Thinking of joining us next year in Norway? Lee gives us the inside info on his 2018 Full On Fjord expedition!
"Get the food in first…more food , less pants!"
It is always exciting waiting for an expedition to begin, thoughts race through your mind about the challenge to come, the people you will meet and the adventures that await you. As I flew into Bergen airport I looked out of the plane window and was transfixed by the myriad of islands along the coast…I do love paddling round things!
Over the next couple of days the team assembled. Just Richie, Erin and me; immediately we all hit it off, the banter was good Richie was a great guy and forgave me for calling him Ricky for the first two days! We parked up at the set off point and the van doors opened and kit exploded all over the shore. Everybody is quiet as they pack their boats….deciding what was essential and what was not. Richie and I had a conversation about what was an acceptable number of pairs of pants to take on a 10 day trip. I am not going to tell you what we agreed on….but it was less than 10!
Richie had done very little sea kayaking before but these adventures always draw in like-minded people so we all pitch in and teach him the tricks of the trade when packing a sea kayak….get the food in first…more food , less pants!
Time to go…we paddled off into the afternoon sunshine and headed for the island archipelago at the mouth of Songefjord. What followed was an epic trip. This type of adventure forms such powerful memories. Our everyday lives are crammed with work and technological connectivity 24/7, but when you paddle away from the shore on that first day you have just 2 things to focus on. Your kit, and the people you are with, I find that mentally very therapeutic…and I miss it when a trip is over and normal life resumes.
How can I describe a 10 day expedition along the stunning changing landscape of Norway’s longest fjord? I will try to give you a flavour.
Wild camping on remote islands and beaches, stunning scenery, the power of nature is so evident. The glacial scars on rocks formed as the fjords were gouged out of the mountains, Sea eagles soaring overhead, dolphins and porpoises cruising past. The physical challenge of distance paddling and the full range of weather and sea conditions. Decision making on team safety give you a buzz..this is real, not a computer game! Laughing in the pouring rain as we share sweets on the water while sheltering from stormy seas
Taking time to explore beautiful little hidden fjords branching off the main channel catching fish to cook on the beach, collecting mussels for that evening meal on a beach you will never forget. Wild swimming, Erin’s irrational fear of seaweed and the seaweed monsters, playing games. Guess the height of the mountain was one of Erin’s favourite games. She had the map and Richie and I were the contestants. I have to say I was woeful at this game.
Long lazy lunches lying on warm rocks. Just as much fun as the paddling was the evening camping. Campfire wood collection was a doddle ...bone dry wood is on every beach. Cooking together as we retell the stories of the day….who caught the most fish…again….not me! Laughing as we make a driftwood model boat and see how long it will survive in the open channel. Shared experiences and new friendships. The final destination 250km paddled , goal achieved….the greatest sense of accomplishment.
I cannot do the trip justice buy just clumsily writing about it....I want another adventure!