Måløy to Hennøy 18 km. Start 1240 arrive 1600
We were in no hurry. According to our calculations the infamous currents in Skatestraumen would run against us for most of the day. So we enjoyed a slow start and Jon Reidar’s excellent breakfast. But in the end we could not put off the start any longer. Torbjørn and Helge (aka The Naadendal Comrades after they helped us get to Naadendal in 2018) were waiting to join us en route. So 1240 we pushed off and we’re on our way. Jon Reidar drove us down and saw us off.
After about an hour and a half paddling we were at the entrance of Skatestraumen were we had agreed to meet Helge and Torbjørn. Soon we were a convoy of six. And to our surprise we had the current moving us swiftly eastward toward Hornelen, rather than pushing us back toward Måløy. Pleasant surprise. This confirmed Stein’s first law: “if you just dread something enough it will be OK”. Unfortunately Stein’s second law is: “any feeling of success is a cause for worry”. As soon as we turned south along Hornelen Stein’s second law came into effect: Strong squall head winds made us struggle to move forward.
As we got past Hornelen to Frøysjøen the wind stabilised, but still headwinds at close to 10 m/s. It was set for as discussion amongst the six what to do next. But Stein didn’t see any issues and started leading across. Helge follwed glued to Stein’s rudder. We started out in lose formation, but the wind tore us apart first into three groups of two and toward the end of the crossing two groups of two and two “singles”. But we got across to Hennøya without incident and found a small shielded harbour were we pulled up the kayaks for a lunch break and a discussion about what next.
We decided it would be a long break, while we watched the weather. The wind were still blowing hard and well above forecast. The situation definitely called for pancakes.
24 pancakes and some more lunch later, the wind was still blowing. We would struggle hard to cover the last 12 km to our planned destination. And we were warm, well fed and full of pancakes. An unanimous resolution to set up camp and stay for the night were swiftly passed.
This meant we had time to explore the area a bit. Hennøy is a very small roadless place with one permanent inhabitant. Once it was a community of maybe sixty or so with its own small school and graveyard. The farms are now mostly abandoned, but most of the houses are well kept as holiday homes. Most of these were also empty, but at the far end of the one road there were people.
We wanted to go all the way to the end of the road, but thought that we should ask permission since the road lead to some boathouses belonging to the farm. Karianne went to ask and were met by the couple owning the farm. A couple of sentences into the conversation Karianne got a strange expression on her face: She had realised that she was talking to her childhood next door neighbour And friend Maggie and her husband Ståle. Maggie and Ståle took a minute or so to realize that Karianne were Karianne. The immediately summoned Maggie’s sister Torill. Torill also took a couple of minutes to realize who amongst the six she knew from before.
Then parallel rapid fire conversations broke out reminiscing old times more than forty years back. After a while we were shown the boathouse where Maggie and Ståle had tidied up by throwing away generations worth of stuff from Ståle’s maternal family, but they had kept some tool and fishing gear testifying to how things were done generations ago. Hard work it had been to eke out a living.
Hard work it must have been indeed, but people were and are very attached to this place as testified by the many well kept houses and also by the tiny graveyard. The oldest grave was from 1925, the youngest from last year (2020)
Back at the boats we swiftly set up camp and started making dinner. We set the camp with a view to Hornelen. In Norwegian folklore this is the place where witches come to party with the devil every St Hans night, that is every 23 of June, that is tonight! We did consider setting up a watch to check, but in the end the paddling and events of the day got the better of that plan. All quiet at 2200.
Tomorrow Helge and Torbjørn plan to return to Helge’s family hut at Almenningen, while the rest of us plan to make it to Florø. Weather Permitting.