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!


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


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 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


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


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!


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 !