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Rounding the Island of Senja by Kayak – a REAL Ride

We have been on a lot of adventures together and we know what it entails to make sure you’re left with a good experience.

Kayaking around Senja is incredible, but it also carries with it a certain degree of risk.

Senja is Norway’s next largest island and is located in Troms county. The island is about 1500 km2 and has just under 8000 inhabitants. Senja is known for its varied landscape and is often referred to as a miniature Norway. The outer part of the island is characterized by dramatic mountains that dumps right into the ocean, but also idyllic archipelago and beautiful sandy beaches. On the inner part you find fertile soil and a friendly landscape with wavy hills and birch forest. In the valleys there are pleasant villages and small farms. The south side of Senja’s mountains are rock leaning with swabergy and pine forest. This is the location of Ånderdalen National park. In June 2016 we spent a week kayaking around this island that we are so proud to live on.
We kayaked around the island in 2015 as well, so on this trip we focused on improving our routines. Our goal was to paddle with as heavy kayaks as possible so we trained on long trips with heavy loads being self-sufficient and only refilling water along the way.

The weather can shift quickly on the outer side of the island.

Kayaking around Senja is incredible, but it also carries with it a certain degree of risk. Kayak paddling means you always have to do safety analysis and train for the worst case scenario. The biggest risk is the weather, and how quickly it can change. There are a lot of long fjord crossings along the route and coming ashore can be a challenge on large parts of the island. It required a lot of planning with the map and factoring in our experiences from the last trip.

We were lucky to find a nice place for lunch.

The trip was planned in 6 stages and in excess of 40 km everyday, partitioned on 5 days.

The food choice was easy – Real turmat.

 

  • It doesn’t take up a lot of space
  • It is low weight
  • It is quick to prepare
  • It produces only small amounts of garbage
  • It doesn’t produce dirty dishes
  • It tastes good

 

A successful trip

We have been on a lot of adventures together and we know what it entails to make sure you’re left with a good experience. Planning and routines are key words.

Some of our routines:

  • Both of us bring a map and compass so we can pay attention to where we are, where we’re going and how far it is for a break or camp.
  • We have set tasks. Frode knows what Wivian does – and Wivian knows what Frode does when the kayak is towed on land after a long day on the ocean. The tent comes up by itself.
  • The watertight bags have different colors and labels, that way we know what is where.
  • The bags are always placed the same place every time we’re out on trips together so we don’t have to empty the entire kayak to find what we need.  
  • We pack the kayaks so that what we need first is always placed on top.

Food routines.
We had good routines for food that worked very well.
When we made breakfast we packed a watertight bag consisting of

  • A thermos of hot water
  • Real Turmat
  • Spoon
  • Cup of tea
  • Protein bar
  • Snacks (dried meat, candy, and so on)
  • A towel for drying hands
  • Camera
  • Power bank

First camp

The bag was kept in cockpit between our legs while paddling. When we arrived at our rest area all we had to do was get out and we had everything we needed. If it was raining and we needed extra clothing we had a bag with a coat in the day hatch that was easily accessible. This way we spent minimal time making hot food and could instead use our time for stretching and relaxing.
These are routines we do on all of our day trips as well and it works.
We were lucky and the weather was on average pretty good. With the exception of one night when it poured and everything got soaking wet. Hard to be prepared for everything, but this day the running shoes were not worth much…

After 6 days of paddling we arrived back at the Gisundbridge where we had started our journey. Tired, but happy about a great paddle.
Will we paddle around the island again? Sure, why not?

Do you kayak?

Vi recommend you carry out a similar trip over a few days. It is a lot of fun planning it, studying the map, trial packing the kayak and conducting the trip.

  • It is also important to evaluate. Preferably after each day.
  • What could we have done differently?
  • Could something have gone wrong?
  • What do we have to think about for tomorrow from what we experienced today?

 

Good planning – good trip!

Paddle greetings from Frode og Wivian

 

Important info!

There are many places on the outer part of Senja where there is no cell reception. When paddling there we highly recommend you bring a VHF radio!