Day 237. Lindesnes Fyr to Ryvingen Fyr

Posted by: James on August 25, 2009

Distance 34km | Time 9.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m 

Day 237.1 The rough seascape after leaving the sheltered inlet at Lindesnes Fyr lighthouseDespite the fact I had an early night I did not sleep that well as the wind got up a lot in the night to a good force 6. I had nostalgically camped where I did when I started this trip on 1st January and without regard to shelter of which there was virtually none. So for about 3 hours the tent rattled a lot and kept me awake. When I woke at 0800 I was not well rested. 

I got up at 0800 and looked down the inlet to the incoming waves and sea. It seemed to be a good force 5 if not force 6 and there was a lot of surf at the mouth of the inlet where the south easterly swell was crashing through. The forecast said it would ease with time. 

By 0900 it already had decreased enough for me to pack up and put my drysuit on. I then went and said good bye to the very nice staff at the lighthouse and prepared to leave. Simen who managed the visitor attractions came down to see me off and take some photos. 

It was not as bad as it looked initially and I was soon out of the inlet and into the North Sea. It was a force five and the waves were just about a metre and a half with many small breaking crests. However just after the inlet entrance the wind was forced past the headland and it was a good six for a km. I was barely moving and the waves were constantly breaking. There was not quite green water on the tops but it felt uncomfortable. The sea was also quite chaotic with clapotis everywhere. In addition to all this there were also a few submerged shoals with exploding surf erupting from them. 

This intense section only lasted for about 2 km. However this 2 km took nearly an hour until I was approaching the lee of some small islets around Vage. By now the force six at the tip of the peninsula had diminished to a force five. After a pause here I continued up the side of the peninsula for another 3 km which almost took another hour until I reached the hamlet of Gauksum, and now the wind was just a force 4. Progress was horribly slow though. 

I started heading straight into the wind over to the island of Vare. It was a slow exercise. I knew the wind was dropping and it was just a question of making a slow gain until I could penetrate it. Slowly but surely Vare approached and when I reached it I had lunch in its lee. In three hours I had gone less than 10 km. 

Day 237.2 Typical Sorlandet scenery with more gentle hills and small fjords covered in pine forestAfter lunch however the wind dropped again. I was going to go round the south of the rocky island of Hille but decided to go round the north to get more protection. I paddled across an open bay with a few islets largely of rock. To the north was the typical Sorlandet landscape of rocky outcrops covered in pine forests. There was the occasional smaller fjord cutting into these lower hills. 

It was about 6-7 km across this bay and it was a slow slog against the wind. I was hoping for the predicted change in direction but it did not come so I had to paddle head on into the force three now. When I got to Hille I had now been paddling for nearly 6 hours and only had 18 km to show for it. Still I had not been paddling hard and was not tired.

Day 237.3 The small hamlet of Hillesund stradled the sound of water witht e same nameThe north east side of Hille was lovely especially the delightful hamlet of Hillesund between Hille and the smaller island of Nakkoya. There were about 10 old white wooden cottages with old clay roof tiles and small gardens down to jetties at the water’s edge. 

I continued down the north east side and the flags beside the cabins which were snapping in the wind this morning were beginning to hang limply. I decided to go to Pysen and see if I could camp the night there. It was the most southerly part of Norway and seemed to be a small islet south of Sandoy island. However as I headed down towards it I passed through a cluster of islands and noticed how rocky they were, with little vegetation. 

It was at last nice paddling and the wind as forecast had diminished and swung to the west. Perfect for me now. I made good time through these grey barren rocky islands and soon Ryvingen Fyr lighthouse came into view. It is Norway’s most southerly lighthouse. Beyond it I could make out Sandoy island. 

As I approached Ryvingen Fyr there was some mist descending. I was also getting skeptical that there was anywhere to camp on Pysen or Sandoy as everything seemed rock. I also remember Simen at Lindesnes saying the lady who managed the keepers houses at Ryvingen Fyr would be there and would be pleased if I dropped in. 

Day 237.4 Approaching Ryving Fyr lighthouse which is one of the oldest and most important on this coastI considered everything and opted for the lighthouse to avoid the potential scenario of looking for a campsite among rock slabs as darkness fell. I changed course slightly and paddled to the west side of the island it was sited on. 

There was nothing here but huge bare rock slabs. Continuing along the south side was the same. I eventually found the harbour in a deep bay on the east side of the island of 40 hectares. There was a jetty I could pull the boat onto. Just then a lady appeared. It was Rita and she had seen me coming. 

She worked for the council of Mandal who ran and maintained all but the light tower. She knew the place intimately as her father had been the last keeper here and she spent much of her childhood here. She kindly carried some stuff up for 500 metres to the keeper’s cottages. 

Mandal council hired the place out when it could and now there was a group of about 20 special needs teachers here and they were having a celebratory meal and evening at the lighthouse complex. There was a spare bunk in one of the rooms they were using. Rita also had two relations here. The teachers looked after themselves and I went up to the keeper’s cottage with Rita and here relations. We had a great evening. She knew Solvi who ran the lighthouse at Ulvesund where I stayed 4 weeks ago. 

I eventually left at 2300 and managed to write the blog before sleeping at 0100. The phone reception was too poor to bother trying to publish it. The winds tomorrow are forecast to be westerly which should help me gain some km. 

It had been a mixed day with hard paddling and little gain most of the day. In fact the paddling was almost tedious. However from Hille onwards things got better with great island landscapes. The decision to come to Ryvingen Fyr was a good one as I got a mattress and enjoyed a good evening with Rita and her relations. Norwegian hospitality is really second to none.

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