Day 242. Aroy in Kragero to Nevlunghavn

Posted by: James on August 30, 2009

Distance 23km | Time 4hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 242.1 Some of the islands to the north east of AroyDespite the late night writing I got up at 0800 feeling quite refreshed. There were a few small jobs Ingrid had asked me to do in preparation for closing the place up for the winter when this warm lush place would be covered in snow and the sea which can be easily be 20 degrees in the summer might even freeze over occasionally.

It was then a late relaxed breakfast. It was a shame I was having to leave so early as I wanted to spend more time here relaxing in the good company but I had to push on to get to Oslo in a week.

We packed up the kayak with Peter helping and Ingrid looking on still in disbelief that everything could fit in and that this small craft had come all the way from Grense Jakobselv some 3000 km to the north.

Eventually at 1230 everything was packed and we said our warm goodbyes before I pushed off. Ingrid had kindly phoned a relation some 11km further north on Sastein island where there was a cabin available if I needed it. I was keen to push on a bit further but it was quite windy still.

I left and paddled round the north side of Aroy and phoned Jon who I had tentatively arranged to meet today around midday further north. He was already at Langesund and on the water so I blasted straight up to Sastein where I would ring again.

The journey to Sastein was quick and easy. The string of islands of which Aroy was one of extended north east and provided good shelter from anything which might come through from the Skagerrak sea At the same time there was a good force 5 behind me which pushed me along quite quickly. I passed numerous small islands and small headlands on the mainland as I sped towards Sastein. This was a very pleasant part of the south coast and was also called the sunshine coast. True to its name the skies were blue.

Day 242.2 In the channel on Sastein just before I started across LangesundfjordIn well under two hours I was at Sastein, a smaller beautiful island covered in pine forest. Much of it was a nature reserve and the islet to the north east was all reserve. The seas to the north of Sastein looked quite treacherous with many shoals and reefs and a big swell breaking on them.

Unfortunately Sastein was the site of a significant shipwreck a few weeks ago in a storm. The large ship ‘Full City’ broke its anchor in a storm at night as the crew slept and it drifted onto these reefs and was holed. Some 300 tons of low grade fuel oil spilt out and spread out along the coast. There has since been an effective cleanup operation and the ship has been towed off and most of the oil collected up and removed. However there were many sea birds, mostly ducks killed. As I rounded the north of Sastein and entered the channel between it and the islet where the wreck was I could still see a few traces of these 300 tons.

The weather was still a force five when I phoned Jon. I was keen to cross Langesundsfjord given the opportunity and he was more cautious. It was only some 8-9 km but it was renowned as a difficult stretch of water. The swell from Skagerrak came charging into this exposed fjord and there were many shoals to topple this swell. It was still just a force five and only some 6 km to Fugleoya so I decided to go for it and arranged to meet Jon on the east of the fjord with him driving round.

As soon as I poked my nose out of the sheltered channel and into the fjord I realized I was in for an exciting ride. The swell was suddenly large and was a good two metres. I had to weave through shoals where green water was breaking. Once past these I was clear and set my sights on the south end of Fugleoya.

Soon I was a km out into the fjord with the wind from my back and side. I was pretty much committed. There were many white crests but the breaking part of the wave was only 30 cm and quite manageable. There were lots of them and I was constantly looking out to sea making sure a rogue one was not coming. The swell was getting larger and larger as I crossed and there were some which were 4 metres high.

Day 242.3 The shoreline between Molen and OddaneThe natural line to follow took me to the south of Fugleoya towards and area on the mainland called Molen. For the last 5 km the wind increased up to a force six and the breaking crests were everywhere. Molen slowly approached but there was no chance of landing here. It was a headland and beach of boulders and the huge swell was crashing onto it. Molen was part of the Ra moraine from the last glacial period some 10,000 years ago. This Ra moraine forms a traceable band right round both sides of the Oslofjord.

As I could not land at Molen I had to go north of it and land but could be stuck on a beach for days or continue round an exposed headland called Oddane to Nevlunghavn. I opted for the latter and hoped the conditions would not deteriorate further.

The paddle from Molen to Oddane was exciting. The swell was a good four metres with some enormous steep mountains of water charging in from the south west. It was shallow enough here turn the swell into steep waves but not so shallow the top metre toppled over. None the less there was plenty of white caps and spray from the strong force six wind. I still had my glasses on, I could not afford the hand to take them off and they were deluged in spray every wave.

Had a rogue wave come I would not have been able to turn into it quickly enough so would have had to have taken all side on. I am getting pretty confident of the boats abilities now and it is extraordinarily stable. I would have gone over in almost anything else but this Tiderace Explore X looks after me well. While I was perched on top of these large waves I could see people on the boulder beach.

Day 242.4 Some of the islets off the Oddane headland which help protect NevlunghavnEventually I approached Oddane and saw there was a wide gap between the headland and some islands. It could easily paddle here but it would mean turning my back on this heaving sea for 3-400 metres. Beyond was shelter. There was the odd surprise as the waves surged in from behind me but I was soon into quieter waters and spotted a beach and cabins.

I paddled to the beach and landed. The lady running the campsite had a free cabin. I chatted a bit with her still pumping with adrenaline. She had seen me come in and was fascinated anybody would be out in that let alone in a kayak. I unpacked into a cabin and gave Jon a ring. He had been taking photos of the waves at Molen and arrived soon.

Day 242.5 A typical street in the large village of NevlunghavnIt was good to see him again. I last saw him in Varangerfjord right at the start. He skipped the exposed north coast and continued from Tromso. We decided to go for a meal in Nevlunghavn, a short walk to the north. Nevlunghavn seemed a very quaint south coast village with white wooden houses lining narrow twisting streets. White picket fences separated the tidy gardens. Soon we reached the harbour where there was the heart of the village. There was a shop, a hotel and a few closed cafes as the season was over. We chatted with a few locals and then had a meal at the hotel as we chatted about the trips we had had.

Jon left about 2100 as it got dark and I returned to the cabin to write the blog. I did not get it done but went to bed early instead after doing the photos.

It had been a great day. Sociable in the morning, then very exciting in the afternoon and sociable in the evening again.

2 Responses to “Day 242. Aroy in Kragero to Nevlunghavn”

  1. Sigvard Strömberg Says:

    Hallo James!
    I don´t know if you remember me, but I was a “cottage-host” in Serve, west from Ammarnäs, and we had a nice chat when you passed there in February or maybe it was in March. I have followed your fantastic trip and it´s unbelieve that you are still alive with all these adventures. Are you going to stop in Oslo or what? I remember that you had the intention to continue along the swedish coast and up to Haparanda? I also remember that you had hoped to be in Haparanda in the beginning of September. I understand that is impossible and I suppose you can´t be in Haparanda until October or November? Good luck anyway and I will still follow you on the “net”.
    Kind Regards

  2. Alison Says:

    Hi James, You will be finished very soon now. I am duly impressed with a 70km paddle! You must be very fit. We look forward to seeing you in Findhorn Place again. You have been missed. One hell of a party is planned I hope.