund and the neighbouring farm is typical Trondelag sceneryI initially paddled past Jossund with its beautiful farms and church and then past a number of small fishing hamlets and marina full of leisure boats. This part of the coast was sheltered from the Frohavet by the islands of Skjoroya and Valsoya. The latter island had a small old iron suspension bridge to it over the narrow sound carrying the single track road.

Towards the west end of this larger peninsula past Haldorhamn the coast was more exposed with some low skerries to protect the shore against the ocean swell. Far on the horizon to the north west was the last frontier against the Atlantic which was the low lying archipelago of the Froan group of islands.

Day 200.4 The massive stone cairns along the coast were landmarks to sailors before light beacons appearedSome of the skerries I paddled past had massive wardens built on them. These stone and concrete structures were large and visible from afar as landmarks. They must have been difficult and taxing to build as some were perhaps 4 metres high and voluminous. They would have been landmarks before more modern light beacons can into use.

Right at the west end of the peninsula were 6 huge wind turbines. I paddled very close to them as they were situated on the shoreline. They were enormous at close quarters and must have been well over 100 metres high. They were much quieter than I was led to believe, but still unsightly.

It was getting on now and was perhaps 2100 and I needed somewhere to camp. I could not see a beach here so continued south across Valsfjorden to Dypfest. This again was a rocky coast with no inviting sandy coves to land at. I paddled past the rocky shoreline to the end. It was now 2200 when I reached the tip. I did not want to cross the next fjord and was anxious about finding a place.

Suddenly right on the tip there was a small beach and flat grassy area beside an old house which looked empty and unloved. It was an suitable place so I landed here and set up the tent. It was not a moment too soon. The rain which had been threatening all day finally arrived. I was too tired to write so went to bed soon after listening to the rain pelting heavily onto the tent. The thin layer of ripstop nylon kept me dry all night despite nearly 20mm of rain.

It was an OK day but not memorable as anything other than my two hundredth day on this Norwegian Odyssey. The scenery was not the most exciting and the paddling was tired and labored. Lysoysund, and especially the café left a poor impression, but some of the cultural landscape outside Vallersundhaloya peninsula was quite charming; until the wind turbines.

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