Gjerdinga to Utvorda. 49 km, 5.3 km/hr average speed. Start 1000 arrive just in time; 2030.
We had a long days paddle ahead, and we wanted to be at Utvorda before the weather deteriorated at about 2100. Still we didn’t try an early start. This was because of the tide and currents near Rørvik. No point in trying to paddle against 4-5 knots currents. So in the near absence of gnats we had a leisurely breakfast and started paddling at 1000.
We got off to an easy start, sunny and calm. As we paddled out of “Gnatty bay” we saw two other paddlers camping on the rocks nearby. The two first paddlers out camping we have met since Tromsø. Probably locals as they apparently had taken the gnats into account when choosing a campsite.
As we approached the eastern bridge at Rørvik at 1200 we met head currents. After two hours paddling it suited well with a short break to wait the current out. At 1230 it was slack water and we paddled on.
Looking SW during the break we saw one challenge we hadn’t thought of: Fog. It’s a common phenomenon along the coast. On hot days warm air rises over land and pull in cooler air from the sea and with that air comes the fog.
We had planned the shortest route to Abelvær, and Stein plotted waypoints on his GPS. Still we chose to err on the east side, if we erred on the west side we would head straight out to Folda.
Paddling in fog is interesting. One soon looses all sense of direction when there is no sight of land. Without a compass and/or GPS it would soon become a “random walk”. We also have to pay even more close attention to other traffic and paddle outside the marked ship lanes where possible
With the aid of compass and GPS we paddled as planned, and erred on the cautious side. This added a couple of kilometers and it was 1615 before we were ready to go from Abelvær after a short break to eat and put on dry suits. The fog was still thick and we prepared to spend up to three hours before we should see land on the other side of Folda fjorden. As a additional security measure Stein turned on his VHF at channel 16 and we listened to that across Folda.
Winds were 5 -6 m/s and we could only paddle at about 5 km/hr speed. When we took a short snack break, we drifted backwards at 2.5 km/hr, so no wonder we had slow progress
After about two and a half hours the fog lifted and we saw Otterøya. Now we had about 10 km left to paddle and three hours before poor weather with 8 m/s winds should hit us. We decided to skip the last break and go straight across Namsenfjorden to Utvorda.
As we crossed Namsen the wind started to pick up and we slowed down to well below 5 km/hr. We had been 4 hours in the boat and it was no time for jokes.
Finally at 2030 with 30 minutes to spare on the weather, and with a trip record of 4 hrs 15 min. in the kayaks, we arrived at Utvorda camping.
It was worth the effort. We were met by the host Sven as we came in, and soon his wife and co-owner Anja were showing us our cabin for the night.
Anja and Sven are from Germany, but have lived here with their son for 11 years. In addition to this camping they run adventurous diving trips to Greenland and Svalbard. The camping is geared toward German fishing tourists, and this year the Corona pandemic has made for a difficult start to the year both for the diving adventures and the camping. Fortunately, the camping is picking up Anja and Sven told us.
For dinner we had had filet mignon with potato mash, a well deserved treat at the end of a long day. Just as we finished the meal, thunder and heavy rain set in. Nothing like a solid roof and a dry bed in such conditions. Getting to Utvorda had been well worth the effort!
Tomorrow we’ll wait on weather and rest