Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Norway Post 30

Day 27

Excitement coursed through me. The forecast called for the wind to change from the north to the southeast. 

 I headed east into Sor - Salten and a brutal headwind. The fjord was part of a passage that would take me a little bit out of my way, but should be pretty.

Tight knit islands clustered the mouth of the fjord and made me feel like I paddled down a narrow river.  I passed under a bridge and felt a mild current with me.

Later, when I crossed over the bridge in a car, I saw an enormous current. I must have gone through at slack.

The wind beat into me all day on the narrow fjord. Since the forecast said the wind would come from the southeast, I tried the south side of the fjord, but it was really windy there. For a while it seemed like the curve of the fjord would shelter me a little from the wind on the north side, but it was really windy there too. In five hours I had paddled about seven and a half miles, about half my regular speed, but I wanted to move on to the day's next leg.

Sor-Salten was connected by a 50 foot canal to Nord-Salten, which was a fjord that would take me north. The canal, about 15 feet wide, channeled a phenomenal quantity of water.

I must have made seven or eight attempts to paddle up that channel. I began by sprinting up the eddy so as to hit the current running, but as soon as I did it shot me out like a cannon over it's bubbling churning outlet. I tried without the eddy but couldn't even get close.

While I rested from my herculean efforts a speed boat pulled up, roared its engines to maximum, and pushed through the canal. They waved to me as they pulled past with something like five times the speed that I can get at my fastest sprint in my narrowest kayak.

Concrete stairs rose up from the water at the edge of the canal's mouth. I could wait for the current to change which would probably be soon since it looked like the fjord was at high tide, or just portage along the walkway besides the canal.

What ever I decided, I'd go up the stairs and have a look around. I tied a rope to my kayak and threw the other end onto the stairs so that if the eddy pulled my kayak away once I was out I would have something to grab onto, and then climbed onto the stairs.

I failed to pull my kayak up the stairs. It was too heavy. Two scrawny blondes walked the path besides the canal. I asked them if they could bring me someone strong, and they were happy to go get their boyfriends. Compared to at least one of them, I was the scrawny.

The real men helped me get my kayak up the stairs without any trouble and we even carried it past the canal. They invited me to join them for their BBQ, and while it was entirely traif I was willing to cut my day short for the happy company. While we cooked and ate and chatted at the campsite the current calmed for a moment and then changed directions.

At seven thirty they got back in their speed boat and headed home. After a touch of indecision I got into my kayak and began my way up the fjord. I had a strong wind at my back and the current was spectacular. I paddled the full five mile length of the fjord in under an hour. Where things got narrow, on account of a bridge or a particular rock formation, the water fell downhill fast sucking me into whirlpools and pulling at me on the way out. I flew.

At the end of Nord - Salten behind a bunch of small island in the already narrow fjord I found a marina. A sign said "Call this number to shower ..." I found someone with a phone to call the number for me. I punched the code into the lock and got to shower.

That night I slept under the shower building's awning until the rain got too vertical. At three in the morning I moved into the shower room which was warm, clean, and dry.

The next morning the rain continued and the wind shook the trees. The second floor of the shower building was a kitchen living room type space with a light on that could be seen through the windows. The lock required a different code than the bathroom.

I asked some folk getting out of a motor boat at the marina. They didn't have the code, so they asked some older folk who they found walking by. The older folk asked their neighbors who had the code, for the boating clubhouse, and I got in to spend the rest of the that cold windy wet day in warmth and comfort.

The old folk also invited me to go into town with them and we went shopping and got coffee together. I don't drink coffee but I sat with them while they drank theirs. They offered to get me cake but I was still feeling a little sick from the cookies I gobbled down in the clubhouse. There was nothing wrong with them, except for the quantity. I love Norway. I love life.

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