D13 – Another super day for paddling. 35,8 km, average speed 6,6 km/hr, 5,5 hours paddling – 14 March

The day appeared to be getting off to a perfect start. We were still set for a 10 o’clock launch even after a long breakfast during which solutions were found for several of the world’s most pressing issues.

Our buoyant optimism was cut short by a sharp snapping sound when Erling’s clumsy launch resulted in a broken skeg. Yes, the already infamous contraption on Erling’s boat which is supposed to help keep the kayak on track though wind and waves. Luckily for the clumsy paddler, Stein is no stranger to field repairs. One hour later the spare skeg was in place and we were good to go.

We enjoyed five and a half hours of basically dead calm seas and sunshine. So we made up for some of the lost time. Only one break today, Stein estimated the temperature in the sun to be about 20 degrees. Erling thinks that just a bit enthusiastic, but lacking reliable measurements this will make for good discussions.

Otherwise the signs of spring’s approach are abundant. Take yesterday’s pitching of the tent. So far we have used a small axe to ram seven inch nails into the frozen ground (those nails are more evidence for Stein’s “camping” experience from northern climes.) Anyway, yesterday at Förö we didn’t need the axe. The ground was not frozen! Another sign of spring came as we paddled past first one then several pairs of “Tjeld” (Haematopus ostralegus) presumably on their way north.

We kept paddling almost till sunset and just managed to pitch the tent before twilight became darkness.  A darkness that revealed a starry sky. Beautiful, but also a sign of a cool night to come. But for now the primus keeps the tent warm and comfort is top notch. Our hands have kept up well. They are not getting any worse. About 35 km to go until we get to Varberg and our rest and repair day. Likely more repair than rest we expect….

D12 – 36 km at an average speed of 6,5 km/hr, which means 5 hrs 40 min in the kayaks – 13 March

We had one main focus; to take advantage of favorable conditions to get an early crossing of the shipping lanes in and out of Gothenburg.  Favorable conditions meant up to 5 m/s north northeasterly tail winds and excellent visibility, at times we could get speeds up to 10 km/hr by surfing the waves.

So we thanked Reidar at Marstrand kajakk for his hospitality and advice and set south and kept going with only one short break.

We crossed the shipping lanes between 1500 and 1600, without any issues. We then continued to Förö where we camp tonight. (More or less in an “Folkpark”).

Now we have booked a cabin outside Varberg for Thursday to Friday, our second rest day. We are not to happy about the weather forecast showing a new influx of cold air from Russia. Our hands start to show the wear and tear of 11 days in cold water and freezing air. They are getting a little worse every day. What helps is paddling without gloves to get air to the bruises. That is easier in plus 2 than minus 8.

Anyway, two days to Varberg. And then 36 hours to wash and dry our stuff and mend boats and bodies.

D11 – 37 km, average speed 5,8 km/hr. 6,5 hours in the Kayak, from Hellevikstrand to Marstrand – 12 March

An almost windless, but foggy day with sight down to about 50 meters when the fog was at its thickest.

We became a lot more aware of the sounds when all you see is a wall of milky white. The swoosh of dozens of ducks taking flight out of sight and the clap and then heavier swoosh of the swans. And the tiny waves hitting nearby but unseen land. Sometimes the birds would appear as shadows just in sight. Quite magical.

Also quite strenuous navigation. We were very careful keeping close to shore as much as possible. That was at the risk of entering into cul de sacs. Stein did an excellent job of navigation, we only had to turn once!

The final leg involved crossing the ship lane toward Paternoster north of Marstrand. Sight was slightly better, but we took great care, and crossed the shortest route at our max speed (not very impressive admittedly).

Here in Marstrand we enjoy the hospitality of Reidar Forsberg owner of Marstrand kayaks, and quite a kayaking resource. We stay indoors in warm and not least DRY conditions. Last night we camped at a quay in Hellevikstrand and the rain was very persistent.

On the other hand, we have enjoyed 24 hours with above zero temperatures. Maximum at about three degrees! Spring is definitely coming, if only slowly.

D10 – 27,11 km, average speed 5,4 km/h – 11 March

Spring may be around the corner! Although the morning procedure still involves putting on frozen sweat from yesterday, most of today’s precipitation came as rain. The first rain of the trip. Tomorrow may be a day without sub zero temperatures! (Sleet says Stein, not snow anyway).

We had persistent Easterly winds and had to work for our 27 km. The wind should weaken tomorrow and we hope to make it to Marstrand.

D9 – 36.4 km, average speed 5.9 km/h. 0 wind, 0 degrees, a perfect day for paddling – 10 March

We had a good start after a good breakfast. Annika and a local paddling enthusiast saw us off.

We made good progress to and into Sota Canal, but in the canal itself there was too much ice so we had to turn back. Apparently, the lone fisherman that keeps the canal open does not fish on Saturdays.

So 7 km detour and almost two hours spent. We took the outer route along a wintry seascape in calm waters. We managed to find our way to the narrow western entry to Kungshamn… only to find it closed by ice. This time we managed to break through. We were hoping for a seaside cafe and there are plenty. All closed this time of year. A quick matpakke and then 90 minutes of paddling until we found a place to pitch the tent. Just in time to get in order before dark.

Dinner has been served (thanks to Torbjørn and Cathrine at the kayak center in Grebbestad for the supplies).

heestrand fra thorsten

D8 – Our first week has come to an end, only 29 to go

Our first week has come to an end, only 29 to go 🙂

First of all we would like to thank all of you that showed up see us leave Oslo. It was highly appreciated!! Then we also would thank all our old and new friends along the route that has hosted and fed us!! Thanks Sissel, Marius, Knut & Anita, Mats & Åsa!

(So if any of you wondered how we survive in the cold, we have followed the advice from «Klatremus» in «Hakkebakkeskogen», i.e. we have paid visits)

We started out with our company in -9C, ice and slush, but after a couple of hours, the ice was no major issue. The first few days we had nice tailwinds before it turned against us.

The temperature climbed to around 0 from Monday, almost spring 🙂 the key issue was to keep the fingers warm when we were onshore.

The winning kit of this first week was the Kokatat Stormcag, it is an eskimo design that we put on top of the drysuit and PFD. The idea is to keep a layer of warm air between the drysuit and cag. When we had our regular 30 min break after about two hours paddling, we did not have to do any changing of clothes, the cag kept us warm enough, even with wet wool underwear.

Our key focus this first week was to avoid stress on our body and make reasonable daylegs. Actually, the body feels pretty good!

We have scheduled with a day off per week for rehabilitation and maintenance, which we have done this Friday. We have shopped some few things in the nearby town Hamburgsund, and adjusted Erling’s skeg.

This evening our dinner was a bit delayed because we got a very welcome visit from Annika and Thomas, our very nice «neighbors» here at «Kustnara» hostel in Heestrand. They brought interesting and knowledgeable company …plus a nice bottle of red wine to share.

Tomorrow we are continuing South with the aim of reaching Copenhagen in time for Erling’s daughter Nora’s last day in her current job on the 23 March. Her workplace is at the seaside so we hope to paddle by for lunch. However, it’s a long way and the weather will decide.

All the best to our followers!

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It looks like spring will come 🙂 sooner is just as well

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D6 – Grebbestad – 7 March

7 March. 22,6 km, 5,5 km/t 0 grader.

Wednesday we had a short day, only 22 km. We enjoyed a long and cozy breakfast at our tent camp, before we set out. We had two route choices, the protected one along the shore line, or a more exposed one and stopping  by at our favorite campsite, Ulsholmen. We choose the latter one. The wind picked slightly up when we crossed Gule Humpen.

In Grebbestad, we become this years first customers of the (not yet open) Kajak center, where we were well taken care of. Thereafter we were picked up by and old friend and taken to their house were we enjoyed Mats and Åsa’s hospitality. Much appreciated!

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