Wednesday, June 09, 2010

4th August

Today was the first official day of kayaking non-stop and the weather was still pristine so was going to make this an enjoyable experience. After Breakfast and a short chat about where we were heading Gabby and I were already saddled up and out taking temperature measurements at 10. This also got us out of clearing away camp and hauling down the canoes... As professional as we thought we were it turned out the thermometer wasn't working so we had to start again but Mike's patience didn't let us finish. So much for the extra science element...

As we headed out of Ullsfjord we, amazingly, met a local who told us about a German gun emplacement from WWII further around the headland, only I managed to spot it since Orkney is surrounded by the frigging things. Nature also provided some sights as dolphins or porpoises were jumping in the distance reminding us we are in the open sea.

We stopped for lunch at a small beach and I spent my time reading the Shore and Pond Life guide in the Science pack Angelica had given us. I now know about different crustaceans as well as the habitats and ecology of the monkfish. Another thing I noticed on this remote beach was the amount of rubbish that had been washed up on the beach. There were some settlements nearby that might explain it but surely there should be no litter washed up at all to preserve this area?

Until now we had forgotten to do a camera drop, or Mike couldn't be bothered to wait about while we did it, so we had our first drop after lunch. Gabby was given the main job of holding the camera and looking in, I did the paperwork, plungline and GPS and everyone else helped set up a sturdy raft. We then carried on round the headland to try and find somewhere to refill our water bottles but the waterfall seemed further than expected before not actually exsisting. There was talk about crossing straight across to the island of Silda and the dehydration and sunstroke had obviously kicked in since I agreed that this was a good plan. I must say I felt better as this crossing provided one of the most spectacular views of the whole trip, south into Langsfjord, I suppose Gabby(and Callums) singing helped a bit...

As we approached Silda we headed towards a patch of snow on the hill and then a house, which actually looked very lived in which concerned everyone, but Mike. According to Norwegian law we are allowed to camp anywhere for a night as long as it is about 150m from any residential areas, but Mike told us it was 50m. Since he was the leader we headed into the shore after a final camera drop. Just as we got the tents up and changed a speedboat came roaring into the shore which obviously belonged to the people who where staying in the house we were camping outside. When they all got to the shore the adults came and spoke to Reg and Mike and must have formed some sort of deal, but later on they did not seem to pleased that we were there.

Reg had managed to catch a fish for tea and as we got a fire started we discussed the highs and lows of the day, mine were pretty obvious, and the plans for tomorrow. Mike gave us a fish gutting lesson and the freshest tea we had had in a long time followed. The rocks managed to kill Tasha again but this time not on the way from the toilet. However when she did go to the toilet her and Gabby managed to bring back parts of a reindeer skeleton including the pelvis, head, jaw and spine. Gabby only actually wanted the teeth and antler which was probably the least gruesome parts since the skull itself actually still had hair on it. I decided to use this as a chance to use several of the parts of my Swiss army knife. First i played doctor, amputating the antlers off with the saw and then playing dentist by pulling the teeth out with the pliers. It was terribly satisfying.

As we headed to bed I had just enough time to realise the amount of sunburn on my arms and applying a sea of cocoa butter before passing out for the night.

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