Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Upcoming talks

If you'd like to hear the story about paddling around the Faroe Islands, there'll be at least three chances for that in 2009. The planned talks on the Faroe Islands Circumnavigation are as follows:
  • 17. February: Brdr. Vestergaard, Thisted
  • 20. February: Danish Kayak and Canoe Association, hosted by Sorø Canoe and Kayak Club. [invitation, signup] (Cancelled)
  • 31. March: Danish Kayak and Canoe Association, in Skive Århus, Denmark. [invitation, signup]

Update, 2009-01-14: Invitation and signup for 20. february is now online!
Update, 2009-02-17: Invitation and signup for 31. march is now online!
Update, 2009-02-19: 20. february talk in Sorø cancelled. New date/venue will be announced.
Update, 2009-03-19: Talk in Skive moved to Århus. Check new announcements from Dansk Kano og Kajak Forbund.

See you out there!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just a quick note

Monday evening, 31 guests attended the talk at Crandals Galleri. Thanks for listening, it was a joy to tell the story. Some of you had a taste of the Logan bread that we ate during the trip - there's a lot of recipes out there, if you want to bake some yourself. Experiment and see what you like best - but be gentle on your teeth!

Tuesday evening's talk at Brødrene Vestergaard (18. november 2008) has been postponed! We'll keep you updated here (and i'm sure that Brødrene Vestergaard will put up advertisements) for the talk we're going to do there, when a new date has been decided.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Telling about the past, living for tomorrow

On november 1st, we had the opportunity to tell about the trip to 25 danish sea kayak instructors, who were gathered in Hanstholm for a weekend seminar on the subject of surf and waves. Jesper gave two more presentations, to a group of local scouts in Hanstholm, and to the people in his hometown, Ræhr, just south of Hanstholm. We have received good response from the talks given so far, which motivates us to keep going, and tell the story about a fantastic kayaking trip!

Two more talks are coming up in the near future, and more are in the pipeline. One is at Crandals Gallery in Langholt, 17. november 2008. On tuesday 18. november, we'll be at Brødrene Vestergaard's shop in Thisted. Feel free to contact us if you want to host a talk, or if you plan to visit one of the talks - there may be an available seat still!

Telling about the past isn't all we're doing, though. Whenever possible, we're enjoying the kayak surf action on the danish west coast. Fall has arrived, bringing better and more consistent surf conditions. The water is getting chilly to the point where it's similar to the Faroe Islands (8-10 degress C), so it is nice to stay warm in the drysuits. Getting some time on the water and having fun, that's what it's all about, afterall!

Monday, September 29, 2008

First talk, and surf seminar

It seems like a week ago already, after two intense days of surf kayaking on the west coast, but friday evening we gave the first talk about the Faroe Islands circumnavigation. PureKayaking hosted a seminar for their customers and instructors, and we were invited to tell about our trip.

I think we made it in about two-and-a-half hours, which was somewhat longer than expected - but responses were good, and you guys seemed to have a good time. Thanks for listening and asking questions. I hope that this has sparked your interest in going on longer kayaking trips. It was a joy to visit you!

Friday night we drove the long way to Klitmøller, and spent the rest of the weekend on a national kayak surf seminar. What a rush to see 30 kayakers in the waves (saturday was pretty crowded, with maybe 30 windsurfers, 30 kites and 50 paddle surfers as well - sunday was less crowded and conditions were better than saturday).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Talks in preparation

During the next months, we'll be giving talks to our sponsors, and if we can get it coordinated, to the danish sea kayaking scene in general. Notes are being prepared, photos selected and edited, and all in all, it is a nice way of going over all the experiences from the Faroe Islands once again, letting them sink in! We're looking forward to seeing our sponsors (and their customers), friends and other kayakers, and tell a good story about a great trip!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

TV spot 17. august

After arriving in Aalborg, we were interviewed by TV/Midt-Vest. We had a good talk about the trip, both on and off the water. This time, the wireless microphones survived the short session on the water.

The interview should be broadcast in the evening news 17. august, 19:30 local time. After the broadcast, it will be available on TV/Midt-Vest's website.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Heading home

This week has been hectic, we've seen a lot of the places we wanted to go. We've got into a good habit of doing something unplanned and unexpected each day, and the unexpected events were the most exciting.

After the kayak trip in the harbour this monday, we were offered to participate in a helicopter rescue practice with the rescue service. Of course, we immediately decided to give it a go! Being on the "victim" side of the pratice gave us a good insight in how a helicopter rescue from water goes, and talking to the crew afterwards answered a lot of questions. Thanks for letting us join, it was really a great afternoon!

We had a chance to visit Bjartur in Vestmanna, Morten in Kvivik and Mogens in Hvalvik, and hiked to the top of Slættaratindur, the highest mountain (882 m) with Paul and John, two guys from the Czech Republic. Afterwards, we visited Gjogv again, and had waffles in the cafe. All in all, some great days with socialising, good food and some good hikes in the countryside.

Thursday the weather was calm, and we were up for an early start (4.30 AM) on a kayak trip around Nolsoy. We started out in calm water, and our wake-up call came when we rounded the northern tip of the island. Big reflecting waves for around 2 km required some attention - but it was manageable with a good margin, and we continued to the southern end of the island, spotted some impressive caves, and rockhopped ashore for a 3 hour break, waiting for the current to carry us north towards Torshavn again. The last part of the trip, 10 km crossing back to Torshavn, was a bit longer than expected, in some places the current was still southbound. We made it with half an hour more of paddling than planned, and got a taste of the rather complex currents in the fjord between Torshavn and Nolsoy.

The afternoon was spent on the water with a group of the Faroese kayakers. All rudders were flipped out of the water, and we practiced edging and rudder strokes - you guys rock! Keep practicing, we hope to meet you on the water in the future!

Our stay on the Faroes is now near the end -- we're heading home today, and are now counting the hours until departure. I'm looking forward to coming home (and i know that Jesper is as well), but still I'm feeling a bit sad to leave this beautiful place. The atmosphere, people and nature here is addictive, and I'm sure that I will have to go here again sometime in the future.

Thanks to everyone we have visited and talked to, and to the folks in Denmark who helped us during the last three weeks - you've been a very important part of this great adventure!

Monday, August 11, 2008

This week's plan

A short update - Jesper is out on a short paddle with one of the helicoptor pilots from the Faroe Islands rescue service. He took photos of us from the air, shortly before we finished in Thorshavn, ve're looking forward to see what we look like, seen from a 30 m above with wind and water spraying in our faces!

We're now ready to see some of the Faroe Islands from the land side - we've rented a small car (which has already been converted to gear-hauling vehicle). Today, we're going to Vestmanna for a two-day hike. We'll get a chance to visit friends and family, and by the end of this week we're planning a day in the kayaks, before everything is packed for shipping on friday.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What have we learned?

After finishing the trip yesterday afternoon, we're slowly getting back to normal life. Today we teamed up with Johan and Thomas, two kayakers from Torshavn, and had a nice three-hour paddle from Kvivik in Vestmannasund. We explored two quite large caves, and wrapped the trip up with a good rolling session in the chilly, salty water. Thanks for letting us join, guys!


We have spent quite many hours talking and thinking about what made the circumnavigation possible. It has been a long and challenging paddle, both mentally and physically, so now is a good time to try and wrap up the experiences.

The trip started as an idea between the two of us in august 2007, on a weekend kayaking trip. We both started thinking about whether it would be possible, and what it would take to be ready for the challenge. During the fall, we talked further about the idea, and around christmas-time we decided that we would give it a try. After aligning our expectations for the adventure, we made a lot of detailed planning during the winter. We quickly realized that we needed all the experience we could get on paddling big seas, so we trained in the surf on the danish west coast throughout the winter.

The training in surf, and many discussions on equipment and how to manage the logistics of the trip, mentally prepared us for the challenge. Around two months before departure, we started getting all the details right - maps, equipment, food, transportation, sponsors and local contacts.
As we set out from Torshavn last sunday, we were excited about what was to come, but felt ready to meet the challenge. Looking back, we've learned a lot, during the 420 km of paddling the Atlantic sea. The change from the friendly danish sand beaches, to vertical, non-accessible rock shore with no or few landing spots, demands long, committed and well-planned day trips. Accepting that we were 100% committed to reach the goal we had set for the day, has been the most important development for us as kayakers.





Good teamwork, trust and honestness, both when we're afloat and on land has been a key to success. Often, we had to take quick decisions on for example route planning or landing strategies. In these situations, it was important to discuss our opinions and feelings about the situation without fear of being misunderstood or frowned upon.



We sometimes paddled on a tight schedule, with only little time for sleep and restitution. Here, the hours spent in the surf on the danish west coast paid off, allowing us to paddle with confidence in the conditions that we met. Many years of outdoor living gave us the most benefit from the time spent on land.



Getting in touch with local people has been an important part of both planning the daily route, and experiencing the Faroe Islands. As one of the first things after landing, we often tracked down local fishermen or sailors, and asked for highly valuable local information on tide currents, landings, weather and choice of routes. This was important information to extend the basic maps and tide charts (Almanakki) that we had.





We have been met with genuine hospitality and friendlyness everywhere we landed, and we feel that we've got a small insight in the life of a people who've learned to live life in the middle of the atlantic ocean, with the mentality of doing things "all-in", or not doing them at all.

When all this is said, don't forget to keep smiling, laugh and have fun along the way.



That's how we learned to paddle the Sea of Flames.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Victory! We're back in Torshavn!

Just a short update - this morning we left Sandvik, as the fog and rain cleared. We had a loong paddle to the top of Sandoy (basically, a 35 km crossing with two possible exits mid-way) in really calm weather. Most of the time, the sea was flat as a mirror, and we chatted and had moments of our own during the four hours - both committed to the same goal, and thinking about what was to be next.

As we rounded the nort-east corner of Sandoy, we discussed options, got an updated weather forecast and decided to go all the way for Torshavn today. The forecast was easterly winds picking up tonight, which wasn't in our favour for the last part of the trip. We had a bite of bread, some trail mix, and water - and called a few people to let them know of the plan. A newspaper journalist would interview us, and we had a chat with the Faroe Islands helicopter rescue service. One of their pilots (also a sea kayaker) wrote a mail that he'd photograph us from the helicopter if he could find us - so we gave him directions for where we were going, and hoped for the best.

Around 45 minutes later, a helicopter started circling the area, and after flying 4 km north of us, it made another pass and spotted us -- we were all smiles as the helicopter was hovering 50 meters above us, with the photographer hanging out of the door.

The rest of the paddle was spent with talking, and digesting the fact that we were getting close to the goal. It was important for us not to loose our heads in all the joy, because the last few kilometers was with heavy ship traffic - but also, it was magnificent to see Torshavn appear in the distance, and think about the adventure that had been completed.

After a succesfull landing, we're now getting ready to sort out all the gear, have a shower, and make a plan for the next week's activities (which will certainly include some paddling!). More blog updates (including photos) are also awaiting.

Thanks to the wifes at home for letting us get out and play - to all the kind people we've met during our trip, who provided help, shelter, food, guidance and encouragement. Without you, we wouldn't have made it!

Sandvik

Short status from the team Thursday: We've had an relaxing day, with the first shower and shave in 10 days. Put on the smelly paddling shirt and had a good trip to Sandvik. Arrived in darkness and are now looking forward to spending the night in a nice dry boat house on the harbor. Position 61.37n,6.55w. The current is now less strong, which is both good and bad - we go slower, but the sea is more calm.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vagur

Short status from the team Wednesday: We left Stora Dimun this afternoon and had a good 48 km trip around the south tip of Suduroy (in direction from east to west). We passed a slack but still there was lots of movement in the water there, so we are happy that we got the timing right. We're now in Vagur at the west side of Suduroy, position 61.27n,6.50w. Morale excellent, bodies need some rest !

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

News from Stora Dimun

We had a chance to use Eva and Jógvan's internet connection from Stora Dimun (big thanks!) to upload new photos - check the photo album.




Since we left Fugloy, we have been paddling some "bigger seas", and we're becoming mentally accustomed to that now, after a few days. Of course, it demands attention to keep the course, but as the swell isn't breaking, the kayaks are just lifted up and down. Sometimes, we can't see each other even though we paddle quite close - so it requires some attention - but all the hours spent in the surf on the danish west coast really pays off, allowing us to relax and paddle quite efficiently.


We have eaten approximately half-way through the food we brought with us, and we're getting to the point where we really enjoy whenever we can get something different - a slice of bread, potatoes, fresh-brewed coffee - when you don't get it every day, you learn to appreciate it!

Stora Dimun

Short status from the team Tuesday: We're on Stora Dimun now. Arrived at 16:20 after an easy 22 km paddle. Much time spent talking with nice people, and we felt the rush of history as tales of previous kayak expeditions were told. Look at www.storadimun.fo for more info. The GPS is in the kayak, a 10 minute climb below our camp, so no accurate position today.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Skalavik

short status from the team Monday: Reached Skalavik after 5 hours on the water. A great landing awaited in a very protected harbour, and we're now celebrating with the trip's first beer. Position 61.49n, 6.39w. The crossing of Skopen Fjord from Nolsoy went well, loads of current again today (logged 16km/h). Weather is good, light north easterly winds and sun.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rituvik

Short status from the team Sunday: Today we arrived in Rituvik just before the tide shifted, perfect timing ! Position: 62.06n, 6.40w. Paddled big seas and fast currents all the way from Fugloy and made 41 km, our new speed record is 18.3 km/h. All OK, but tired after a long day.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Highlights from the trip

We're having two rest days on Fugloy, due to strong eastern winds. This is a good occasion to get some rest, wash clothes and talk to the locals. We've had a chance to look through the photos taken so far, and have collected some of the moments in an album (find it on the right hand side of this blog's main page).





Highlights from the trip so far:


Getting all our gear, from Smyril Line Cargo, personally by John Frandsen - big thanks for the help. Got ourselves installed in the Scout hut in Torshavn, and sorted through all the equipment, and then choosing to paddle west instead of east, five minutes after writing here that we'd wait for better weather before paddling at all.

Sunday evening, we found the only 100m sand beach on Koltur and made a safe landing in dense fog. Monday, we were greeted on Tindholmur by men and kids, having Olaifest away from the crowds in Torshavn. They invited us on a delicious meal of osso buco, and some Faroese specialities (dried fish, skærpekød and grinde whale blubber).

Tuesday morning, a very early start after 2 hours sleep, we paddled through the Holmgjogv canyon and headed eastwards again - later that day, the fog lifted and we got to see some of the Faroe Islands for real! The sun heated up the air, and very strong wind gusts funneled down on us from land while paddling - sometimes up to 20-25m/s.

Wednesday, we had a short paddle to Gjogv, and found the landing to be unexpectedly easy - and the camp we had there was with the most breathtaking view so far.

Thursday was the first day with really hard winds, and good planning allowed us to catch two following tides and go further than we hoped for -- we made it to Fugloy and were greeted there with great hospitality. Thanks to Elias for installing us in the community house in Kirkja, and for providing internet access!


We appreciate your comments and feedback on the blog - feel free to write in any language!

Fugloy

Short status Thursday: An early start at 4 am made it possible to follow two east-going tides, and we're now on Fugloy after a very intense day. We were greeted by the locals and are looking forward to a stay indoors, with a view to the large tide race between here and Svinoy !

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gjogv

Short status wednesday: The team had a day of rest and finished with an easy 15 km paddle with the tide to Gjogv. Jesper's grand uncle, Mogens, brought fresh baked bread - thanks Anna !
Position: 62.19n, 6.56w. The morale is good after 12 hours of sleep following the 3 last fast-paced days. Living with the tide rythm can be though on sleep !

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tjørnuvik

short status: the team is now in Tjørnuvik (62.17n/7.08w) after a 54 km paddle with one landing for lunch. Saw seals, paddled tide races and explored caves. All OK !

Mykines

We arrived on mykines today, in an exciting way, have been paddeling in fog all day so we havent seen much of Faroe Islands, just grey grey and some black, something expected to be the shoreline :-)

When we arrived to Mykines habour we couldn´t see 30 m ahead and didn´t know how the habour looks like and we could hear big waves breaking onto a reef just out side the habour so we limped in until we could see the surf an didn´t know what to expect on the otherside more rocks or ???

Tue snook in and after a while he could see shipmasts an we went trough an we saw the concret wall of the habour and a big stone lifted from our hearts but our troubles wasnt over next problem was safe landing of the kayaks in the surge of the swells on slippery rocks and concret walls, but Tue stepped up to the plate and showed some guts and secured both of us a safe landing. now we were sitting in mykines in with Dánjal Danielsen an his family drinking tEA and listening to Faroes stories.

Jónvá (Dánjal´s wife) is sending a greeting to all the mothers, wifes an children left at home.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Camp on koltur

We're finally on the water. First camp was on Koltur, 61.59n, 6.57w! We decided to go for the western Islands, given the current 5-day forecast of 4 days with stable weather. First experiences with tide went well, we had a good 24 km paddle sunday evening.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ready for some action

We're now ready to head out on the the first paddle. Again, there's fog (this time in Torshavn) so we'll wait for better sight before leaving.

Yesterday we finally made it to Torshavn! We quickly fetched the kayaks and all the other gear from the Smyril Line Cargo terminal, and transported it to the local Scout group's house.

All saturday evening and saturday was spent re-packing the gear, and we were actually hoping to get on the water around high water slack this afternoon -- but thick fog and clouds stopped that plan. On the good side, it gives us more time to check maps, and do some route planning.

We can be contacted on mobile +298 593751 while we're here - and we'll check up on email now and the. Comments on the blog are now moderated, so please keep them coming, and have a little patience!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Finally on the move

We're now waiting to board the flight - after two days waiting, where time was spent on kayaking. We had some good surf despite the very calm weather, and had the chance to visit old friends. We're now looking much forward to finally setting our feet on the Faroe islands and get ready for some paddling.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Grounded in Denmark

Our original flight wednesday evening was cancelled due to fog on the Faroe Islands, we have been scheduled to fly on saturday instead.
A rather tough start, and it hit us just where we had no alternative plan. We're hoping for better weather on saturday! (Just found some live weather webcams from the Faroe Islands)
We're now on the way to the danish sea kayakers summer gathering to spend the waiting time with-you guessed it-on the water.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sponsor update

Without our sponsors, this project would not have been as easy (or economically realistic) as it has turned out to be.

A few words on the sponsorships, before we set out:
RelaxShoe and Sparekassen Thy provided financial support for gear and for use during the expedition. Smyril Line kindly offered to ship kayaks, gear and food to Torshavn and back again.
Brødrene Vestergaard
in Thisted has been our main provider of high quality kayaking equipment (Tomas even took home a lot of gear that wasn't in stock) at very reasonable prices. The shop is likely to be of particular interest to kayakers from the Faroe Islands - situated in Thisted, only 20 km south of Hanstholm, and close to the "test driving ranges" Limfjorden and Klitmøller).
PureKayaking sponsored safety equipment - a McMurdo FastFind MAX PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), as well as handheld and parachute flares that we'll carry for emergency use.
Friluftsland sponsored all the freeze-dried food that will be our main evening dish during the trip, and offered discounts on outdoor gear, most importantly the Hilleberg Nammatj 3 tent we're going to use.

A big "Thank You" to all our sponsors - we look forward to tell you more about the trip when we're home again!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TV Spot

Thursday 17 july, TV Midt/Vest, a local tv-station, asked for an interview, and it was broadcast in the news today, at 22.20. Check it out here!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Turbulent week

This week have been a turbulent and stressing week, after the training weekend in the wadden sea. I have been drying and repacking all the gear and preparing it for shipping with our sponsor, Smyril Line Cargo who willingly will ship all of our gear to and from Faeroe Islands for free. A special thanks to Aage Brun and his crew for making this go smoothly. This afternoon i have stuffed all the gear into a container in Smyri Line cargo center in Hanstholm, and the gear will await us in Torshavn when we arrive.




But that's not all I have been busy with this week. Tuesday, Nordjyske Stiftstidende printed an article about our expedition, and that started the medias interest in our quest, so i have been handling the press also. Yesterday, Tv midtvest was making an inteview, but for now we don't know if/when it will be broadcasting.

Today i was visiting P4 Nordjylland and making an radio interview about general kayaking with my college from Purekayaking Mette Bach, who also used the occasion to hand over kindly sponsored safety equipment (McMurdo Fastfind Max PLB, handheld flares and parachute flares).





Monday I will do an interview from 09.30 with Radio Midtvest, and Tue Olesen has done an interview with Faeroe Islands radio, so all in all a turbulent week.

You can also see some of our pictures from our training weekend, and of the equipment here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

DIY Hydration System

During the training weekend in Esbjerg, we had quite many hours of strenuous paddling. Keeping hydrated while paddling in swell, wind and moving water doesn't allow long breaks from paddling, to dig out a water bottle from the cockpit or dayhatch. The deck-mounted bag with a hydration bag and tube in it, that i had on the kayak when paddling friday evening failed to do the job, during friday night's surf session. The valve fell off the drinking tube, and the tube was generally just getting in the way of maps, GPS and all the other stuff on the deck.

That convinced me about the need for a PFD-mounted hydration system (a thing which i had, until now, been reluctant to adopt, because it adds more clutter and weight to the PFD). Unfortunately, Stohlquist doesn't make a hydration system for my X-Tract D PFD. After looking at a similar system from Kokatat, i thought "how hard can that be"?


A quick DIY-session with sewing machine and various leftovers of nylon fabric ended with a quite functional solution. Total material costs are negigble - working time was around one and a half hours, including sewing on the badge from Smyril Line (which kindly offered to transport our kayaks, gear and food from Denmark to Torshavn).


The PDF-mounted bag takes a 1,5 L hydration bag. First impressions are good, definitely better than the deckmounted system - time will tell if the concept holds!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In the local news

Tuesday, Jesper was interviewed by the local newspaper in northern Jutland - they wrote up an article with some photos from Klitmøller on the trip. It's available in full length in the paper edition of "Thisted Dagblad", 16. July 2008.

Update from Jesper, 17. July 2008: As Tue wrote I was interviewed by Nordjyske Stiftstidende yesterday and you can see the full article here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ready for the real thing

This weekend's training trip to the wadden sea near Esbjerg and Fanø has come to an end - all in all a great trip. We fought our way through tide, wind and surf, and never really had any relaxing paddling during the weekend.

The gear works, the food works, the bodies work, and we now have a list of the final, small adjustments and improvements to be made before we set out on from Thorshavn.

As a special, non-planned experience, we arrived on Fanø right in the middle of "Fannikerday", the yearly celebration on the island. Many of the locals were in their magnificent traditional dresses, dancing, singing and having fun - we looked in awe, and enjoyed the fresly baked cake that one of Jespers friends made for us.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Night surf

Friday at 10 pm we left Esbjerg for an easy night paddle to the west coast of Fanoe. It turned out to be a little tougher, the last hour was night surfing in 1.5 m breaking waves. Today, the fun goes on, but this time in daylight.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Speedlinks

Just a quick catch-up - some interesting speed-links: Kayaking history on the Faroe Islands, some TV footage from Stora Dimun, and a great website with information on all the small cities and villages spread over the islands.

Previous expeditions:

This is a list of the previous expeditions that i know of - there may be more (if you know of one not listed below, write a comment on it)

TV footage from Stora Dimun

This sunday evening, i got the chance to see a danish TV programme by Søren Ryge, about the sheep farmers living on "Stora Dimun" on the Faroes. This really got me excited about getting there - we're talking only 15 days until departure today. Great footage of the shoreline, including what's probably the only possible landing spot on that little island. During some of the interviews, it looks like tide currents are appearing quite visibly on the sea in the background.

Last, i found a great overview of the the villages and cities on the Faroe Islands, written by a local guy now living in Denmark. He's maintaining the page as a hobby project - nonetheless, great work.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tide water

Tide water must be taken into account in the route planning for this trip. Fortunately, this is somewhat predictable - we have been looking into the Faroe Islands tide water pilot book - and with help from a kind local, we're able to read it now.

During the trip, the moon phases add to, or subtract from the daily low/high tide as follows:
  • Half moon; 26. july. Neap tide (least difference between low and high tide).
  • New moon; 1. august. Spring tide (largest difference between low and high tide).
  • Half moon; 9. august. Neap tide.
  • Full moon; 16. august. Spring tide.
Tuesday this week we took a very thorough look on maps and tide tables, and came up with possible route plans. We have a rough idea about the route now - the intention is to evaluate those plans with locals (kayakers, fishermen) before we're afloat.

This weekend, we're going for the last training trip, near Esbjerg on the danish west coast. Currently, there's a 2 metres difference between flood and ebb water levels, and the forecast is currents of 1½ knots - however, mostly in narrow channels of water, as much of the area is rather shallow water.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The green lightning

This weekend i finally got it and this time in the right size, the green lightning.

We decided to upgrade our current kayaks (NDK Romany and Valley Avocet) to more specific expeditions kayaks, and after a great deal of thoughts and grey hair, i picked the Romany Explorer, The green lightning.


The green lightning is a MV Romany Explorer and the fit in the cockpit is just perfect, lots of space for luggage, and the handling on the water is just right, all in all the best choice for me.

So The green lightning is going to be my ship on the Atlantic and i'm going to paddling with a Nimbus Kiska 210 cm and a Werner Cypres 205 cm paddle.

My paddling condition is good but i have a minor setback, i have a big blister directly on my tailbone, after trying a surf kayak from Dragonossi (the Fish), so this week i have a break from sitting in a kayak.

video

this it from now but more to come.

sea u on the flipside

Jesper Tilsted

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New tools (or rather, toys)

Within the last two weeks, lots of new gear for the trip has arrived from various kayak dealers and sponsors. Most significant are the new paddles from Werner and Lendal, and Jespers new kayak (more on that part later from Jesper).

The feel of paddling with the Lendal paddle (straight carbon shaft with carbon Kinetic Small blades on, 210 cm long) is quite different from the Werner camano (straight carbon shaft with fibreglass blades, 215 cm long). The powerface of the Lendal Kinetic blade is almost flat, where the Camano's blades have a pronounced rib along the centerline. My impression is that the Werner blade has more catch, and less tendency to flutter during the pull phase of the stroke. The blade tends to stick in the water when ending the stroke, thereby making the effort to begin the next stroke a little larger.

The Lendal, on the other side, feels much more smooth to paddle - both catch, pull and exit from the water requires less "grip" and effort on the paddle's shaft. During the pull phase, the Lendal blades have a tendency to flutter - with some hours of practice, i figured out much sliding away from the boat was required to avoid the flutter.

...so, that was only forward-paddling experiences. Next comes rudder strokes and rolling/bracing performance - but more on that later.

...to be continued.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What about a bigger challenge?

What about a bigger challenge? Read more on Patrick Winterton's current project, which is not paddling around the Faroe Islands, but from Wales to the Faroe Islands.

"On the 1st of May 2008, Patrick Winterton will start his most challenging expedition to date, kayaking from Aberdovey on the Welsh coast, around Ireland, up through the Hebrides and onto the Faroe Islands. Following 'Scottish Extremities' and 'Stevensons' lights' Patrick will make a third and final film on solo sea kayaking. 'Celtic Tiderace' will focus on the little known islands off the coast of Ireland and will follow the story of St Brendan the navigator, a 6th century Irish saint. After reaching the Butt of Lewis, the northern point of the Hebrides Patrick will attempt to be the first paddler to kayak across 300km of open ocean to the Faroe Isles in a standard sea kayak."


Patrick: All the best wishes from us on your journey - We hope you reach Thorshavn safely.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Training status

A quick update on the training and preparations going on for my part (More to come from Jesper soon)

Several short trips (1-3 hours) on the water to try out gear. In these trips, i try to put in some interval training (sprint/relaxing intervals) but need to put more structure into that. In general, these trips are not "flat water conditions going for it when there is wind/waves, and trying the kayak in surf on the danish west coast.

Long trips on the water: Paddled a solo trip in the Valley Avocet, a 48km in good conditions in less than 24 hours (including biouvac on the beach, and a short portage of kayak and gear. It was warm, and i had to eat and drink plenty (more than anticipated), but kept the body running without problems.

Other training: Daily 1½ hours of cycling, occassional running and doing strength exercises at home.

We have an idea in the pipeline, to train some navigation in tide/wind-induced currents in Lillebælt to improve our experience with route-planning in these conditions.

Equipment upgrades

(See below for updates, added 10. june 2008)

For the past two weeks, new gear has been arriving. First of all, Jesper and I agreed to buy new kayaks for the trip. It makes good sense that both paddlers in the team use kayaks that are equally fast, so we avoid the situation of one paddler struggling to keep up with the other for all of the trip.

So - first new kayak is a (used) Rockpool Menai 18, which is now waiting to get the large seat exchanged for a smaller one. Apart from that, it is one mean load carrier, and from the experiences so far, it performs well on the water.


Next, we got a new GPS - Garmin GPSMap 76CSx. I'm using it this week for a round of geocaching to get familiar with it - next step is to get it in a waterproof bag (seems to be necessary even though it says "waterproof" in the manual), and take it for a spin on the water.

Update Tuesday 2008-06-10 on Kayak and GPS experiences:
Today, i recieved the seat for the Menai 18 - it fits perfectly and provides a much improved contact with the boat. This weekend, i had the chance to surf some waves on the danish west coast, which gave a good impression of the Menai's performance in rough water: Very forgiving and relaxing to paddle - the only thing i missed was some more edge control - the boat requires some effort to put on edge (compared to my Valley Avocet) - but i expect that this will improve with the new smaller seat.

Last week, i went geocaching for a couple of hours with the new GPS - it is a great tool (and toy) and after some hours of practice, using it becomes quite easy and natural. One of the neat features is that it can be configured to display information with really large digits, making it readable even when sitting in a dry bag in front of the kayak cockpit. One 'gotcha' that i needed an hour or two of paddling to figure out though, was that the built-in magnetic compass isn't useful (i ended up turning it off) when the GPS is not horizontal.

Happy paddling!

Tue

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's in a name?

Choosing a name for a kayaking trip in the first place is somewhat difficult - but we find that it matters because, in many aspects, the name is the first thing people see or hear about the trip.
For this trip, the name "Sea of Flames" came from the website of Axel Schoevers from the Netherlands, who posted a great trip report of a trip around the Faroe Islands. In our opinion, the name illustrates both the great experiences that are waiting, and the amount of respect and careful planning needed to paddle around the Faroe Islands. Thanks, Axel, for the inspiration!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dry suit testing and maintenance

This weekend, Jesper and I recieved two brand-new Kokatat Expedition drysuits for the trip, and had the first chance to try them out in the surf. The overall impression is really good, the quality and the attention to detail that went into them are amazing. One thing we discovered was the importance of greasing up the metal zippers - without some sort of lubrication, they simply get stuck which (as Jesper can probably testify) isn't ideal when you're wearing the suit and need to get it off.

Judging from this weekend's experiences, my guess is that the zippers need maintenance at least once or twice week when the suit is used on a daily basis. I went to the local diver's store and bought a stick of zipper grease, which seems to work really well. But what if you're stranded somewhere without that sort of stuff? What else works, and are there some substances to be avoided?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Difficult landings

A complete circumnavigation of the Faroe Islands is approximately 450 kilometres of paddling - not a overwhelming distance if it was to be paddled on flat, protected water. But we expect that the paddling will be anything but that. Rough seas, swell and wind is going to be on the agenda, so we'd better be prepared for it.

So, how do we go around training for the trip? Well, as the saying "train as you fight" proposes, it makes good sense to paddle in conditions similar to what we can expect to meet, and get familiar with that. The danish west coast provide the rough seas, swell and wind, but the difficult landing spots are harder to find.


On today's trip, i found one though. It is a section of the coast south of Hirtshals in Northern Jutland, Denmark. After paddling out of the large harbour, the outer part of the harbour produces massive chop and reflecting waves for around 1km, followed by a section of the coast with car-sized boulders in the midst of the surf zone.

After scanning the coastline for a few kilometres, we spotted a few places with some safe surf, and had a great time playing in the waves. And at the end of the trip, just as we approached the entry to the harbour, the ferry from Norway arrived, kicking up the waves reflecting off the harbour.


So, to wrap it up, making the most of the following weeks and months of paddling is important to get physically ready for the trip. What are the possible approaches? Probably a mixture of:
  • Paddling in "realistic" conditions (rough seas, wind, surf).
  • Paddling long distances (50+ km/day for several days).
  • Training long crossings, navigation and getting acquainted with all the gear.
  • Physical exercises "in the backyard" to gain body strength.
  • Eating properly, getting enough sleep.
Now, i'll make an attemt for the last bullet on the list. Goodnight!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sea Kayaking activities on the Faroe Islands

What's going on in the sea kayaking world at the Faroe Islands? Apparently, some guys there go surfing, and there's the sea kayaking club of Thorshavn having winter sessions in the swimming pool. Some general information is available over at the Sea Kayak Wiki.

Welcome

Welcome to the "Sea of Flames" blog. Stay updated on the progress of two danish sea kayakers attempting a circumnavigation of the Faroe Islands in the summer 2008.

Currently, the trip planning and preparations are progressing. We'll try and keep this site updated with news on training and trip planning.