Day 239. Ramsoya in Lillesand to Arendal

Posted by: James on August 27, 2009

Distance 57km | Time 10hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 239.1 The sound of Blindleia south west of Lillesand was home to many rural seascapesI managed to get up reasonably early and set off at 0830. Taking the tent down I snapped another end of a tent pole section. There was a good west wind blowing and frequent drizzle showers. My cloths which were hung to dry were still wet so I donned the drysuit and my dry set of cloths. At breakfast I noticed I had virtually no food left

In the open sea this wind would have created larger waves which the kayak would have wallowed in, surging down a face and then sliding back into the trough. It would not have been that fast. However there was a slightly longer way down the inside of a series of islands all the way to Lillesand. This inside way was called the Blindleia. The wind here would push me along but the fetch would never allow larger waves. It was the obvious route.

This route took me past the coastal hamlet of Gamle Hellesund. It was a beautiful start to the morning and the drizzle was soon ignorable. It was not quite as quaint as Ny Hellesund from yesterday but it was none the less a Sorlandsidyl of the best class.

Day 239.2 There was tranqail cabins and small holdings down eachh side of the Blindleia soundAfter this I was blown down a 10km long channel which was quite enchanting. To the north was the mainland with many small inlets while to the south was the sting of islands separated by small sounds. There was a scattering of hamlets and holiday cabins all the way down here to Lillesand. It continued to drizzle and was misty, but this did little to dampen the beauty of the 10 km. There were frequent duck and also many swan and heron.

Day 239.3 The small town of Lillesand with its Lutheran church and some wooden waterfront buildingsThis delightful channel ended after 2 hours with a bridge over to the island of Justoy and I soon crossed a basin to reach Lillesand. I thought there must be a shop here and cruised along the sea front in the drizzle until I reached a bay. Here was the centre of Lillesand with its large Lutheran church and grander wooden buildings along the waterfront.

I stopped here in a marina in the heart of the town and pulled the kayak ashore and walked a few blocks to a shop. There I bought food for 5 days and then had a small explore around the centre. People did not seem so friendly here or maybe I just scared them off with my ragged look and drysuit. After a good hours shopping delay I was back in the kayak again heading through the narrow Grunnesundet towards the sea as the series of islands forming the idyllic Blindleia had finished.

I passed the substantial Homborsund Fyr lighthouse and was now into the semi open sea. There seemed to be a series of skerries and shoals further out which broke up the swell and it was just the residual waves which got through. Occasionally there was a gap in these and the Skagerrak swell came charging in powered by the force four wind. The wind direction and strength was almost exactly what I wanted.

Day 239.4 The sea around Bjoroy had some swell breaking on the skerriesI went to the outside of Bjoroy and then the inside of the next larger island of Haoy. The wind helped me tremendously and my average speed here was about 7 km per hour. I was going so easily and quickly I barely noticed the town of Grimstad tucked away in a bay. Then I was shooting along the inside of Hesnesoy and passing the town of Fevik which was more visible than Grimstad from the sea.

Day 239.5 Approaching Arendal the weather improved and brightened up the pine forests on HesnesoyThe whole coast here was typical Sorlandet with low lying mainland with numerous inlets. This whole landscape was then covered in pine trees and juniper bushes. There was also a lot of heather now which was purple in its autumn. I thought I noticed some birch and rowan trees just showing the first hints of autumn colours also. Certainly the rowans were heavy with berry now.

On the islets the juvenile gulls were adult size but retained their childhood plumage still. They continued to follow their parents and whine constantly for food. There were also many ducks along the coast here on the smooth ice polished rocks of the skerries. They did not seem so shy as the other eider ducks I had passed in the summer.

Before long I was crossing a bay north of Hasseltangen and was making the final approach past a couple of islands to the southern entrance of Arendal. Arendal seemed much bigger than all the other towns on the south except Kristiansand. I crossed over and paddled up the east side of the entrance along the side of Tromoya.

Day 239.6 Going up the west side of Tromoya where there was a suburb of Arendal along the steeper shorelineFor 3-4 km I paddled past waterfront homes on the steep hillside. Many of these homes were quite bohemian and quaint. Interspersed among them were some older boat yards and wharfs. Just at the top of this sound did it get more industrial for a section. While across the sound was the main centre of Arendal. It looked an interesting and very nice town and seemed a bit more relaxed than the formal Lillesand.

It was soon sunset and getting dark and I needed somewhere to camp. After the industrial buildings I turned east into Tromoysund and past a grand stately home set in a large parkland with huge sweeping lawns. It was the nearest thing I had seen to aristocracy in this egalitarian country and it must have belonged to a shipping magnate. I found out later it was Smith Sorensen. I thought about camping here on the lawn along the shore as the house was empty but it might have been too confrontational. Soon afterwards I found a spot in the field.

I had to put the tent up with the headtorch on. First I had to saw the broken bit off the pole section and then I had to remove a toad which somehow got into the erected tent while I was unpacking and securing the boat. I had a cold supper from a tin and set the alarm for 0330.

It was a chocolate box day in the morning followed by some good paddling in the semi open sea in the afternoon with a good following wind.

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