Friday, July 17, 2015

Norway Post 19

In the afternoon I asked the ferryman if he knew where I might find a wi-fi connection and before I knew it I was showering in the ferries spacious underbelly. After my shower, towel provided of course, I had PB&J sandwich from the kitchen while reclining in a deeply comfortable chair and talking with my new friends the ferry crew.

The ship moved back and forth across the fjord while I sheltered in style in its underbelly. The ship's engineer was there in case something went wrong. If that happened he wouldn't know what to do. The guy who directed traffic on top had better English and asked me about America. He periodically disappeared to direct traffic.

We watched a program on television that showed a boat traveling up the coast of Norway. The boat's famous and when people know it's coming they go out and wave Norwegian flags, so that they'll be on TV.

The scenery on the program was fantastic, almost as nice as what I could have seen from up on deck, but I was quite content in my warm soft chair.

Day 16

I turned from a narrow fjord into a more winding one. I passed a town that might have been my last supermarket for a while so I stopped to go shopping.

I think there's something about Norwegian culture that makes it especially impolite to mind someone else's business, ask about their kayak, introduce yourself, offer a stranger a shower without him directly asking for one, or commenting on him wearing a wet suit in a supermarket.

When I introduce myself to Norwegians I find they're overwhelmingly polite, but trying to subtly get them to offer something without directly asking for it, is usually futile.

Another kayaker in a kayak nicer than mine (a Nordkapp) was paddling with a beautiful homemade Canadian inuit paddle southbound. He had started in Bodo, my most likely take out, in May and was heading to Bergen. So far had lost 15 days to bad weather and expressed the supreme frustration that I knew all too well. My frequent tailwinds had been his headwinds.

He used to have a dry suit, but he discarded it with his spare paddle and lots of other unnecessary gear a few weeks back. He never capsized and paddled in a long sleeve wool shirt under a poorly fit life jacket. His deck was covered with more clothing that he had stripped off throughout the first wonderfully sunny day in ages.

We talked joyfully, since we were both the only fellow long distance paddlers we had met. He told me of what I could expect ahead and I him. Eventually we parted, since we both still had a long ways to go.

I try to paddle between seven and eight hours a day, though sometimes it's closer to six. I added an hour onto the end of my day to make up for time lost shopping. I stopped to change chia drink nalgenes at a dock. A man was working on the dock and was excited to see me. He had talked to me at the ferry.

I didn't remember him. I'm terrible with faces. Was he the engineer who let me shower and was full of kindness? Or was he one of the random people in cars waiting to get onto the ferry that I asked for wire hangers to rescue my knife. I didn't know.

I turned around one last narrow corner into a fjord that was nearly closed at both ends making for a very peaceful body of water. At the far end of it, in Aure was a sea wall protecting a dock. On that dock there was an unlocked sailboat that was my home for one rainy Shabbat.

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