RSKE Year 2. Prologue.

We thought a short prologue could be in order for this years stage. First, after last year’s dramatic end, we’re happy we both are fit and motivated to continue. We plan to finish in stages, this year will be Mehamn to Tromsø or Harstad, as weather dictates.

We are also happy that Per W Johnsen has joined us for this years stage. You may think he’s the new guy on the team, but by another reckoning he is the first member of the team.

It was Per and Stein that started as sea kayakers in the late eighties , first expedition round Koster in 1994. Since then they have paddled Bodø to Stavanger together and other segments of the coast separately. If we get to Harstad Per will have paddled the entire coast from the Swedish border to Mehamn. When we hopefully get to Bodø next year Stein will have completed the whole coast, while Erling must get to Stavanger before ha can claim the same. So in this perspective Erling is the junior member of the team:-)

We got help with the kayaks and three cold beers in our hands on our way to a sauna with a view!

RSKE2018 Y2D6: 25 July 2019: Hammerfest to Komagfjord. 50.1 km, 6.8 km/hr average speed.

We got on the water at 1010 and paddled down toward Vargsundet heading for Mette and Asle who are long time friends of Per and Stein. They live in Oslo, but spend as much time as they can up here.

We had a very enjoyable paddle for most of the day the currents were with us, the sun was not only shining but warming well. If we plan for more than half an hours break we try to take off our wet and salty paddling clothes and change to warm and dry clothes. At our first break at Komagneset, we didn’t need to bother with the last part. Better to just be warm and dry in the sun. We stopped short of taking a dip though…

The last leg to Komagfjord was more normal. The currents turned and the wind picked up. For once we had winds stronger than forecast on yr.no, but they were following winds. It had started to rain when we arrived at Asle and Mette’s place in Komagfjord at 1900 hours, two hours ahead of our estimate.

No problem. The catch of the day was ashore, we got help with the kayaks and three cold beers in our hands on our way to a sauna with a view!

Mette and Asle had agonized over our visit. What to serve? Freshly caught Halibut or equally freshly caught Kamchatka Crab? They went for a half meter high pile of crab. A fantastic dinner and followed by a much longer evening than we are used to on these trips.

Asle is a super eager fisherman and very well known in the fjords around here. We got some good and detailed advice. It turned out that the crossing from Komagfjord to Stjernfjord is called “the world ocean” by the local fishermen. That is because winds and currents come from all directions, more or less at the same time. Unruly and unpredictable.

Tomorrow’s forecast is 10 m/s when we planned to cross. We will delay departure and head for Øksfjord in the late afternoon. Wether Permitting.

RSKE Year two. Prologue

We thought a short prologue could be in order for this years stage. First, after last year’s dramatic end, we’re happy we both are fit and motivated to continue. We plan to finish in stages, this year will be Mehamn to Tromsø or Harstad, as weather dictates.

We are also happy that Per W Johnsen has joined us for this years stage. You may think he’s the new guy on the team, but by another reckoning he is the first member of the team.

It was Per and Stein that started as sea kayakers in the late eighties , first expedition round Koster in 1994. Since then they have paddled Bodø to Stavanger together and other segments of the coast separately. If we get to Harstad Per will have paddled the entire coast from the Swedish border to Mehamn. When we hopefully get to Bodø next year Stein will have completed the whole coast, while Erling must get to Stavanger before ha can claim the same. So in this perspective Erling is the junior member of the team:-)

No way the wind could have moved Stein’s neoprene boots. That must have been the fox.

RSKE18 Y2D5: 24 July 2019: Ytre Pollen to Hammerfest, 39 km, 6.2 km/hr average speed. We weren’t quick on the water today either. Our bodies ordered more rest when the alarm went on at 0700.

The rain was drumming on the tents and the winds that had spread our (wet and heavy) clothes hung out to dry, had still not fully subsided .

We deicided to try again at 0900. The wind was gone by then, but the rains persisted. But now we needed to get a move on.

First task find the things the wind had moved. Nothing lost. But no way the wind could have moved Stein’s neoprene boots. That must have been the fox. Tactfully, Per and Erling have left Stein to wonder about why the fox would consider his boots as food without further comments or suggestions.

As we were ready to pack camp the captain of the 36 foot sailing boat anchored a few hundred meters away came over to visit. His name was Christoph, just like our friend and helped from last year on Silvertärnan.

This Christoph was a French doctor working for the moutain rescue in the alps. Soon he and Stein were discussing the details of Garmin InReach. Good thing about a trip like ours is that the people we meet have interesting stories to tell. Christoph and crew had hoped to go to Svalbard, but got delayed and now their goal was Nordkapp.

Again it was 1115 before we were on the water. First leg became a 28 km 4 3/4 hour crossing to get to the northern part of Kvaløya. It may sound boring, but we paddle through small flocks of seabirds and the occasional whale will come up to blow. And the conditions were superb. No reason to worry about rain when you are in a dry suit. We were on the alert for changes in weather. Poor cell phone coverage meant that we only had the forecast from yesterday.

Still, we would have stopped earlier if we had found a suitable place, but we couldn’t. Again we think twice before we commit to long crossings. If the weather deteriorates it might become very long and hard crossings indeed. In the end we took a short break at some slippery rocks with line of sight to the Equinor LNG plant on Melkøya.

Then on to Hammerfest where we arrived at 1900. There we checked in at Thon Hotel at the waterfront. As pointed out earlier we are here to enjoy, not to suffer.

We found an restaurant nearby and ate well on food from the Sea. This is also where Gerd joined us for a beer. Gerd lives in Tromsø and is a friend of Alf who runs the kayak shop in Tromsø and is a friend of Stein.

Stein has had a problem with his back hatch cover and that is not something you can replace easily. Stein found a makeshift solution. He also called Alf when the problem was discovered. Alf posted the problem on his FB page. Gerd was visiting family in Hammerfest and volunteered to bring the hatch here.

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Thanks a lot to both!! It is best to have your kayak absolutely ship shape in these waters. Makeshift solutions doesn’t cut it.

Tomorrow we aim for Per’s friends Asle and Mette in Komagfjord. We have been assured that the sauna will be ready by 2100. But that particular sauna is 51 km away. Forecast is good. Boats are ship shape. It’s down to the “motors”. Better get some sleep:-)

Current against and aching bodies didn’t allow for any speed records

RSKE18 Y2D4: 23 July 2019: Gjesvær to “Ytre Pollen”, 51 km, 6.1 km/hr average speed.

We stayed at the guesthouse of “Ola’s bird safari” for the night. Since we arrived after closing hours for the guesthouse the owners had to come down and help us out. No problem. Since the shop was also closed and the restaurant was closed on Mondays, we got to borrow Ola’s car to go to Honningsvåg to shop.

We had entrecôte for dinner. We are here to enjoy not to suffer!!:-)

We met and got into conversations with several other guests as well. Both in the evening and after an egg and bacon breakfast. Both interesting and enjoyable, but it takes time to enjoy and we were not on the water until 1115 in time to catch a little following current before the head current set in.

We planned for a 40 plus km paddle to Store Latøy. We paddled on and took just two quick stops the last one in Havøysund. There we met a local fisherman and two of his great grandchildren as they came down to look at the kayaks (and/or the smelly guys paddling them). Anyways he tipped us about a place about 10 km onward from Store Latøy called Pollen.

We took advice but postponed the decision, a bit long and a bit late. However when we got to Store Latøy we had perfect conditions and a 10 km crossing we could “bag”. Round here it’s smart to take advantage of good conditions while they last. So we slogged on. Current against and aching bodies didn’t allow for any speed records but we got to Ytre Pollen at 2100.

We found a good campsite and cooked a meal of double rations sausage and double ration mashed potatoes, onions, bacon, leeks and no saving on the butter. This was a clear improvement in the culinary standard Stein and Erling are used to. Thanks to Per’s ability to add a little extras to the camp meals.

Not only did Stein and Erling enjoy this, so did a fox that appeared out of nowhere as we rushed to set up the tents during an unexpected downpour.

Tents done we turned to see the fox run away and dropping a small plastic bag as he ran. That was our two remaining sausages…

We secured the rest of the food in the kayaks and went to sleep. A long day, close to midnight and light drizzle, no point in postponing a much needed rest. Tomorrow we plan to reach Hammerfest. W.P.

RSKE2018 Year 2 Day 3 – 22 July 2019 – (Y2D3)

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Y2D3 Monday 22 July. We left Helnes Fyr at 0810 and arrived at Gjesvær 1705. 41 km, 5.8 km/hr average speed.

We had a comfortable nights sleep at Helnes, but we were still a tad bit slow when the alarm went off at 0545. No pardon, weather and current forecast set us a target of 1330 at Knivskjellodden.

It ended up as one long stage, we sat continuously in the boat for a little more than five hours. It’s not like you can go ashore as and when you wish round here.

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Those five hours took us around Nordkapp and Knivskjellodden (which lies a little bit further north than Norkapp).

And then to the first (shell) sand beach we have landed on since before we crossed the Varangerfjord.

And the weather was almost as forecast, only better. Less wind, more sun and warmer than forecast. Might well have been the best day of summer round here. Our good “weather luck” has not left us.

We took a good long break at Tunes amongst the ruins of a fisher community once large enough to have its own graveyard. As boats grew larger they outgrew the beach landing at Tunes, and the settlement was abandoned.

On our short visit Per fired up the stove and produced cheese sandwiches.

Well rested and fed we set out on the last leg of today toward Gjesvær . We needn’t have worried about the wind…

Just as we paddled into Gjesvær harbor a small gust of the forecast wind shoved up, but now at 2300 it is dead calm again

Tomorrow we aim for Havøysund, before we go on to overnight at Store Latøya. WP.

RSKE18 Year 2 Day 2 – 21 July 2019 – (Y2D2)

From campsite near Kjøllefjorden to Helnes Fyr via Sværholt. Start 0900 arrive 1710. 45 km 6.5 km/hr average speed.

Weather was not as spectacular as yesterday, but it still was a good day for crossing fjords. Which is about all we did. First 23 km across Laksfjord to Sværholt, a short break and then 22 km across Porsangerfjord to Helnes Fyr.

We have to be mindful about both wind and currents, so just a short break at Sværholt. Today a small place with a few houses lagging on maintenance. The barn is open and has four beds, for people who get trapped here. Could easily happen for kayakers. During the war Sværholt was a massive fort with a 1000 man at peak. Protecting German convoys to Kirkenes. No way we of guessing that today. All gone by strong cooperation between man and nature .

Anyway we had a about three hour window to get across to Helnes, before the currents against became really hard. We used 3 hrs 35 minutes, and that delay was enough to give us an interesting ride around Helnes itself, as waves, wind and currents were working against each other.

Not entirely unexpected. Dag Norum warned us last year, and we keep his map with the red zones. Two adventurers like us have lost their lives on the stretch from Honningsvåg to Helnes in relatively recent years. Today was a max day and in Stein’s words we found it interesting, but not intimidating. Ad a few knots of current and wind and it would have been a bit of challenge.

Respect. Which is why we plan for an early start tomorrow, to get us past Nordkapp, and further to the true northernmost place on Magerøy: Knivskjellodden. Red on the map and special mention by Dag. The early start is so we can choose our timing at minimum current if we so wish.

The early start is also so we can hope to get to Gjesvær. Distance wise no issue at about 45 km, but the wind is forecast to pick up tomorrow evening so we might have to set up camp earlier. As always WP ( weather permitting).

RSKE18 Year 2 Day 1 – 20 July 2019 – (Y2D1)

Start 1415 from Mehamn. On shore 2045 near Kjøllefjord. 32,9 km average speed 5.8 km/hr. It’s 2315 on ashore on the northern side of the entry to Kjøllefjord. A long day and a short post.

Today Mehamn celebrated their 200 anniversary since the community was moved from Omgang further east to its present locality.

Omgang once was a major fishing community situated about two days paddle further east. But as boats got bigger and safer the harbor at Omgang became to small. The solution was to move the whole community people, boats cattle and houses.

At the rorbuer where we stayed enthusiasts was up long into the morning to prepare fishcakes for a free lunch today.

That suited us fine. It to so long to shop, and then stuff/pack the boats that we were around in time for the lunch.

Then it was time to leave. The always helpful crew on R/S Peter Henry von Voss again gave us a hand and helped us launch the boats. After they had treated us to one more cup of coffee for the trip. And we had taken the opportunity to thank them again for all their assistance last year when we had to evacuate from Sandfjorden.

Today’s paddle took us past Kinnarodden and past Sandfjorden. The weather was perfect. Sun, but no wind. We were alone at sea, except for birds, seals, porpoises and some bigger whales. In the quiet windless day we could hear the whales breathe from afar. At least until five water scooters made us company at Kinnarodden.

Good business for the local community though, as is snow scooter sataris during winter. And halibut fishing.

Tomorrow we plan to cross to Sværholt, then to Magerøy. Wether permitting (WP).

RSKE18 Year 2 Day 3

Y2D3 Monday 22 July. We left Helnes Fyr at 0810 and arrived at Gjesvær 1705. 41 km, 5.8 km/hr average speed.

We had a comfortable nights sleep at Helnes, but we were still a tad bit slow when the alarm went off at 0545. No pardon, weather and current forecast set us a target of 1330 at Knivskjellodden.

It ended up as one long stage, we sat continuously in the boat for a little more than five hours. It’s not like you can go ashore as and when you wish round here. Those five hours took us around Nordkapp and Knivskjellodden (which lies a little bit further north than Norkapp).

And then to the first (shell) sand beach we have landed on since before we crossed the Varangerfjord.

And the weather was almost as forecast, only better. Less wind, more sun and warmer than forecast. Might well have been the best day of summer round here. Our good “weather luck” has not left us.

We took a good long break at Tunes amongst the ruins of a fisher community once large enough to have its own graveyard. As boats grew larger they outgrew the beach landing at Tunes, and the settlement was abandoned.

On our short visit Per fired up the stove and produced cheese sandwiches.

Well rested and fed we set out on the last leg of today toward Gjesvær . We needn’t have worried about the wind…

Just as we paddled into Gjesvær harbor a small gust of the forecast wind shoved up, but now at 2300 it is dead calm again

Tomorrow we aim for Havøysund, before we go on to overnight at Store Latøya. WP.

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