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Our Sea Kayaking Trip in the Naeroyfjord with Nordic Ventures (2012)

We got up pretty early to go to the office of Nordic Ventures. Both Ward and I, were a bit nervous because we had important items missing for our three-day kayaking trip. Ward had his passport missing, he also could not find his rain pants and I did not have any hiking boots. The passport was the most serious issue, he would have to go to The Canadian Embassy in Oslo to get a new one, adios kayak trip. He found it later in a coat not on the table where he thought he had left it and not taken by terrorists or robbers. We were so relieved to find it. I thought I could do well with running shoes and I had a feeling we could borrow some hiking boots from Ventures. We walked with all our heavy luggage to Nordic Venture where we met Jan the owner and our guide Harley a Kiwi. Jan kindly let us store our luggage in his place. He also locked all our valuables in a type of coffer.

Mindy H, Mindy C, Myself, Cameron Smith and Ward AntoniukWe had to pack everything in the van. We met the members of our group, three Americans, one man and two women. One of them, Mindy (Halpern), clowning around, sat in the drivers seat pretended to be the driver, I thought she was going to be quite fun to have around. She finally had to give her place back to the real driver, Harley. The other lady was also called Mindy (Christensen) . In fact, they were both teachers in Moscow in an international school. Cameron was in the US army an office worker in Germany.

Jan was waiting for another kayaker, he had the names mixed-up. He thought there was a Candido and a Fernando coming. I told him, I was only one person, Fernando Candido. That meant we had food and wine for an extra person. Not a bad mistake.

We were going to Kayak in the Naeroyfjord (Naerøyfjord in Norwegian). It's a narrow branch of the larger Sognefjord. It's a world UNESCO World Heritage Site and the National Geographic Society as it as the world's number one natural heritage site along with the Geirangerfjord. (source Wikipedia)

We made our way to a small town called Gudvangen. This was the place where our sea kayaks were. We had the choice to go solo or tandem. The kayaks were of excellent quality. Gudvangen is also the place where the day-tours start. If you want to rent a kayak and go on your own, without a guide, this is the place to do so. Harley asked us to choose a kayak. We started to pack all the food and equipment in the vessels, trying to put things in a logical order so we could find it easily later. We also got into our black warm wetsuits because the water is quite cold and Harley would not allow us without one. The skies were blue and the weather was perfect. The dream weather was probably in the mid-twenties. Apparently There was a couple in their honeymoon that came to kayak and it rained everyday. Quite a tragedy. We were blessed. We followed Harley our captain. He kept a steady pace, but nothing too strenuous. Almost, everybody was keeping up well. Mindy Halpern was smaller, she worked really hard, but did not have as much strength. She was falling easily behind. At one time, towards the end of the trip. He tied his kayak to hers and he pulled her.

Our first stop was for lunch. We stopped in a nice green landing. The lunch was great with a lot of cheeses, cold meats, hot coffee, fresh bread and fruits. My favorite was the smoked salmon. Later on, we also visited a spectacular waterfall called Odesfossen on the right side of the bank. The members of our group hiked to the top of the fall, following a trail in the green bush. I just choose to stay at the base and admire it from a small bridge. I also took some pictures with my I-pod. The Naeroyfjord is famous for the number of spectacular waterfalls that can be seen cascading from thousands of feet. After our wonderful lunch we started kayaking towards Dyrdal.

We set our camping at Dyrdal beach. Nordic Ventures provided us with good tents, it could get wet and you need good rainproof equipment. Dyrdal is a small summer hamlet and there is no road access. At one time there were 60 people living there. It was an administrative center. There was even an Inn. Today it's used exclusively for summer holiday homes. The place is popular with hikers and kayakers.

Before starting our trip, I had asked Harley if he had any fishing equipment. He put a side a rod and a big box of lures. I took the kayak where we were camping and Iwent for about an hour to try my luck. I was not too confident of catching something. Harley told me, he had rarely seen anybody catch any fish. I would not have mind a fat juicy cod. I also did not know what the best fishing technique were in the fjord. The lures were also old and some rust was starting to show. I had the pleasure of teaching Mindy how to cast. She was excited about learning, but she did not catch anything. After a few minutes she gave up and she went by the fire.

Harley had a lot of entertaining stories to tell about Norway in general. He was also a good cook we had some grilled chicken, sausage and more for supper. The food overall was really good. There was also plenty of red wine. Mindy Halpern was vegetarian : they accommodated her providing her a veggie menu. One time she was having vegetarian hot dogs. I tasted one, but I was happy that I had regular one's instead. I am not sure of what they were made of soya??? She did not drink much wine so we stole her ration.

Ward laying down and staring into the void being careful not to fallThe next morning after having some great pancakes. We got ready for our 20 km hike. From our campground we followed the shore, stopping at a creek to fill our bottles. We did not need to boil or filter our water, according to Harley. We reached the village of Dyrdal. The dirt road was well maintained. Later on we left the road and got to a narrow trail, some sections were pretty wet. We were all careful not to get our feet soaked, but after a while it got so bad that we did not bother anymore we just walked in the wet muskeg. We passed some farms, we saw some goats and then we had to walk a steep and slippery hill for a few km before reaching the rim. Everybody was following pretty well and we were fairly close to each other. I choose to stay in the back, Ward asked me if he could carry my backpack for me. He probably felt that I was going to slow, but I was doing in purpose to be a bit behind, so I did not need to chat to anybody. I enjoyed the scenery and the quietness.

We had a lunch before reaching the top. It seemed that every time we thought that we arrived at the top there was another hill to climb. We finally had a lunch before reaching the summit and we also saw our first hikers. I almost got caught by those hikers during my bathroom break. Embarrassing, just pulled my pants in time. The big hill had excellent blueberries everywhere. I ate a lot of them.

We passed some small and clear water ponds and creeks surrounded by ice and snow. The soil was very rocky, we had left the green of the valleys below. We finally reached theedge of the rim. We were in an area near a peak called Breiskreinosi. On the left we could see the tiny hamlet of Styvi, right in front of us we could see the waterfall the one we had visited the day before. We were rewarded with some of the most beautiful views we ever saw. Our guide wanted us to be very careful one bad step and we were gone. We took some of the most amazing pictures that we ever had the chance to do. After staring at the void and being so high for so long, we got used to it. We were trying to get as close as possible to the edge so we could take the perfect picture. I stood on top of the waterfall one time and watched the water fall thousands of feet below. Freaky.

On our way out Harley grabbed some snow and some flavored syrup and he made slushes for all of us. He said that was the first time, he tried it. It was a success. We started going down on the steep trail and the slippery grassy hill. I was almost running down, I felt really comfortable jumping and running down. One time, I fell and started rolling down, but I was able to stop myself.

When I got to the bottom of the hill, near the farms, I realized that the others were really far away. After 20-30 minutes they showed up. By that time they arrived, I was tired of waiting. They were going to take their lunch and I asked Harley if I could make my way to the camp. He did not seem to mind because the route was pretty straightforward. While I was waiting for them, I prepared a fire so they could dry their clothind and warm-up. The others were quite happy when they arrived in camp. The fire was waiting for them. Some of us were a bit sore from the long hike, but Cam had more problems than anybody. He could not believe how well I had done considering that I did not have any hiking boots. Some of the hikers jumped in the cold water of the fjord to refresh themselves, I preferred to watch. Most beautiful bathtub in the world.

We lost so many calories on that 20 km walk that it did not matter how much we would eat during supper, we would not get fatter. We indulged ourselves eating anything that we could put our fingers on.

We packed our kayak and took off for the last part of our trip. We kayaked from our camp site to the town of Undredal. On our way we stopped at a waterfall called Laegdafossen, I let the water of the base of the waterfall splash my kayak. Ward and I found a small cave full of mussels. At times, we had to be careful some cruise ships and other boats were passing us by. As a result, big waves were created maybe as high as a meter. We just had to stay straight in your kayak and let the waves roll underneath. Overcompensating may make your kayak to roll over. I wonder if you can make an Eskimo roll when your vessel is completely loaded.

We finally reached an intersection. The Naerofjord meets the Aurlandsfjord. It's much wider and the waters are choppier. We also had a snack right on the water with hot soup and fresh bread. We locked our arms together like a chain to prevent us from moving.

Far away we could see the towns of Undredal, our final destination, and Flam. Undredal a small town of about 100 people it's famous for its brown goat cheese. In fact, goats outnumber people by five to one. The van was waiting for us.

We used the Gudvenga tunnel to reach the town of Gudvangen. At 11,428 metres (7.1 miles) in length, it's the second longest road tunnel in Norway. We were happy that we were all safe and that we had such a great time. We collected about one hundred dollars to give to Harley. I am not sure if it was enough...or how much we should have given him. After three days, we had build a good relationship between us. We accepted each other as friends in Facebook. Harley unfortunately did not accept us as friends.

While we were unloading and taking stuff from our suitcases one of the workers drove over my suitcase, totally wrecking it. I told Harley, but he did not know what to do. Fortunately the owner of the company, Jan stepped in. He got me a knew sporty suitcase. He offered me money but It was Sunday and I had to leave for Canada the next day. The chance of finding a place to buy a new suitcase would have been close to impossible. We left the country the next day, we were totally satified with our kayaking experience, we could not have asked for a better time.



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PICTURES TAKEN FROM iPOD
Waterfall near Gudvangen
Our guide Harley admiring a waterfall

The peaceful Naeroyfjord
Kayaking in the Naeroyfjord

Bakka village, view from the water
Part of the Bakka village seen from our kayak

Small hamlets can be seen along the Naeroyfjord
Bakka village seen from far away

Tufto Farm near Bakka with the waterfall behind
Tufto Farm near Bakka

Getting ready for lunch in front of Bakka
Getting ready for lunch

Harley setting our lunch near the shore
Harley from Ventures setting the lunch

View towards Gudvangen
View over the fjords near Bakka

Narrow part of the fjord with Tufto and the waterfall during our first stop
Having lunch, with Tufto farm in the background

Myself on the fjords
Myself on the fjords

Odesfossen fall
The spectacular Odesfossen fall

Members of our group climbing the Odesfossen fall
Members of our group climbing the Odesfossen fall near Gudvangen

Ward standing near the Odesfossen fall
Ward standing near the Odesfossen fall

My kayak was loaded I was also carrying a fishing rod
My kayak was loaded

Creek on our hiking trail
Creek on our the Breiskreinosi trail near Dyrdal village

Ward in front of the creek
Ward standing on a beautiful creek near Dyrdal

Lake near Dyrdal going to Breiskreinosi
Lake near Dyrdal going to Breiskreinosi mountain

Farm near Breiskreinosi mountain
Farm near Breiskreinosi mountain



PICTURES TAKEN FROM iPOD
Near Breiskreinosi into the clouds
Near Breiskreinosi into the clouds,

Ponds and snow on top of the fjords
Ponds and snow on top of the fjords

The summit of the fjords lost in the clouds
The summit of the fjords lost in the clouds

Myself looking at the waters below, the spectacular Naeroyfjord
Myself looking at the waters below, the spectacular Naeroyfjord

On top of the waterfall near Gudvengan
On top of the waterfall near Gudvengan


The Naeroyfjord from the top

 Another view of the Naeroyfjord
High above, the view of the Naeroyfjord

Panorama of the hamlet of Styvi near Gudvangen
Panorama of the hamlet of Styvi near Gudvangen

Creek on the summit of the fjord
Creek on the summit of the fjord

The sun shinning on our campground near Dyrdal
The sun shinning on our campground near Dyrdal

Posing in front of the clear waters of the Naeroyfjord
Posing in front of the clear waters of the Naeroyfjord

Posing in one of the most spectacular places on earth, the Naeroyfjord
Posing in one of the most spectacular places on earth, the Naeroyfjord

Holding the paddle on my chin an essential skill of Kayaking??? Not...
Holding the paddle on my chin an essential skill of Kayaking??? Not...

Ward standing in front of the Naeroyfjord
Ward standing in front of the Naeroyfjord

Making our way to Underdal
Making our way to Underdal near Flam

at the base of the Laegdafossen waterfall
Getting our kayaks splashed by the Laegdafossen waterfall

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