Two days to go

radioYesterday (27 Feb) we visited TELENOR main office at Fornebu and had a lesson in basic use of the maritime VHF radios provided to our expedition; the Standard Horizon HX 870 E. This radio is far more advanced than what we are used to and give us a lot more opportunities and safety.

When TELENOR learned to know about our Expedition, they where keen to support us, because this expedition is quite longer and more exposed than most expeditions are. We will also try to give something back to future kayakers, by establishing a pattern of coverage for small hand held radios close to the water.

comsWe have now finished preparing and packing all our communications and electronic gear.

In addition to the radios, both of us have a Garmin InReach GPS with tracker and the possibility to communicate by TXT through the Iridium Global network. We have a camera and cellphone, and thanks to good friends, we have solar panel to charge our Powerbanks, and the kit has been adjusted to fulfill our particular needs.

We are planning to make a blog update pr week and pictures to our back office when the opportunities arise.

When we started to plan the trip, the historic weather data said the temperature should be above 0C. Wrong ! The forecast of today says that we should expect a couple of weeks with temperature down to -10C, combined with winds between 5 and 10 m/s.

testing sleeping bagWe do believe in testing our kit before use. The last thing we got were sleeping bags, designed to comfort -5C. I put up a bivy bag at the balcony and it was -12C. To cold, the spec was not lying ! Today we got a new one to test, comfort -10-18C. A new night is waiting for me at the balcony…

Nine days to go

2nd March is closing in.

2018-02 15 Russian Visa Stein KynoMost details are now in place. Last week Steins VISA to the Russian federation come back from Mir Travel. In November last year we first approached another company that promised to help out Stein with his VISA application, and delivered by 14 December. After that day, we were not able to get in touch with this company. Mir Travel arranged it without any trouble !

logo telenor kystradio_litenTelenor Kystradio (VHF – Safety at Sea) has also found interest in our project and have provided us with two Standard Horizon  HX 870E maritime VHF radios with DSC. These radios will increase the Expedition safety and make it a lot easier to call for assistance, if needed. We have our own callsign, Sea Kayak 01 and Sea Kayak 02. Our callsign is connected to our registrations in the Norwegian Small Boat register.

IMG_2056
Here we Stein’s kit

IMG_2057All our kit are now tested, packed and stored in Karianne’s garage (our Press officer). We have pre-packed the boats in order to check the available space. It is enough !

The Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish coast have been kayaked numerous times. As far as we know, this expedition is the first kayak expedition to include Northwestern Russia. In the North Western part of Russia there are a number of closed military areas, which we will have to avoid. We will have to go on shore at least one time pr day, and that is not possible in these areas.

We very much look forward to the opportunity to paddle in Russia and we intend to be exemplary guests following all rules regulations and listening carefully to suggestions and advice. Since last fall we have discussed our plans with representatives from the Russian Federation Embassy in Oslo. Erling has spent hours and hours mapping out our route through Russia, including all our planned tent sites. Our final plan has been sent to the Russian Authorities for comments and suggestions, and we are awaiting their response.

 

Some more planning

It is only five weeks to go… Not stressed yet, but..

After several meetings we have a good feeling concerning the planning. Most of the kit are in place, we have got most of the small bits and pieces we need for the seven months on the water.

Logo Milslsukern
Hovedsponsor

We have been to Milslukern, who has been very helpful to hand out the Kokatak kit we need, while we are waiting for the order from Kokatat US to arrive. We have been to Piteraq to get the expedition clothing and to Jarbeaux sport to get the tents. We have been to FUE.no to get a number of repair kit to fix kayaks and kit in the beach-zone, and a number of other small shops.

logo Nautisk fritidWe have been to our old naval chart provider, Nautisk fritid (https://www.nautiskfritid.no/), who is supporting us with naval maps of Scandinavia, and we have three teams in Russia, who are trying to support us with Russian maps.

The first company that should assist us to get Stein’s Visa to Russia disappeared along the road. Then we had the Russian New year, and a funeral for the next visa provider. We re now in touch with a new Visa provider, that we have great expectations to. Hopefully, Stein should have his Visa within the next three+ weeks. Erling is good to go.

We have been advised to establish contact with a Russian naval point of contact to assist us during our travel through the Federation of Russia. Erling has successfully established contact with Vladimir  Ivankiv (vladimirivankiv@yahoo.com) in St Petersburg. Vladimir has for years, with great success, assisted several Norwegian Sailboats on a similar route.

Expedition clothing

Logo PiteraqToday we were visiting Sjur Mørdre at Piteraq Tinder og Banditter. Piteraq is a company that continue into the Wilderness where Milslukern ends. Sjur is the Norwegian Agent for Mountain Equipment.

Again, we have chosen equipment we have been using for years, and been very happy with. We had made a wish list, but also listed the weather condition we were going to use it in; temperature down to -10 Celsius, winds up to 30 m/s, snow and rain in the beach zone. Volume is also a key issue.

Sjur is an “old” explorer who have been to the most remote places in the world. Together with his brother Simen, he was the first modern explorer to cross the South Pole, and he has crossed the Greenland numerous times, in addition to be well recognized business man.

Based on our assessment of the weather condition, we had a long and fruitful discussion about clothing and sleeping bags. We ended up with the following kit from Mountain Equipment; Aurora sleeping bags, Citadel (fiber) jackets, Concordia (fiber) jackets, Odyssey and Havoc (outer) jackets, Firefox pants, Epic Touring Pants, classic comfort mats and Super Alpine Gloves.

 

 

Testing the new boats

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finally, we were able to get on the water iot test our new boats, the P&H CETUS HV from P&H Sea kayaks. This a design I have used since 2010, and have been very happy with. I have some eight P&H boats which I am using for kayak courses and guiding. As an average I have been on the water 50-60 days/year with my old Cetus We were even more happy that Milslukern.no and P&H Sea kayaks decided to support our project.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We were like “kids” when we unwrapped the brand new custom designed boats and could take them on the water, (http://www.phseakayaks.com/kayakCustomiser.php). Stronger and lighter than the old glass construction. They behaved as expected on a day with -3 C and 4-5 m/s wind. This time we had ordered the new construction in Carbon/Kevlar, strong and reliable. A dream on the water !

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When we were on the water, we also used the opportunity to drill our skills in Eskimo-roll and buddy rescue. Always nice to know that we still have the skills.

The day was concluded at Oslo Kayakclub with a hot shower and a cup of tea.

 

Route challenges

When we started the planning phase we were well aware of the fact the Kola Peninsula and the White Sea was affected by a number of restrictions due to the closeness to the border area.

After months with search and hard work, Erling was able to make the map below that shows what we believe is the restricted areas. (Sail) boats that have done the tour before us have avoided this problems by sailing more that 16 Nautical Miles outside the shore line (outside territorial waters). We don’t have that luxury. We even have to go ashore every 40 kilometers to get a rest..

We are now planning to adjust our journey in order to avoid the restricted areas. Erling has sorted out a good plan, we hope to land during this month.

2018 restricted areas at Kola - White Sea area

The new boats have arrived

  • The boats arrived from P&H Sea Kayaks 4 January i perfect conditions ! We unpacked them in Karianne’s garage and are looking forward to try them on the water
  • Stein is still waiting for his VISA papers from the provider. We have now started to look for a new provider. We both need a 90 VISA with two entries. The time is running fast now.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑