There is an island off the west coast Norway, Smøla, an island I can never get to visit often enough. For the sea kayaker it is paradise. With over 3000 skerries around its perimeter, a reliable gps or exceedingly good map reading skills is needed.  On the edge of the Atlantic ocean, you can experience beautiful sunsets, or waves rolling in for the rockhopping paddler. Sea eagles are abundant and guided tours for the ornithologist can also be found. Smøla kajakk, run by the friendly couple Anders and Kristine Hermstad, can provide guided tours, courses or hire out equipment if required.

Anders, Kristine and Thomas Bjørdal along with others are responsible for organising my favorite paddle event of the year. Smøla paddle marathon, a now annual event with paddle activities over several days, and starting 2018 an Atlantic oceans week, which is to include swimming and a triathlon. And a community of friendlier people you could not meet, with many involved in the organisation of the paddle marathon from the local mayor to shopkeepers the warmest of welcomes is guaranteed.

I have paddled there in mid summer, where the sun doesn't set, merely bounces of the horizon and rises up again. Weather is not always perfect though, after the last marathon and late at night a wind and rain storm kicked up. I loved it, lying in the tent, hearing the wind and rain belting against the canvas. Others took shelter in a nearby converted barn, (and actually set there tents up inside) while the Scottish in me continued to enjoy the moment. The moment continued the whole night and when I woke up, just as my family sized tent was about to take off, I jumped into my drysuit, and started to load my van before all was lost. It is a hell of a rainstorm when the best clothing is a drysuit, but having packed all, I remained completely dry underneath.

I have taken many pictures here, but being flat, no picture can justify the enormous beauty of this place, only a visit can do that. And a visit I must have again, very soon.

Smøla

an island in mid Norway

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Picture by Wigdis Wollan
Picture by Wigdis Wollan

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