Femris to Vågaholmen. 58 km, 6.1 km/hr average speed. Start 0720 arrive 1900
We got up at the alarm at 0500, looking forward to an easy day’s paddle followed by some more easy summer days. Just to enjoy our good meteorological luck we checked the weather forecast as we had a first cup of coffee. Just as we were admiring the weather a new forecast came in… the screen changed and now strong winds were forecast for the afternoon and the whole of the following day. Ouch. In stead of lazy happy go lucky paddling we needed to decide on where to spend a day waiting on weather. The best place appeared to be Vågaholmen, if we could cover the 58 km before the wind set in.
So off we went and as usual we picked the shortest route and the longest crossings. We had gotten the currents right, we paddled with about 6.8 km/hr for more than 20 km until we got past Kunna. Until then no wind, but as we crossed from Kunna toward Støtt the wind picked up a bit, tailwind! Things were good and Vågaholmen seemed within reach.
Things were good and the soon got better. As we crossed toward Støtt a boat came towards us and pulled up alongside Stein. Another friend from the military (fortunately there seem to be and endless supply…). Vebjørn was on holiday nearby had followed our tracker and came out just to say hello ….and recommend the fish soup at Støtt for lunch.
Stein had been to Støtt while paddling with Per W twenty years ago, then the community was on the brink of extinction and no fish soup to be seen. What a difference 20 years can make for industrious people. There has been a shop on Støtt continuously for 300 years. Twenty years ago it was just open and the couple running it had their kids pursuing careers in Southern Norway. Then their daughter decided to move home invest and attempt to make Støtt a tourist destination. It was a success. The shop is still there, and a guest harbor and a restaurant and accommodation. Yesterday they had served a five course dinner for 70 people.
If the lunch buffet we sampled was an indication the 70 guests had had a fantastic dinner. Both the famed fish soup (creamed with a touch of saffron) as well as the two variants of bacalao were excellent. We would have enjoyed staying even longer, but we had some wind to try to avoid and the tide had turned and currents would tend against us.
We paddled out across some “kayak only” shoals and set course for Meløy, navigated the small islets west of Meløy, set across to Åmnøy where we took a last leg stretch at about 1730, 8 km to go, blue skies and none of forecast wind in sight. It was scheduled for 1800. We started to hope yr.no had gotten this one wrong.
Don’t underestimate yr.no. As we crossed over toward Sleipnes the 7 m/s headwinds appeared literally out of the blue. An hour and a half later we finally entered the harbor of Vågaholmen, the center of Rødøy municipality. We were well reminded of why we don’t try to cover distance in much over 5 m/s headwinds. Since the wind force increases with the square of the wind speed 7 m/s is twice as hard as 5 m/s and more than enough…
One more thing about strong headwinds: it becomes impossible to hear almost anything approaching from behind. We suspected that there might be and Express boat route here and as we paddled we kept looking over our shoulders to check. Fortunately no Express boat. Karianne came up with the obvious explanation; “it’s Sunday”. But of course.
Sunday it was, we had made it to our destination and as we came into the harbor there even was a small crowd waving enthusiastically at us. It is always good to meet people who know to appreciate serious ocean paddling!
Except the cause of the enthusiastic waving was that, Sunday or no Sunday, now the Express boat was right behind us. We paddled hard port just in time to avoid interfering with the Express boat’s schedule.
In addition to a shop Vågaholmen also had a small guest harbor with access to shower, washing machine and toilet, and even a small cafe. A good place to wait on weather. The campsite at a sandy beach wasn’t bad either.
We cooked a late dinner and looked forward to a good nights sleep. Weather permitting. We had taken precautions against the forecast gale force winds when we pitched the tents, but the soil was sandy and loose so the pegs would take only so much. By now we were to tired to care anyway…