Fjord to Sea Field Trip
Byglandsfjord to Kristiansand: 03/05 – 06/05
Our 2 day-canoeing trip started in Bygland – 13 people, 6 canoes and 1 kayak. We packed all our gear in dry bags, ourselves in long underwear, wetsuits, paddling jackets and PFDs and off we go in a canoe for two.
First we tried out to manoeuvre a canoe. I shared a boat with Ida and because she already had some experience I was the first sitting in the back to have time to learn how to steer a canoe. Not as easy as it may look like in the beginning. Only a slight little twist of the blade can make the canoe move in zig zags. The most important tip I got this day was to after a stroke leave the paddle in the water for longer and by opening or closing the blade – using it as a rudder – you can change direction very easily. So after some time and tries I got a better feeling and did not have to change sides or break when steering. We divided our trip in small sections. Ida and me were the leaders at the beginning. So before we all hopped in the boats we got everyone in a circle and showed them our route planning on a map. We decided to have one leading boat in the front and one boat in the back, so we can be in the middle and have a good overview over the whole group. It worked out perfectly so when we swopped the leaders the next group hold by the formation of a front and a back boat.
After approx.. 13km and 2h of canoeing along Byglandsfjord, having a lunch break, enjoying the sun, people trying to build a sail for a sailing boat and not having to paddle as much anymore … we reached Storøyi – our island for the night. In groups of three we set up our tents and/or shelters (our group decided for a tent because the weather forecast was predicting heavy rain starting in the night.
Two people were chosen to set up a toilet/dig a hole somewhere for everyone (to not just use the whole area as a toilet. The entrance was marked with two paddles 20m before the a little bit hidden toilet spot (with a view!) – crossed paddles mean the toilet is currently not free. We all met up together on a rock on the south of the island to cook dinner and have a bonfire. Enjoying the warmth of the bonfire, the chatters, the nature and the long summer nights – we did not realise how late it already got (the advantage of being far up north and having light nights).
In the morning we woke up from the heavy rain on our tent – and the rain did not stop until the next day. Getting dressed, cooking porridge for breakfast and packing in the tent. On top of the clothing layers the day before we wore rain jacket and trousers. 2.5h paddling in the rain, with a short and freezing snack/pee break, good and happy singing mood in the beginning turning into frustrated, shivering and wet bodies in the end we reached our goal the Byglandsfjord Dammen. From here we carried the canoes out of the water and uploaded them onto a trailer. We spent the night at TrollAktiv where we got the chance to dry and warm us up again. I could feel how the cold exhausted my whole body and how much energy I used to stay warm while canoeing in the rain.
The next day was originally planned to take the bikes and ride 20km to a climbing spot nearby where we would have spent the day with climbing and learning how to abseil. But because the weather forecast did not look too promising we had a group meeting the evening before to discuss our options:
- Option 1: Ride to the spot and have a look at the rocks and try to climb.
- Option 2: Skip/postpone climbing and ride the bikes straight back to Kristiansand
Me and some other group members, which had already some experience with climbing were pretty sure that the rocks will simply be to wet and it would not even be worth trying it. Even though if it would stop raining during the night, the rocks would not be dry the next day. So we decided pretty fast that climbing is not an option. Only problem with our second option was that that would mean we needed to ride 85km on one day with the possibility of rain. Still our decision was option 2. Because everyone (except me) ride about the same amount of kilometres a day on their 3-days bike trip – we knew that it is manageable.
The biking route back home from ByglandsFJORD TO the north SEA was beautiful. Always the Otra on our right side we passed little lakes, forests and a yummy bakery. We decided to ride all together and not split up the group.
But because one member of our group has knee problems we could only drive slowly – so it was sometimes hard to keep the group together and not something for everyone but we managed and stayed together. Luckily it did not rain except a few drops the last 25km but the sun was hiding behind the grey clouds throughout the whole day and it got pretty windy and cold in between. Our lunch break lasted for less than 15mins because everyone got too cold without moving. But not having short snack breaks in between is pretty exhausting and by the end our butts were quite painful. At the garage one member from our group (who went back home by bus the same morning because of knee problems) was waiting with hot chocolate, champion music and a welcome sign – too cute!
The moods in our group throughout the 3 days were a rollercoaster. Starting with sun and smiles in our faces, enjoying life and paddling on a Fjord in Norway, reaching a lonely island, having a bonfire and sleeping outside. But we all knew that the weather was not supposed to be the best – we still started the second day with smiles in our face still full with euphoria from the first canoeing day. But you could literally see how the mood went down with each kilometre. Some managed to keep happy and warm by paddling but others f.ex. my canoeing boat buddy on the second day got pretty cold in the end and could not move her fingers anymore and therefore just stopped paddling. Thomas and me were trying to cheer her up and tell her that her hands wont get any warmer by just stop paddling but it was hard work to talk her over her frustration. Due to that it was even more work for me to get the canoe moving and steering but I managed and did not get infected by the bad mood. Instead me and some others were trying to cheer the others up and kept singing.
Arriving in TrollAktiv was exhausting and a chaos at the beginning with organising wet stuff and showers but as soon as everyone was back in dry clothes and could sit inside and watch the rain everybody was fine and in a good mood again. So we had a pretty chill and nice calm afternoon and evening together singing, chatting, playing boardgames and reading. Regarding the next day not everyone was looking forward to bike again for 85km, so everybody started the day with different expectations and feelings. But we managed as a group to stay together, keep everybody warm and enjoy the bike ride as much as possible.
When we arrived in Kvadraturen (city centre of Kristiansand) we realised that one person – the one with knee pain – fall back so one of us went back and found her 500meters further back. They let us know that she decided on having a short break because of too much pain. We – the rest of the Group – decided to wait as long as she needed a break (a little bit confused because there was literally less then 1km left) but because we all wanted to arrive together at the garage we gave her the time. For the last kilometre we let her leading the group so we could adapt to her pace and we would not lose her again.