We had an action packed day waking up at 5:30am for a photography roadtrip and then returning three hours later to such perfect weather that we decided to go sea kayaking. We put on lots of layers and then climbed into our drysuits. It’s important to take the air out of these suits in case you capsize as the trapped air would move up to your legs and make it difficult to escape, so we held the neck-piece open and crouched down, thus allowing any air to escape and completely vacuum packing the human body! Chloe, the other English volunteer is a kayak instructor so she looked after us and told and what to do if we capsized…this was my biggest fear as I’m really paranoid about not being able to escape from the kayak so I vacuum-packed myself two more times just to be safe. Craig wasn’t being much of a gentleman though and decided he didn’t want to share a double kayak with me like we usually do…apparently I spend too much time taking photos and not enough time paddling. We’ve only kayaked in hot countries before and in the sit on-top style kayaks so it was a bit of an experiment going on my own.
Once we pulled our kayaks down to the snow-covered shore, we took it in turns to get into our kayaks and hump frantically until we gained enough momentum to slip into the sea. Most of us were inexperienced in kayaking though and our lack of knowledge became evident when we tried to set off as a group. Samy the French volunteer and Craig were doing very well, speeding off and searching for eagles. I was paddling wrong so our host shouted from the jetty for me to hold my paddle at a 90 degree angle which I found totally confusing so I just held the paddle in a variety of positions until he said it was correct and then I joined the boys ahead of me. Our friends that took the double kayak however weren’t doing so well. There was Copt, the Swiss in the front and Sven the German in the back and it was like watching a comic sketch. They couldn’t synchronise their paddling at all and were doing circles so Chloe paddled alongside them, instructing them what to do. It was hilarious as they were arguing like an old couple about who wasn’t paddling correctly. I could always hear them approaching me from behind as their paddles were loudly hitting one another’s and there was lots of huffing and tutting.
The conditions couldn’t of been more perfect, there wasn’t a single ripple in the sea, the sky was clear and even the low sun felt warm. In fact we felt completely overdressed underneath our dry suits and were finding it very hot even though it was below zero. We paddled past dozens of beautiful islands, all caked in fresh snow and reflected in the glassy water. The sea was so clear that we could see an old sunken boat underneath us.
We spotted a few eagles sitting on islands while others were gliding through the sky, searching for an easy fish to catch. We even saw a moose family walking up a hillside and a curious seal sticking his head out of the water to get a better look at us.
Some narrow areas between the island had patches of seaweed on the surface which marked hidden rocks so I precariously paddled around them while trying not to hit the island. I really didn’t feel stable in the kayak, it was very wobbly and on a couple of occasions I stuck my paddle in too deep and nearly pulled myself into the sea.
We ended up doing a 6.5km loop around the archipelago which I found pretty exhausting but it was such an amazing trip and definitely a highlight of our time in Norway. When we got back home our host showed us some drone footage of us kayaking. It was incredible to see the area from above, the sea was so clear you could see the rocks deep in the water and our tiny kayaks gliding above them. The video of us kayaking in a straight line was perfect…until we noticed Copt and Sven in the double kayak, awkwardly zig zagging across everyone’s path and we were all in absolute hysterics.