Day 234. Ystebo in Sokndal to Jollesto in Farsund

Posted by: James on August 22, 2009

Distance 27km | Time 7hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 334.1 Heavy rain and thunder as I made it to the sanctuary of Hidrasund soundI woke in Jan and Gunn Eide’s spare room after a wonderful sleep. I got up at 0800 and went down to a lovely breakfast. It was a typical Norwegian breakfast with a large selection of spreads to go on different breads and coffee. We chatted after breakfast also and although it was fine in the fjord I went to the breakwater to see down the fjord to the sea. There were no white horses.

I packed the kayak up and Jan and Gunn Eide saw me off at 1000. I zoomed out of the fjord and was doing nearly 10 km per hour without paddling due to the hydro electric current. At the end of the fjord I went to the east of a small island and through a 40 metre wide gap. The gap gave me a taste of what was to come as the waves here were huge; about 5 metres and reasonably steep.

Once through this gap I was out into the North Sea again. The wind was now a force four and was south westerly. It would be a side wind pretty much all the way to the island of Hidra. I kept about 500 metres out from the steep cliffs to avoid the worst of the rebounding clapotis.

The scenery here was nothing really I had seen before. The very steep, light cliffs came straight out of the dark sea as if in a dramatic painting. Here and there was some vegetation but it was mostly bare smooth rock slabs. At the base of these cliffs was a line of white surf where the large swell was smashing into the rock.

As I paddled to Hidra I noticed the south west sky was darkening. In fact it was very very dark grey. The wind was also increasing and it was soon a force 5. As I looked out to sea the sun was illuminating row upon row of white crests on top on the large swell. This looked all the brighter against the black sky which was approaching fast.

I was still about 4-5 from Hidra and needed to get there before this thunderstorm arrived. I sat up and started paddling hard. The kayak was shooting along and was launching off some of the waves. I think sometimes it was just sitting on top of a spike of water caused by the clapotis. I still had a couple of km to go when the thunderstorm arrived.

The wind was now up to a force 6, spray was everywhere and it was pouring rain. I had to lean out to sea to keep my balance as I rode up a wave and fell of the back of it into deep holes. The sea was now full of white horses and spray; which was forming streaks on the water. I was lucky none of the larger of the white horses with a bit of green water mixed in caught me.

Day 334.2 The sides of Hidrasund were steepThe whole scene was out of a Wagnerian opera. The dramatic cliffs along the coast were hazy in the rain and there was the occasional bolt of lightning and frequent rumblings of thunder. Amongst all this on a heaving sea with spray flying off the numerous white caps was a small yellow kayak heaving from crest to trough. I paddled hard for 2 km and after a quarter of an hour was at last approaching the lee of a small island to the north west of Hidra.

I decided not to go down the west side of Hidra as I probably would not make it but opted to go down the east side which was a few km longer but more sheltered. As I started the weather eased and the sun came out. I was already committed to the east side by now though.

However I soon noticed that there was a thread of water dividing Hidra into two. It started in Eie on the north side and finished at Rasvag on the south side. I found it easily and started to paddle down it. It was 4-5 metres wide and was formed into a canal by the jetties along each side. Old boat houses and fisherman’s cottages lined this canal and it was quite idyllic. It was all natural except for about 50 metres where it looked like a slot was made to link the canal on each side of the island.

I paddled south through this enchanting, deciduous passage until it opened out again and then I headed over to Rasvag for a pause before I crossed Listafjord.

Day 334.3 The charming village of Rasvag was a sorlandsidylRasvag was a Sorlands idyll. It was a small old fishing village well protected by islands. The houses were all white and well maintained, with colourful gardens. There was a café where I stopped for lunch. There was also a small shop.

Recharged by the passive waters of the canal and in the lee of the islands I had forgotten about the open sea. I was soon in it having to weave through some shoals just south of Rasvag as the surf roared onto them. The waves were soon 4 metres and the wind was force 4 again.

I was a short rough crossing where I was continually being hit in the chest by white caps. The kayak was again lurching from side to side and crest to trough. I was beginning to doubt I would get round Lista fyr lighthouse. This became every more apparent when I noticed how slowly I was going and how the wind was now a good force 5.

I slowly pulled my way down the very rough shore doing about 2.5 km per hour and using a lot of energy. The waves very large and there was plenty of clapotis and claws of white snapping sea. I decided to throw in the towel when I saw the breakwaters at Jollesto, even though it was not even 1700.

Even the last km took nearly half an hour with plenty of facefuls of water. One of the greatest irritations was the sun. I could hardly see where I was going and it was bliss when it disappeared behind a cloud and I could see the waves approaching. The final run into the harbour was quite tricky as the small bay was full of reefs with the swell erupting on them.

I eventually entered the sanctuary of the small harbour and found a campspot nearby. There is hardly any tide here now so it is much easier to move the kayak up the shoreline. The tide here is small because the tidal surge coming through the English Channel and the tidal surge coming round the north of Scotland arrive at different times and cancel each other out.

I had the tent up but 1800 and then I rinsed the salty cloths and hung them in a barely used bus shelter in the quiet village. I wrote half the blog in this shelter and half in the tent later on. It took 5 hours to get the bloody thing done and I finished at midnight.

It had been a challenging day. People have warned me about Stad, Jaeren and the exaggerated Hustadvika the whole time but nobody has ever mentioned Lista which must be just a bit less wild and exposed than Stad itself.

One Response to “Day 234. Ystebo in Sokndal to Jollesto in Farsund”

  1. e.c.baxter Says:

    Well done ! A lot of snow & water have gone under the bridge since you were last at Lindesnes trudging 26 km up the tarmac road to Vigeland. Mum&Dad