Day 246. Stavern to Svelvik on Tjome

Posted by: James on September 3, 2009

Distance 32km | Time 10hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 246.1 Paddling alonf the coast between Larvikfjorden and SandefjordenI woke reasonably early after a good sleep. Some ravens outside the tent were making a tremendous racket. The forecast said the wind would pick up to be a force 4 or 5 from the east from about midday onwards. I wanted to be into the shelter of Tonsbergfjord before that happened.

After a coffee on Espen and Sunyas sailing boat I took down the tent was set off at 0900. As soon as I was out of the harbour I realized the easterly wind had already started and was a force three already. Today was going to be a fight.

I made it across Larvikfjord to Malmoya island quite quickly. The wind hampered me a little and the current I was warned about did not seem to be there. This is the current which comes out of the Baltic and flows up the Swedish west coast before being forced west down the Norwegian south coast. The massive swell from yesterday had virtually vanished in this east wind of today.

I continued east past the headland and round a couple of small peninsulas to the bay of Ula. I did not go in but continued to pull myself across the bay to the next headland. There was the odd island or islet to find shelter behind but by and large it was an exposed coast and I had to battle into the relentless wind and smaller waves. By now the wind was a good force five and my progress had slowed right down.

The spray was coming off each wave and back into my face. I was surprised how warm it was. It felt well over 20 degrees. Slowly but surely I made some hard fought progress and soon I was round a last headland and heading towards a larger island behind which there was some lee.

Day 246.2 The small village of Kjerringvik tucked away behind islands on thsi otherwise exposed coast.There was also a nice village here called Kjerringvik which was a good harbour due to these same islands. I found some lee here behind the islands while I mentally prepared to do the final two hurdles of the day which was the crossing of two quite narrow fjords to reach two headlands of Vesteroya and Osteroya respectively. Although there peninsulas were called islands they were not, and were thin fingers of land radiating from the large town of Sandefjord.

The crossing of the first was relatively easy after I had waited for the fast ferry from Sandefjord to Sweden to go past. It was very short and it took less than an hour to reach the other side. The wind by now was a solid force five with the occasional force six.

Day 246.3 Paddling across the narrow Mefjord to Tonsbergtonne in the stong headwindOnce past the first I was looking forward to the second. However this was different. The wind was probably a force six here and it was coming directly from the north east. In addition I thought there was a stronger current here. It took a good hour of hard paddling to do these 3 km to reach the tip of the peninsula called Tonsbergtonne. The warm spray was splashing everywhere from each paddle stroke and from the bow. The bare smooth rocks at the end of this peninsula just did not seem to come closer.

Once I reached Tonsbergtonne I was pleased that all I had to do now was round the point and start heading north out of the wind. The east side if the peninsula was however the worst bit. There was a definite current against me and the force six wind was still there and against me. I went quite close to the shore and endured the clapotis from the rebounding waves to try and keep out of the current which was heading south. The buttresses and crevices went past very slowly. Sometimes I was pretty much stationary for 5 minutes until a burst of temper and some furious paddling saw me inch forwards for 200-300 km until I had to wait again. It probably took an hour to go a single km, but there was no avoiding it.

Day 246.4 The bay after Tonsbergtonne where I had some respiteAfter this km there was a sheltered bay with a beach at the head of it. I paddled in here for a breather and to eat something and most importantly let my wrists, arms and shoulder relax a bit as they had been straining. It was a remarkable bay with beautiful sand and tall dry reeds rustling under the mixed forest around the edge of the bay. It looked almost tropical and with the water temperature of at least 20 degrees it felt tropical. There were a lot of the evil looking jelly fish here but they seemed to have completed their cycle and most were deteriorating and washing up on beaches now.

Day 246.5 A jelly fish which had grown all summer but now seems to be deterioating as all the othersAfter a good hour stretching here I felt I had to continue. The wind was still from the north east and against me so I decided to paddle over to Tjome and try and get some lee from this island. After an hour I made it to the first of many islands in this Tonsbergfjord. Once among them the wind diminished. Not because of the islands but because it was expiring. Indeed these islands offered no protection. They were smooth bare low-lying outcrops which had probably just emerged from below sea level in the last few thousand years.

The eider duck now seemed to be found in large rafts again of perhaps 100 birds or so. I had seen this in Varangerfjord last just before the breeding season started. Perhaps they are gregarious animals and just split up into pairs form the breeding and rearing of young and then return to rafts when it is over. There were also quite a few merganser about again and as I paddled further into the islands swan and their fully grown, but still grey, cygnets.

Day 246.6 Heading through some of the islands to the west of TjomeSoon I was weaving through the islands to get to the town of Tjome. It is the main town on the island of the same name. There are some islands to the west of Tjome and many to the east. These islands and Tjome itself are the prime area to have a summer cabin in Norway along with some of the Kragero archipelago. As I paddled up the coast from Tjome town going north and looking for a campspot I passed some lovely quaint older cabins and some modern palaces. Many had very green lawns coming down to artificial beaches. It was difficult to find somewhere.

None of the cabins had lights on and as it was getting dark I would have to encroach. When I passed a detached lawn on a small beach surrounded by pine forest I thought it was too good to pass. The house was a good 100 metres away and it was modest and the lights were out. I landed and pulled the kayak across the small lawn into the pine woods were there was a sheltered camp spot among the large pines.

With the tent up and me sorted out I started to write but I was just too tired. At the same time the rain started. There was a biblical downpour and the tent was drumming with the sound of large raindrops. It was so noisy it was difficult to think. I abandoned it and made supper before crashing out. The rain kept up until I was asleep.

It had been a hard day and I had not gained that much for a lot of work. It was also a very wet day with lots of spray and then the heavy shower in the evening.

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