Tjeldsund to Ramsund. 21 km, 5.5 km/hr average speed. Start 0850 arrive 1715
Today was about currents and breaks. But first we were joined again for breakfast by John Petter. Like Stein John Petter is retired from the Norwegian Army. Amongst other things we spoke about his engagement in Team Rubicon Norge a charity organization that mobilizes military veterans to serve and help in disaster areas. Work that takes him to far (and not so far) corners of the earth, provides relief for people in need and opportunity to contribute with their skills for veterans.
We were anxious about the current in Tjeldsund. We had a cunning plan to avoid the three hour trap. We would use the tail end of one tide cycle to get past Tjeldsund just before it turned against us, and then wait somewhere until the tide turned at Sandtorg. We were on the water 0850 and managed to pass Tjeldsund at a pace of 3.5 km/hr, that was not the head winds, the current had already turned. But with a bit of patience we got past easily. Just as we started to lean hard on the paddles we saw someone wave from the shore. It was John Petter wishing us safe onward journey and making sure there was no need for very local disaster relief.
We were happy we had passed Tjeldsund. Now we had an estimated four hours to spend before we could get past Sandtorgstraumen. The weather was mediocre; chilly with headwinds and rain. The options were a sure bet on a cafe at Evenskjær or cross straight to Sandtorg. We decided to cross sooner rated than later.
As we approached Sandtorg Stein thought he remembered that there was a cafe there once. As we came closer we saw Sandtorgholmen Hotel, the sun came through and three hours here seemed like a bonus.
When we got onshore we discovered one problem. The cafe was closed. Corona closed. But not “Stein closed”. Stein found the owner and after a short negotiation and a long conversation Stein produced coffee and tea. We took lunch from the boats and ate on the quay in the sun. While the current sped past in the wrong direction. Much better to watch than to paddle.
The owner of the hotel and restaurant estimated that the tide would turn around 1500. We saw it falling from 1400 and at 1500 we were in the boats. The 12 km paddle to Ramsund was easy and pleasant in excellent weather. Through Ramsund we catched the tail end of the southerly current and Stein set a speed record for RSKE clocking 13 km/hr on his GPS
In Ramsund we are staying at the Navy base. Stein has been here several times before and knows some of the people working here. He called the administration and no surprise when the called back: “we have checked on you, you are most welcome”. We much appreciate the hospitality of Forsvarsbygg at the naval base. Our contact Tor Fredrik Pettersen had even arranged for some food.
A short day on the water made for a long and restful afternoon and evening in the sun. Today’s theme was travel mishaps, we laughed so hard that today’s “ankerdram” came out through the nose.
Today’s menu were bangers and mash made by Karianne and Arne, just what we needed. The sausages had matured five days in the kayaks and were all the better for it.
Our only concern is that the weather forecast for tomorrow suggest that we might not be able to cross Ofotfjorden tomorrow morning as panned. Yr.no forecasts 11 m/s head winds when we plan to cross. That would be very hard work, and with slightly harder winds it would start to feel unsafe. We have checked five different weather forcasts and the score is three for crossing and two against. Which means no one knows.
Conclusion: we get up tomorrow morning have breakfast and check again. Then we take it form there. If it looks safe we go, if in doubt we wait.