Saturday 28 February 2009

Overnight trip south from Grimstad

I set out from a small harbour to the south of Grimstad, by the house where some of my colleagues are staying:The weather is still rather cold, with plenty of snow and ice around:I got some shelter from the wind by going through the harbour attached to this lighthouse:An interesting looking piece of protected water could be seen but it was hard to find a way through:No effort is spared to make paddlers from the UK feel at home. Most of the coast is very pleasant indeed but there are places to go if you are missing the North Wales coast:I turned back to that interesting bit of protected water and tried to find somewhere to camp:Sadly, the mainland was either waterlogged, rocky, covered in deep snow or a mess of low branches. I found a better site on the other side of the channel, on a tiny island:Carrying the laden boat up to the top was a bit of a struggle but I managed it:This was the first outing for my hooped Goretex bivi in a long while:

Grimstad GPS tracks

I need some space on my GPS and I don't have my usual MemoryMap software installed on the laptop that I have with me in Norway.

The GPS data downloaded OK via a serial cable from my Garmin Foretrex201 that is plugged into a USB Bay 3U1S1P serial to USB converter. I used the freeware GPSBabel ( to download the data and save it in the "Universal CSV" format.

I uploaded the CSV into the free online GPS Visualizer tool ( to convert it to the Google Earth .kmz format. This displayed fine in Google Earth once I had downloaded and installed it from

The result is a display of how much ground I have covered by running or kayaking during the weeks that I have been in Grimstad:

Thursday 26 February 2009

Evening paddle

Espen and I set out from Holvika to see whether the Hesnes canal was free of ice:
We got through the remaining ice before it got dark but our return was after nightfall:Just finding the canal again was a challenge:

Sunday 22 February 2009

Islands, channels and a frozen canal

My second paddle in Norway involved a bit more distance and a lot more sunshine than the first. Espen and I launched from the same spot in Holvika:We turned right and paddled into the sun towards Lillesand:Espen was dressed for the conditions:We went as far as the "Blind channel" of Bufjorden. Apparently, this channel is so easy to navigate that it can be done blind: We turned into the Reddal canal that leads to the inland lakes of Landvikvannet and Reddalsvannet:
The canal was frozen after only a few hundred metres, so it will have to wait for next time:Even the melting snow was freezing again into icicles:The paddle back took us through lots of small channels between the islands:Many of the islands have small holiday homes on them. Some have lighthouses and the (now disused) dwellings for the lighthouse keepers:Night was starting to fall as we finished our paddle:

Thursday 19 February 2009

First paddle in Norway

It was cold. It was dark. I was using a borrowed boat and blades. I was paddling with someone that I had never met before. I didn't care; it felt great to be back in a boat for my first paddle of the year. The last two months may have been my longest time without getting in a boat in the last twenty years!

Embarrassingly, I managed to snap the borrowed paddles after about fifteen minutes. The shaft sheared through on the first hard paddle stroke and left me paddling C1-style for the rest of the evening. As a result, we only covered about 9km or so but it was a very pleasant little trip.

The coastline near Grimstad is a maze of channels between islands of a wide range of sizes:
We set off from Holvika; you can see the two jetties to the south of Groos on the bottom left of the map. I was paddling with Espen from Black Hawk ( :

There was still a bit of daylight left as we paddled off but it soon got dark:I plan to join Grimstad PadleKlubb ( on Sunday. My thanks go to Espen for the company and the loan of the kit.