Day 210. Hildre in Haram to Flo on Hareidelandet

Posted by: James on July 29, 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.

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