Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Norway Post 13

Two nails protruded from the side of a boat house on the main dock. I tied a line between them and hung my kayaking outfit to dry: I wear a neoprene farmer Jon, cap, skirt, dry top, and booties to stay warm. The water temperature is in the lower 50's.

Boathouses lined the placid water of the bay, all locked. A man walked by and asked me if I was going to sleep in the boathouse I hung my things on.

"I can't.  It's locked. Is it yours?"

"No, but I'll call a guy who can let you in." He made a phone call and a few moments later a car pulled up and a smiling plump bald man let me into the boathouse. The floor was buried under a foot of refuse. Old cardboard boxes, broken glass, and all sorts of garbage made it impossible to enter without climbing a dump. There was some chuckling from the few men who were now gathered to welcome me into their town.

"Kids used to throw their garbage in here at night, before we started locking it," he told me, "but there's a clear space in the back."

I put on shoes and went to check it out. The space was clear, but dirty. Pieces of a torn up mattress littered the corner.  It was more or less the right shape of floor to sleep on.

"Thank you for the offer," I told the men waiting for my response. "I haven't made up my mind yet. I might prefer to sleep under the stars after all."

I found an abandoned boathouse that was empty. The lock on the door would have kept me out if the whole in the wall hadn't let me in. I slept dry in the rain and woke only slightly dusty in the morning.

After breakfast I walked up the hill to use the market's bathroom and ran into the man who let me into the rubbish filled boathouse "So did you sleep inside or out?"

"Inside, thank you for everything."

Day 10

After passing under Northern Europe's largest stone bridge I followed a chain of islands east through a narrow fjord shaped by two larger islands with low hills. I stuck to the southern side of the smaller in between islands to shelter from the strong north wind. Whenever I crossed from one island to the next, I edged strongly into the wind to compensate for the weather cocking. The crossings were short, though on account of my skirt being a little bit too big, whenever I edge cold water seeps into my boat.

The plan was to pull up to a boat house on the northern end of Alesund and then walk to the hostel that I had my new skeg shipped to.

I passed what looked like a mining operation, an a factory or two, but no boathouses. They're everywhere a village or single cottage is lining the water, except for the north side of Alesund.

I pulled into the main harbor in the center of town and asked a sailor working on his boat if he thought my kayak was safe overnight on the dock. He kindly offered to let me keep my kayak on his deck. Then thought I might also want to talk to the kayak rental place five minutes away.

Jonathan at kayak tomorrow was happy to let me store my boat in his shop. He had everything set up to get the salt of my gear and hang it to dry. 

 From there I got a Norwegian simcard for my phone for about $55.  The phone still didn't work, but the woman in the store told me to just be patient.

I went to two different post offices to pick up two packages sent to the same address. In one package was my skeg and the other my skeg chord. Jonathan was happy to help me install them.

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