Distance 48km | Time 8.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m
It was still pelting down onto the tent when I woke. I wondered if it had been doing it all night. Everything felt clammy. From my sleeping bag to pots and pans everything had slowly become impregnated with salt crystals over the last three and a half months and any dampness in the air now attached itself to me and my equipment. I was not looking forward to get up in this rain but I had a big day ahead.
I eventually got up at 0730 and packed all the damp stuff away into the damp bags. Then I put half my drysuit on in the tent and got out to do the rest. It was still pouring as I packed up the glistening wet tent and loaded up the boat. The forecast promised southerly winds but it was a northerly breeze.
I paddled past more cabins, some quaint and others ridiculously opulent until I got to the bridge which connected Tjome to the adjacent island of Notteroy. It was still pouring as I went under here but it was now completely still. There was a basin just to the east of the bridge and this seemed to be a working place with boat yards and some offices. As I paddled further east I was back into the exclusive cabins and the occasional older farm. I then reached the end of the channel between Tjome and Notteroy islands and entered Oslofjord proper.
I turned north here and went up the quaint Aroysund channel. There were many nice cabins along the Notteroy island side of this sound but the islands to the east looked quite pristine still. The promised south wind was now making a strong appearance, and it was a force four already, but directly behind me, and it pushed me quickly up to Tonsberg.
Tonsberg is arguably the oldest town in Norway and 1000 years ago it was certainly the centre of a large population. There are many relics from the Viking period found around here including a couple of well preserved Viking boats and lots of ornaments showing this was a wealthy region. I did not go into Tonsberg but half paddled and was half blown past it. I was making good progress now but still had 35 km to go.
North of Tonsberg the islands petered out and I was soon paddling in the exposed fjord with a force five wind behind me. The waves were soon large at around 1.5 to 2 metres and quite steep. Things got quite choppy when this increased to a force six and I had to go round the headland of Slangentangen. The vegetation along the boulder shore here was mostly deciduous trees of birch and aspen with some pines. The aspen where swinging widely in the wind. This lush scene came to and abrupt halt soon at an oil refinery
I paddled past glancing occasionally at it monstrous forms and having to inhale its foul smell until I got well past it. I was now offshore from Asgardstrand which was a nice town of small streets and white houses but it was rather ruined by its evil smelling neighbour to the south. Asgardstrand was also the place where Edvard Munch, perhaps Norway’s most famous cultural figure grew up. However the town was in a bit of a bay so I cut across it to the island of Bastoya.
The wind was perhaps a constant force six now and I was getting quite worried about a crossing I had to do later. Even as I approached Bastoya island there was plenty of surf and streaks of froth all over the water in front of me. If I looked ahead the sea did not look too bad but when I turned round it looked much worse with white caps everywhere and some large sets of breakers charging towards me.
Bastoya initially seemed uninhabited and was a nature reserve. As I paddled on to the north west side of it there was a huge farm which appeared in the large deciduous trees. This farm looked semi aristocratic with its large clock towers on the barn and distinctive spires and towers on other buildings. The fields around d it looked lush and fertile.
From Bastoya I crossed over to Horten. I was still a solid force six and I was getting more worried about the crossing. This was highlighted by a ferry crossing Oslofjord. It was on the otherside of Bastoya in the main channel and each time it hit a wave there were plumes of spray flying high across the bow. There were obviously big steep waves out there.
I was blown past Horten and along the peninsula which extended north from it. It seemed the wind was abating slightly and it was now down to a force five. The waves were still significant and there were white caps everywhere but they were not as big anymore. I passed a stone church in a hamlet of grand old farm buildings and continued until I was near the island of Vealos. The rain of the morning had now largely vanished although there was the odd squall.
From Vealos I could see the island of Molen in the middle of the fjord. It was just 5km away. Another 5 km beyond that was the barely visible island of Ranvikholmen. I still had nearly 4 hours until nightfall and I wanted to get to Ranvikholmen. I decided not to wait until the wind eased further but to head straight over to Molen and if it turned nasty I could put my soaking tent up on is lee side, but if it eased I could continue across the fjord to Ranvikholmen where I hoped there was a cabin.
As it happened when I paddled over to Molen the wind eased yet again so I passed it and continued straight to Ranvikholmen, which was a small forested island of geological significance. There was the occasional worrying force 6 gust which very quickly turned the sea grey with larger white caps again but it soon returned to a force four. In the force six gusts the sea behind me looked quite wild when I turned round. I could hear the occasional tumbling large set catching me up with 50 cm of white crest on top of a steep 3 metre wave but luckily all passed without incident.
I soon reached Ranvikholmen and paddled round the small rocky island to the beach on the north side. I landed here and went to explore. There was a simple cabin here operated by Oslofjordens Friluftsraad. It was locked but there was a key in another locked box with a number code. I had previously phoned to get this number. I walked through the autumnal path into the centre of the island when I was the cabin. It was perfect. The key worked and I could have a comfortable evening with a table to write at.
I returned to the kayak to get my belongings and then soon made myself at home in the cabin. It was superbly comfortable after the tent last night. The island was also a temperate paradise. Tall pines and rowans red with berries made up the forest while the ground cover was blueberry and grass. As a sign of the oncoming autumn the forest floor was covered in mushrooms, especially the red Russallas.
I tried to write but was too tired after the long day with the wind both helping me and sapping my energy. By the time I was ensconced in the cabin and it was getting dark my eyes were getting heavy. I did some office work and then went to bed at 2200.
I am looking forward to the finish now but am also sad the tour is coming to an end. There will be a party when I reach Oslo on Sunday at 1400 and my friend Oyvind has made an amusing invite for it. If you are in the Oslo area and have been following the blog feel free to turn up at Konglungbrua just before 1400. The location is also on the route map page where there is a white flag, with drinks nearby afterwards.
It had been a wet miserable morning and then an exciting afternoon. My reward for enduring this was the wonderful cosy, dry cabin on Ranvikholmen.