After sleeping in one of the marina’s small gasoline stinky motorboats I set out slow, tired and feeling like I was ready to end my trip. In Kristiansund, my destination for the day, I could take the Hutigruten back to Alesund and from there paddle to Flo to return the kayak. After all, I had already paddled Hjørundfjord and Geirangerfjorden, likely the two prettiest fjords on the entire route. I missed my friends back in NYC. I wouldn’t decide until the end of the day after I’d arrived in Kristiansund, for the time being I’d just have to keep my eye on the immediate task.
I paddled between islands until arriving at the Attlanterhavsveien, a narrow road that curves and weaves along an island chain across the mouth of Kvernesfjord. I passed under a bridge into a brief but heavy current so as to paddle on the more sheltered fjord side of the islands.
The island hopping road is a popular tourist destination and people from near and far strolled along the boardwalks on either side. A little girl with her family waved to me from a small motorized rowboat.
When I passed back under the road farther to the east I had a pleasant if brief ride now that the current was at my back. From there I headed through more thickly clustered islands and skerries. Some of the passages I took were well marked on my map and others not at all.
After taking a passage through a village of thickly clustered homes, many with their own docks and boats, I found a very narrow passage to a larger fjord. The water poured out of the fjord dropping several inches as quickly as gravity could pull it. The fjord with the extremely narrow mouth was out of my way, but because the tide race was so strong, and the hills around me so green, it seemed like a likely place to find Slartibartfast’s plaque. I sprinted uphill. With great vim and great vigor I was soon at the top of the current and looking into the fjord from a level height. I didn’t see any plaques.
I turned around and went back down. “Wheeeeee.”
I passes through a wider channel crowded by giant industrial building, trucks, and parking lots on either side. Tankers and work ships lined the shore.
I was tired and the question of whether or not this was my last day bounced around my head.
After another island chain, a moderate crossing, and not getting run over by the Hurtigruten, I arrived in Kristiansund. The city is spread across three islands and after several inquiries I got directions to the tourist marina where my boat would be safer were I to walk away from it.
I wanted a shower and a bed. I’d be able to decide about ending my trip much better with a shower and a bed. According to the internet I’d find a hostel at the top of the hill. I walked for half an hour and found a motel that wanted $100 a night.
I walked back to the marina. I took a cold shower. I could have inserted coins into the slot to make it warm, but I didn’t have any coins and I didn’t want to spend money. It was nice to feel clean again.
I made friends with an american family on a large aluminum hulled sailing boat. The parents were former adventure school administrators now sailing from the Antarctic to the Arctic and elsewhere with their kids for four years. The kids were being home schooled and I suspect learning quite a bit more than my students do. I talked to them about how I might end my trip. I had lots of good reasons, especially that I was sick of wearing the same stinky neoprene every day. But with an ear for my whining and the break from my loneliness that they offered, I was no longer so desperate to go home.
A German father and son in the boat next door invited me to sleep over on the couch in their saloon. With a bed and a shower of sorts, the next morning I was ready to continue my quest.