Wednesday 5 August. 51 km, 5.2 average speed. Buholmråsa fyr to Stokkøya marina. A long hard slog. Fall winds hampered progress. Start 0815 arrive 2130
When we got up in the morning the wind was down and the sea outside the lighthouse was calm. We got on the water just before 0900 and we were quite optimistic as we paddled off. Yes, the wind was forecast to increase throughout the day, but it should be sidewind not headwind.
Or so we thought. After about an hours paddle we had to think again. Just outside Sandbergvik we were hit by strong fall winds and we struggled to make any progress at all. Way above the forecast.
We hadn’t reckoned with the terrain. We soon found that fall winds were common off the steep hills along the fjords. We also were reminded that the wind tend to turn and follow the side of the fjords. Today that meant headwinds where sidewind was forecast.
The conditions weren’t bad, but they made for another slow day of hard paddling.
And a long day. We paddled for 51 km all the way to Stokkøya. The last 15 km before Stokkøya had no good tenting sites, so it was either short or long. We opted for long.
Not that there were all that many splendid campsites at Stokkøya either, but there was a marina and we hoped to find places for the kayaks, tents and maybe a “service house” with kitchen
And yes, it was a big marina. With a wooden platform where we could pitch the tents and a barrack with a kitchen and a shower that only Karianne managed to make work.
Everything was OK, but compared to the lighthouse it of course felt as somewhat of a downgrade
And just as we sat down to eat the rain started to pour down. As we ducked into the tents in the rain around midnight, we decided to make a minimum stop out of Stokkøya. Tomorrow we plan a 46 km paddle to Grandholmen just outside Storfodna. WP.
Utvorda to Sønnaholmen. 35 km, 4.5 km/hr average speed. Start 1030 arrive 1930
The weather was better in the morning, but not good. Still we decided to try to get some km out of the day. But first we had breakfast with our German friends. Then we went down to the reception to put on dry suits and pack the boats.
It was pouring down and Jorg – a true Swiss gentleman- appeared with and umbrella to help us, or more precisely Karianne.
We bid farewell to our very hospitable hosts Anja and Sven. Jorg helped us carry the boats, and off into the headwinds we went.
We spent the entire day in winds around 6-7 m/s and precipitation varying between rain and downpour. We navigated islands and islets to get maximum shelter and we put in some hard work. Still we only made 4.5 km/hr progress. A low for RSKE.
As we paddled the exposed part outside Oksbåsheia the wind picked up and we also paddled through 1.5 m ocean swell. At the top of the swell we could see land and the top of the lighthouse, at the base nothing but a wall of water.
As we finally approached the lighthouse any hope that the wind would subside so that we could get around Buholmråsa lighthouse and into sheltered waters had to be abandoned.
When we finally it was blowing 10 m/s headwinds and the time was 1930.
Instead we hoped that we could get inside one of the buildings on the lighthouse. Everything was closed. But there is this thing called internet. We googled the place. Bingo! It was for rent and there was a telephone number. Maybe the key was hidden on the island? We called to explain our situation.
Jorid answers the call. No such luck. The key was on the mainland…., but hang on a minute maybe she could find someone with a boat to bring us the keys. 1930 on a wet and windy evening, we wondered what the odds were.
The odds turned out to be excellent. Soon we got an sms: Keys are on their way. And not long after we saw a boat approaching. Sure enough the boat carried Rune (Hansen) boat owner and Magnar (Sæter) holder of keys.
Soon we were inside the old “lighthouse matsters” house. Mangnar and Rune explained how the lighthouse accommodation worked, as follows:
The small community of Sætervik (population 60) had established a small company to keep the local shop alive. Basically looking for income to run and maintain the shop building. So amongst other things they had come up with an arrangement with Kystverket: Kystverket would pay for maintaining the lighthouse ( this they must do anyway), but in return for helping out with minor maintenance and operations the “Sætervik shop company” gets all the income from the rental of accommodation.
Nothing from us though, since they had to clean the houses anyway tomorrow to get ready for the weekend, we stay for free. Or better, Magnar gave us the remaining chocolate cake from this morning’s meeting with Kystverket. And showed us the shower. And the coffee.
A very very friendly and upbeat end to a pretty wet, windy and hard day. Thanks!!
Tomorrow we plan to paddle on toward Stokkøya. There will be wind, but more sidewind or even tailwind. WP
We got up lateish and had a leisurely breakfast. The wind was blowing hard as forecast and it was raining. Still, one can have breakfast for only so long, and in the end we had to try to get something useful out of the day.
Anja and Sven’s camping is busy these days and we had been lucky to get a cabin for one night. Anja and Sven had assured us they would find a solution for the next night also.
And so they did. Torsten from Hamburg and his two sons Patrick and Nicklas were staying in an house with spare capacity, they had agreed to let us occupy the spare bedrooms for the night. German hospitality all around.
Anja and Sven also lent us their car to go shopping and we could use their washing machine and tumble dryer with wool program. Luxuries.
Erling met Torsten just as he and the “boys” were on their way out to fish. We were most welcome. He had heard we were going to the shop, but there was no need. Today’s dinner was on them, catch of the day!
We went to the shop anyway and bought some beer to go with the fish and some supplies for the following days.
And so it was that by 1500 we were installed in new quarters with clean, dry and folded(!) clothes. Just as we had a bit of lunch, Torsten and the “boys” came back in, it was blowing to hard even in the shielded waters just outside the camping. They went for a quick nap to gather strength for their planned nightly trout fishing trip.
We did some sightseeing of Utvorda. It didn’t take an awful lot of time; from the harbor to the end of the 50 km/hr zone was a five minute walk. There were some stately new houses, a dairy farm and a sizeable fishing vessel, plus the camping. A small society, alive and well as best we could tell.
Stein also did some office work, because of some charging issues he used an innovative ergonomic solution
As soon as the “trout preparedness” nap was over Patrick took the chef role and started preparing the fish. Breaded cod was today’s dish.
If was en excellent meal and splendid company. Conversation flowed back and forth until it was too late to start on the trout fishing plan. So we had some more coffee, chocolate and biscuits in stead.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast is not good with strong headwinds, but we can paddle in sheltered waters at least the 35 km to Buholmråsa lighthouse. WP.
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!
Lislvågøya to Gjerdingen. 49 km, 6.4 km/hr average speed. Start 1015 arrive 2015.
Both the sheep and the mosquitoes left us in peace for a good nights sleep. The sheep appeared at breakfast, probably wondering why we didn’t get going.
The reason was that we planned to start one hour before high tide to capture maximum following current during falling tide. We made no attempt to explain all this to the sheep, and soon they lost interest and left
Weather was good, wind was good, currents were good, all went according to plan, so not much to write about.
We made one change to the day’s plan toward the end. We extended the paddle from 41 to 49 km. Then we plan to paddle another 47 or so tomorrow to cross Folda and Namsen and get just past Utvorda. The reason is that tomorrow’s weather forecast looks very favorable and Monday’s looks like a wait on weather day with strong headwinds. Utvorda is the “piece de resistance”, if we can get past there we have some shelter and can possibly get going again Monday afternoon.
As luck would have it “Utvorda camping” is located on the first good beach on the southwest side of Utvorda, we got rooms for one night so hopefully we can get some washing done while we wait for the wind to subside.
All this tomorrow, weather permitting. Today we have sought refuge in our tents. We found a beautiful coral beach to camp on, but unfortunately a couple of billion gnats were waiting for us. While we had a quick meal they had a feast. Hopefully they have had their fill and will not be around for breakfast .
Brønnøysund to Lislvågøya 25.5 km, 6.1 km/hr average speed. Start 1515 arrive 2015
We slept well and long. And took our time getting ready. Looking after equipment, shopping supplies etc. Hilde and her husband came by to bid farewell, which gave us the opportunity to thank again for the hospitality.
Finally just after 1500 we set off toward a small collection of islets just off Kvaløya. An easy 25 km paddle never far from a lot of small islands that littered our path.
En route we got a glimpse (just) of the famous hole through the mountain Torghatten.
When we arrived we faced a dilemma, this sandy beach or that. or maybe that one. Any one of them would have been deemed excellent had it been the only on offer, but now we spent half an hour discussing and exploring which one was the best. Least sheep, least mosquitoes etc
Finally at about 2000 we managed to decide, we chose sheep over mosquitoes. We spent a leisurely couple of hours setting up camp and having dinner. And then an early night. The forecast is good for tomorrow and we hope to cover a normal distance, mostly on falling tide which should tend to give following currents.
Tjøtta to Brønnøysund. 44.5 km, 6.0 km/hr average speed. Start 0930 arrive 1830.
We woke to good weather and high tide. We were on the water 0930 hoping to catch some following current with the falling tide. Since we had a talk scheduled in Brønnøysund at (tentatively) 1900 we were also a bit eager to cover some distance so we had control on that timing.
We followed shortest distance and kept to two shortish breaks. The last of those at Fjordholmen (or Buholmen) at a fantastic pebble beach, shelterd from the wind, sun shining and air temperatures of 20 plus. We were tempted to linger, but we had three hours to go to Brønnøysund where Hilde Rønnaug Berntsen was expecting us. She had promised us a dedicated cook and a three course dinner at Tørrfiskbrygga, where Brønnøysund Sjøsportklubb is housed.
As we came into Brønnøysund we found Tørrfiskbrygga quite easily: Hilde was flying the flag:-) and to make absolutely sure we didn’t miss it Viggo Karlsen came rowing out to guide us the last few meters. No one rows a Nordlandsbåt faster than Viggo, and he has the biceps to show for it. He volunteered those muscles to help carry our boats into the boat hall.
All while the editor of Brønnøysund Avis Matti Aries took pictures. A stately landing indeed:-)
By the time we had out of our wet paddling clothes and into some half decent clothes for dinner the clock was almost 1900. The talk was postponed till 1930, but we still had a three course meal to enjoy. We were both curious and hopeful, what did Hilde have up her sleeve?
Wrong question. Correct question was what did Hilde’s son Joakim Kvam have up his sleeve? He is both a fully trained and very talented cook. We decided the people upstairs would have to wait a bit more for three very good reasons
1. Mussel soup with apple
2. Baked Arctic Char with a superb sauce
3. Chocolate fondant with Sorbet
A meal worthy of the best restaurant and that is not something we say because we had paddled 45 km to sharpen our appetite. We held back the urge to swallow each course in one gulp and tried to take the time the meal deserved.
So we were late for our own talk, but the 20 or so people that had made it had patience with us. Also when the sheer exuberance carried over from dinner and we went on for a bit longer than usual. But at about 2200 we were done. We heard Viggo say that he would row our route in his Nordlandsbåt. Viggo didn’t quite remember having said that, but we are three against one:-)
As a final treat of the evening Hilde offered us a shower at her place. Much appreciated!
Tomorrow we will take advantage of the location and facilities to get up to date with the blog and look over some equipment. We plan for late start and a short day. WP.