We said no paddling on Friday, but Stein decided otherwise!
Last Saturday Stein left the team after the planned four weeks, going home to see his family and dog. Stein have previously kayaked most of the distance from Hitra to Oslo, but he was missing one leg, Tønsberg to Horten, about 26 km. The leg was scheduled Thursday, but due to wind forecast up to 10 m/s from South, it was postponed to Friday.
At 1030 Stein left Tønsberg Kayak club, heading NorthWest with blue sky and no wind. After an hour he was stopped by a nice family sitting in their beautiful wooden boat and offered a bun with egg-cream, fantastic ! But, Stein had to proceed in a headwind slowly picking up.
After three hours in the Tønsberg Archipelago, Stein had seen more boats than on the 25 days of the previous 898 km !
Coming out of the archipelago, the coast is a bit boring, and nothing compared to what we have experienced in Northern Norway/Trøndelag. Just carry on. As the weather forecast predicted, the wind increased and turned to South with following seas. Finally, Stein got some surf.
The most interesting part was crossing of the busiest ferry line in Norway, where four ferries went in/out of Horten harbour, with a pattern hard to predict. However, we have crossed in Moss, on the other side several times, no worries…..
At 1615 Stein had completed the whole Norwegian coast from the Russian border to the Swedish. However, not in one go with Erling, but over several years, starting in 1999 with Per Wilhelm who also joined RSKE last year.
In Horten Stein was met by his friends Matt, Marius and his son Ola. Marius and Ola took him back to Tønsberg and his car.
Nogva holmen to Vågnes. 29 km, 6.3 km/hr average speed. Start 0740 arrive 1420. 1111 km this Year 🙂
For once weather wasn’t on our side. The night brought rain and thunder. At about 0645 there was a pause in the rain. Looking westward it was not clear that that would not last for long. Looking closer there was another cloud…gnats. Quick decision: pack up and go, breakfast could wait for later, maybe when the next wave of rain let up.
We set an RSKE record of 55 minutes to pack down the camp and get paddling. Soon the rain was pouring down, and down, and down….
After two hours paddle breakfast was well overdue. Conveniently we paddled close to an express boat quay at Store Kalvøya. A small community just outside Ålesund with nine year round inhabitants and a shelter where all nine could cram in waiting for the boat. Nice good place for breakfast.
Now we were just a small hours paddle away from Ålesund where we planned to paddle through the famous (?) Brosundet. On the way there we would paddle past Erling’s brother’s office window. He had already sms’ed to invite us for a heavy lunch: Potetball (kumle) with soft ice for dessert..
(For any non-Norwegians who wonder what potetball is and why it isn’t as known outside Norway as Norwegian salmon, let me just say that it is an attempt to make a mixture of potatoes and flour taste like meat. It is an acquired taste. And very calorific)
It was very good potetball (as potetball goes) and the huge helping of soft ice rounded the meal off nicely. Having thus secured an even lower center of gravity in the kayaks we were ready to paddle on through Brosundet and across Borgundfjorden to Sula and Vågnes.
It isn’t over till it’s over and Borgundfjorden is a busy sea lane. At one point we had six ships in different angles in potentially crossing course. For the first time this year Erling put his VHF on deck and listened to Ch 16, ready to make contact if needed.
No need, it all sorted itself. Erling’s parents had driven out to meet us as soon as we came across to Sula. But that was Salen not Vågnes. So we paddled on through some small islets that were Erling’s playground when he grew up.
Then shortly after 1400 we saw Erling’s home harbor and boathouse.
As we pulled into the small marina run by Erling’s father we were again greeted by Erling’s parents and also by the editor of the local newspaper Sulaposten. So there was congratulations, interview, photo op, champagne and flags. And the rain had finally stopped. A very good end to 1110 km of paddling from Tromsø.
Soon Erling’s sister, brother in law and brother were back from work and it was time for a hearty fish chowder on top of the potetball.
After all that we just managed to muster the willpower to go down and cleanse and hang the gear up to dry. Some of it may be beyond rescue.
Tomorrow there will be no paddling whatever the wind and currents.
From Bud to Rongveholmen. 44 km 6.9 km/hr average speed. Start 1000 arrive 1830.
After a good nights sleep we were picked up by Guttorm in the dingy and taken back to shore and soon breakfast with fried eggs and bacon for the three of us. (Eli was already at work)
We lingered a bit longer than planned as we picked up the conversation from yesterday. But if we are ever to get to Vågnes we have to paddle. So Guttorm took us to the marina, gave us some advice and tips & off we went
We took a small detour past Bjørnsund, a small community just outside Bud. We tried to get in from the north, but were completely closed out by breakwaters. No time to spare to paddle round, so we set course for Sandøya, a two hour crossing.
We had following wind and swell. The wind picked up a bit above forecast and the following seas occasionally broke over the kayaks so we had to spend some effort to paddle straight and safe. We still made excellent progress.
After lunch at Sandøy we paddled on to Fjørtoft where Erling’s paternal grandmother grew up. We just had a short break to fuel up for the last stretch to Rongveholmen.
As we got to the planned campsite, we found it sandy and very well drained and dry. So we were hoping no mosquitoes or gnats.
As the wind subsided we realized that we got it about right with regard to mosquitoes and all wrong with regards to gnats. So dinner was quickly made and eaten. Lights out at 2130.
Tomorrow (Thursday) we plan an early start and to paddle via Ålesund to Vågnes. It looks very much like weather will permit. Fingers crossed.
Sveggen to Bud. 47 km, 6.0 km/hr average speed. Start 0925 arrive 1830.
No gnats as we got up. So this was an upgrade. Getting the boats off the rocks and into the water was also easy. So at 0925 we paddled into the forecast headwinds of about 6 m/s.
We weren’t too concerned about the headwinds. If we paddled along the inner ship lane we would find sheltered water. The wind would be there but no waves, so we less effect on progress.
All correct, but we didn’t factor in the extra time it would take to navigate through the many islets. With our eyes less than a meter above surface it is difficult to get an “over”view.
After a couple of hours we got sight of Atlanterhavsvegen. Now we were into more open waters. We paddled in behind the road and found some shelter for the wind for a lunch break.
As we came back out under the bridge and into the wind, we started on the infamous stretch of water called Hustadvika. The main aim of the day was to put that behind us
Our metrological luck continued (as forecast), the wind subsided and we paddled along Hustadvika in sun and flat water.
We had one more stop planned before Bud. Erling wanted to briefly visit his friends Ståle and Kari Ellen’s second home at “Little Sunisland”. They were back in Trondheim, but Erling wanted it to be a stop on the way anyways. Just a quick snack before the last 7 km of Hustadvika to a sheltered harbor at Bud.
Just before we arrived and SMS from Ståle ticked in “did you find coffee at the quay”. We sped up. And yes there was coffee at the quay and chocolate biscuits. Almost magic. But we knew the explanation Ståle’s friend and neighbor at Soløya, Guttorm Heggstad was the main suspect, but he was nowhere to be seen. We came in a bit after plan so he probably was busy elsewhere.
Just as we were ready to “saddle up” and paddle on a small dingy approached. It was Guttorm. After greetings and due thanks for the coffee, Guttorm put us in a dilemma between some excellent options. He said that his wife Eli had gone to buy supplies for dinner and we were welcome to sleep in their yacht for the night.
A fantastic offer, but Bud was so close and Hustadvika so sunny, quiet and waveless. And what we didn’t paddle today we would have to do tomorrow.
Ai and ouch. Suddenly the best solution occurred to us: we would paddle on to Bud, leave the kayaks, bring the sleeping bags and toothbrush and be picked up by Guttorm in an hour and a half. Kinderegg, paddle Hustadvika, dinner in good company and a dry and guaranteed gnat free place to sleep!.
And so it was. We paddled on, left the kayaks on quay in the Marina, were picked up by Guttorm and soon we were enjoying Eli’s Trøndersodd in their thoroughly renovated and upgraded home looking out over Hustadvika.
Guttorm and Eli are truly adventurous people with the courage to follow their dreams. Over an excellent “Trøndersodd” dinner and while enjoying the sunset from their glassed in terrace we got some bits and pieces of a truly fascinating sailing family.
Just to frame it: Guttorm started to build his Colin Archer “Juliana” at the age of 18, launched it at the aged of 22 in 1979, lived in the boat for the next 15 years from Lofoten to Brasil and the Caribbean. Until in 1994, he and Eli and their three kids finally bought a home onshore at Soløya! In between Guttorm was educated as an Psychologist and Eli is a teacher so winters were often spent in Norway to fund the summers in the Caribbean.
They are also super resourceful and solution oriented. When they decided to go back for some more months Guttorm built at sailing Catamaran that the five of them could transport as luggage with Air France…seeing is believing, picture attached.
Super impressive and interesting. But in the end it was time for bed. We plan for an reasonably early start tomorrow and to cover 40 km to Nogve Holmen on the penultimate day. Weather permitting.
Skardsøya to Sveggen 56 km, 6.4 km/hr average speed. Start 0930 arrive 2045
It was a sunny morning, but when Erling stuck his head out in the morning he could hardly see the sun. Another “gnatty bay”. The wind last night had kept them away and this was an unpleasant surprise.
Things go a little slower when one hand is continuously occupied fighting the gnats. Still we managed to be back on the water at 0930 and planned to paddle to Kristiansund where we had gotten permission to put the kayaks outside KNT’s kayak boathouse.
It was a splendid warm day and after some hours with head currents we started to pick up speed. Temperatures in the twenties and a swimming break at lunch. We made steady progress and around 1800 we approached the crossing over to Kristiansund.
We had one last break at the “archipelago” on the west side of Tustna. We decided to push on and cross straight to Sveggen. Gaining the extra km would make it more likely we would make it across Hustadvika to Bud tomorrow.
There wasn’t all that many good campsites at Sveggen. The ocean leaves only polished rocks. So we ended up paddling 56 km before we found a half decent place. Landing was on slippery rocks and getting the kayaks up was half the work of setting up camp
We were a little earlier than yesterday, but evening chill soon set in so we didn’t linger over dinner today either.
There are some insects around, but hopefully we won’t wake up to another gnatty bay. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we aim to paddle 46 km across Hustadvika for Bud. WP. There will be headwinds in the morning, but it is forecast to improve in the afternoon. It will be harder and slower than the last couple of day’s, but should be doable
Sandstad to Skardsøya. 37 km. 6,4 km/hr average speed. Start 1450 arrive 2130.
Saturday (Day 26) went well for all. Erling managed to participate in his Uncle’s 70 years celebration. Stein was picked up by a friend from Trondheim and dropped off at Værnes and then met by his wife Margaret at Gardermoen. Karianne tried to get some work done while listening to the rain and wind inside a tiny cabin at Hitra camping. It wasn’t paddling weather so not much was lost by Erling’s detour.
Erling returned to Sandstad Sunday at 1400, Karianne had seen to it that all was ready at the boats and we paddled off at 1450. Plan is to reach Vågnes on Thursday, but that required some km this afternoon.
It was strange to paddle on without Stein. Is it still RSKE? Erling can clearly hear his boathouse calling, and Vågnes was a fallback destination back in 2018 should we fail to reach even Stavanger in time. So it feels like a continuation. Next year and and eventual paddle all the way to Oslo can look after itself for now
We crossed the shipping lane(s) in Trondheimsfjorden as soon as we could. It was a bit busy and we paddled on high alert, but never needed to use the VHF.
Further paddling went well with 5 m/s following winds
We paddled on with some determination, round about 30 km would be handy. In the end we paddled 37 to the western end of Skardsøya. We came ashore just before sunset and made short shrift of getting the tents up and eating the thermos cooked dinner. It was a bit cold and windy and the dew was about to cover everything. Taste of autumn
Grandholmen to Sandstad. 28 km, 6.4 km/hr average speed. Start 0925 arrive 1515
We got a dry nights sleep, but maybe not so good..we were all up during the night to check on the tide. We had some cm to spare. Good enough.
We paddled off at 0925. Although the tide was just starting to rise again we had mostly following currents and made good progress.
Again we chose the shortest route which meant open water crossing from Storfosna to Hitra. As we came to Hitra, we were in very good shape time wise, and we stopped for a bathing lunch.
Stein really deserved a break and a dip. As we came to Hitra he has paddled the entire Norwegian coast (bar a few meters between Tønsberg and Horten which he will finish off on Thursday..WP)
We had found a camping just a short way away from the Expressboat quay. No room for the night, but kayaks could be stored ashore and Karianne and Stein could pitch their tents.
The weather was still dry and warm and we hung up our stuff to dry. In the end the site looked very occupied.
After a final handshake with Stein, Erling catched the Expressboat to Kristiansund. And bus from there to Ålesund where he will arrive at midnight.
Karianne and Stein will stay till tomorrow, when Stein will be picked up by (yet another) friend and travel home via Oslo. Family and business beckon.
It’s 200 km, or a short weeks paddle from Sandstad to Vågnes. Wether forecast is good and Erling has decided to go for that as a natural place to stop. Karianne has started to mumble about Lindesnes and Nordkapp and decided to join.
Karianne and Erling will continue Sunday afternoon. WP
Stokkøya to Grandholmen. 47 km, 6.4 km/hr average speed. Start 0945 arrive 1815.
As we took advantage of a stop in the rain to pack the tents we saw a wet and drab sign advertising for a bakery in a strange building just down the “road”. It should open in 20 minutes. We didn’t exactly get our hopes up, but the alternative was oatmeal porridge in the “service house”. Not much to lose.
Good thinking. Stokkøya was just about to improve a lot on second impression. The strange building turned out to be a “village box”, first we’ve ever seen. Basically an multipurpose mostly unisolated hall. Adjacent was the bakery. It had first class bread and outstanding pastry, delivering far and wide. Croissant and danish beats oatmeal for breakfast any day!
We were the early birds and the young lady serving us had time for a chat. We explained about our Russian-Scandinavian paddling adventure hoping to make a bit of an impression. Elin found it interesting, although she didn’t do much paddling. She was more into motorbikes. Her summer vacation last year was spent riding her motorcycle from Trøndelag to Mali (west Africa). So much for paddling through Russia….
It turned out Elin was the daughter of missionaries and had grown up in the Ivory Coast and Mali. Now she was planning to go back to do social work with kids. By plane, but still. We were thoroughly impressed by such dedication and courage. Pastry and food for thought all in one helping. Stokkøya climbed drastically in our ranking.
Still no time to linger. We had 47 km to go to our planned campsite at Grandholmen. So shortly before 1000 we were on our way. Today the conditions were good and we were back to our normal speed of 6+ km/hr. Remembering the struggles of the last two days we chose the short, not the scenic route.
So lots of open water, and not a lot to write about. Just one reflection. We realized that the whole three weeks we have probably not paddled a single meter without line of sight to a fish farm. They are littered all over. The last couple of days we haven’t paddled a meter without line of sight to windmills either. It’s massive things, it seems the economic fundament of these societies are changing before our eyes.
We got to Grandholmen without incident. We found the campsite just as “advertised” on Google Maps. Just one thing, the piton google was obviously taken on low tide. Judging from the sea weed on our planned campsite there would be occasions where that was under water…
What about tonight at 0300? Against camping, it was a full moon so high tide. For camping the seaweed was well dried, it would probably take a storm surge to get more seaweed up there, and no wind was forecast.
We set up the tents and put the kayaks at the same level..
Just as we were having dinner a young lady came walking towards us along the shore. Surprise, this was a small islet with no connection to mainland.
It turned out she was the owner of the farm to which this islet belonged. She was here with her husband and father to look after a small cabin that stood on the islet. She explained that the cabin was open for people like us as was many other small cabins round here. The cabins were built around 1920 when harvesting shells for longline bait was an important industry here.
Very generous. But the tents were already up and we could hear the sleeping bags beckoning. We decided to take our chances with the tide.
Tomorrow we will paddle to Sandstad on Hitra. WP, and it looks good. From there Erling will leave to visit Ålesund to take part in his uncle’s 70ieth birthday party, returning Sunday. By then Stein will have left for Oslo on Saturday. Which means Karianne will be left to look after the gear. Possibly a superfluous function, since no one in their right mind and a sense of smell would take anything….
Unless the tide takes our kayaks tonight of course.