Friday, 21 July 2017

Day 8 - Trouble in paradise

Oh so..Day 8..And landbound for another day.
Although I am enjoying every minute of this adventure, I will have to admit that I have had quite the challenging first week..There has been some expected issues, and then some quite unexpected ones.

For me, maybe the biggest challenge is to get enough food in me. I have never been a "breakfast person" and I hate eating when on the move..
These were things I knew beforehand, and had spent a lot of time thinking about. So I tried to find sollutions where I brought food and supliments I knew I would enjoy as much as possible. I have to admit what I missed the mark on was the lunches. Maybe the most important meal for fuel. And also bars dont go down to easy on the move.
After the disastrous crash the other day, I have very much realised that these problems are not to be taken lightly. I thought I could push it, and restock on land. I could not. With the problems I have in my wrist and well..Everywhere..My body was working overtime. I could have put myself and my friends in a really dangerous situation, luckily it only ended with a slight scare. And a very huge load of hard work. for them..Now the shame of that no energybars or food can fix. I have to admit I was crying my eyes out, really feeling the stress of holding my team back and making such a stupid mistake.
I am just so blessed and lucky to be here with such understanding and patient friends and SUPER strong paddlers. That not only wants the best for me, but also do everything possible to help and be supportive.
The group dynamics and just the whole learning experience of doing something like this in a group with 3 totally different girls. It might just be the biggest learning experience for me. Like Ash says...Vibeke..Just get over yourself...Come on..
A welcome, nice and positive learningexperience. The quality these two girls posess are nothing short of amazing, exciting and inspiring. Lucky me!!

Now, second problem was much more expected. Blisters. Of course I would get blisters. And they would be hard to heal, as you just keep paddling.
The beauties I now posess on my right hand....Oh wow...And then camping on beaches with loads of sand. Sand is clean, so not at all the worst thing. Only..You are not supposed to have grinding micropieces of sand and shell into open wounds for days. They will get infected if you are not careful right away. Which I was not. Enough....So one day I woke up with these swollen fingers I could not bend. Open soars and it all was just looking rather grim.
Luckily Frida is an excellent field doctor, and we also got sponsored with some brilliant first aid kits. So my suggestion as to what to bring first aid wise to a longer paddling trip would be: A flush surringe (this is to rinse sand and other grim stuff from soars and scrubs), anticeptic creams, variety of plasters and gloves (no matter how warm the weather), and anti inflamatories in pill form.
These little blisters are not to be taken lightly! They could easily ruin your whole trip!!

Third problem came completely out of left field..Tendonitis in my wrist...REALLY?? I have never in my life had anything like that. I have paddled on longer trips. I have paddled hard..I have trained..I have had amazingly physical jobs. Never before have I had any problems with that before...Just my luck!!
So when we decided to have a rest day I thought it best to go to the pharmacy. Try and get something for the pain and the wrist. The ladies behind the counter were just adorable. One of them kept staring at my arm that was very red and swollen..I showed it to her, and had her feel it grind and squeek whenever I moved the hand.
Scuuuuse meeee...Got anything for this maybe miss? Girls chuckling in the bacground..I tried my most charming Norwegian-Irish in the hope I would get some helpful advice..and maybe even some juicy pills. They oh my dear-ed me for a while before they suggested to go to the local family practice down the street.
Brilliant advice!! Got to see a doctor straight a way..
I told him what we were up to, and he looked at me for a while..Sighed..And said I had left him in a little bit of a spot there...
He didnt really want to give me anything as he wouldnt want to help me ruin my arm and hand..On the other hand he said he could see I would just continue anyway, so he felt he needed to try and help me as best as he could.
So got something for the swelling, painkillers he refused to give me. Said if i were to continue against his better judgement, he hoped the pain would stop me before anything got ruined in there. Fair enough..I rather liked that actually!!
So here we are then..Bad case of Tendonitis..The wrist will not get better as long as i keep paddling with it like this...And might likely get worse..He thought...
But then..I cant really quit now because someone thinks that. I have to keep trying atleast. So thats what I am left with really. Kind of between a rock and a hard place.
I do want to paddle on. I want to get around. I want to continue with the girls and will do whatever possible to be able to. At the same time, its a hard enough trip being fit and well..And the last thing I want is to be the reason for the other two not to get around. Also I never again want to put them in the same situation as I did the other day. So whats the best thing to do right now? I have no idea what so ever. Its all I can think about really...
But right now I think I will try to continue. Give it another week and see how the progress is, how my wrist is holding up and how I am affecting the girls. As the group will be my number one priority always!! Worst case I will have to go on land. Travel a week up the coast and wait for the girls. It would be devastating..But it would keep me with the girls. And Ashley really have me thinking..What are you really doing this for? It would still be an acomplishment..Even tho ive missed 200 km of the 1600 we need to cover. All of this have made me feel a lot more happy and optimistic. And ive reconsidered my whole reason for being here and doing this.
What a learning experience this all is!!!

Interesting days......


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Day five and six!

Day five Rosslare to Cullenstown

Getting ready to get onto the water.. Anticipation lay to what was ahead. The unknown. Reading the map there was marked tidal races around the headland from Rosslare and then the intimidating St Patrick's bridge.. 

I was a little bit unsure about St Patrick's bridge. From the maps we have I was unsure whether we would be going around The Saltees or not. And then I read a book given to me called Oileáin which suggested that we would get pulled down onto the bridge.. What did that mean. Sucked in? Or were we to expect a small tidal race. Anyway we head around the headland from Rosslare no problem and then headed straight for Kilmore Quay over the bridge.. How bad could it be if we go on slack.

Anyway there was no sucking down or pulling in.. We crossed just as the tide turned to the flood and there was a little race picking up but we were fine and great place to stop at Kilmore Quay. This is where we found the RNLI shop and needed to show our support by adopting two new bears to the team Sam and Billy.

This day we had lovely winds from behind all day force three to four. Expedition boats are a must for a working skeg. Although NDK boats are not dependent on the skeg the tired paddler is. Very useful to put the skeg down and cruse along. excellent surf in the afternoon for those small energy bursts we had in us.

We then landed on a beach first one with facilities for those of us that wanted a lovely cold shower... Mm...

Day six Cullenstown - tramore East side of the bay. 

Today was the first day of rain.. Wet rain it was poring down. Can we wait five more minutes? No use it was hammering it down. Quick dive to the kayaks with our kit and a strategic packing of the tent to keep the inside as dry as possible.. We will see how long that lasts before we stop caring so much.

We had a lovely morning on the water dispite the rain. It was actually nice to have the cooling rain instead of beaming sun for a few hours. We had lunch and continued around to the light house and hooks head. For the first time in six days we met other kayakers on the water. No surprise really as we have been staying out and making some crossing but today we kept close to sure and met a group

on sit on tops.. Friendly guide with a group of Americans. Great to see others on the water.

As we got around hooks head the sea fog came in and the visibility was low. Time to trust my navigation skills and follow a bearing 280 degrees for an hour and we should hit land... And we did. 

Having been in our kayaks for a few hours already it was maybe time for a break. But not the best landing spots. The decision was made to carry on. I had my fist pee in my kayak with the use of a sheewee very happy about that and a quick bar to eat and we carried on.

Six nautical miles to the next landing spot we decided to proceed. This was around three o clock.. Knowing the wind was going to pick up at five.. We head on. As we were paddling I could see the speedometer was going slower and slower. Vibeke was finding it hard against the headwind which was picking up. But we were plodding on getting closer to the headland we needed to get around. Energy levels we obviously a bit low. So I shout over to check if she had food. Yes. So we continue. We were not far but with a decelerating speed we were not getting there very quickly. And the winds still picking up.

Vibeke' she energy levels getting lower and lower and she also squired a pain in her wrist resulting in her not being able to paddle.. Especially in a surf as her hand was hurting. The beach didn't look for away so frida rated up and I started toeing them into the beach. Yes towing two fully loaded kayaks was not easy. Going at about one and a half knots not too quickly but faster that what we were paddling with an injured paddler. After about thirty minutes the beach wasn't looking much closer. And it was time for me to give up my super hero badge and asked frida to drop forward in the contact tow and paddle as well. She then replied.. But she did just pass out a few minutes ago. With me to just reply. Ok just lay her on your back deck then. So she did where Vibeke was sound asleep until being woken up by the occasional breaker.

Wasn't the best situation to be in. The thought was there ready to make an emergency landing on the rocks. But steady wins the race. We kept the pace down and carried on. The river coming out and wind waves blowing in there were some interesting conditions.. I almost went over.. Waves pushing me one way and the raft of kayakers pulling me backwards.. I took the biggest deep breath ready for that roll.. Turned out my very low low brace saved me.. That was a close one.. Steady through the surf and eventually we made it to the beach.

We were amazed we made it to the beach all of us exhausted.. Camp went up quickly and food in the belly. Best night sleep for us all.

Day seven

Day seven we have had a rest. Hitch hiked to the nearest town. Vibeke had visited the doctor for her wrist and had some great advice from the we are enjoying a cold beer in the pub hopefully ready for more paddling but less action tomorrow.

- Ashley

Monday, 17 July 2017

Day four!

We haven't long got off the water. The last few days we have been trying to catch the tide as much as possible so today it was two hours on the water and then a three hour sun bathing then five hours non stop paddling riding on the ebb. It's a bit of a drag getting off the water at low water though with Frida's really heavy kayak.. Either the repair it had done on it recently added some extra weight or she is feeding us all from that kayak.

It's been a lovely few days paddling. Bit of head wind but it settled down today giving us a lovely days paddling. We got a good rhythm going in the group so that has been super.

Today was beautiful. We got the kokatat shorts and rash t-shirts on and our kokatat caps to shade us from the sun. Really impressed with all of our kit.

We have been astonished by the seals dancing around us all day and some other nature elements. I got a bug in my boat with pincer type tail on it.. He was crawling around in their keeping me on my toes.. I tried to drown him.. We will see the results in the morning if I have any bite marks. And then a poor bee didn't have the best odds either flying straight for my face.. The paddle makes a useful weapon against bees. Me screaming like a girl and making kung-fu with my paddle his days we over. Sorry bee.

We are start to feel it in our bodies today. We have made it to Rosslare and are excited to see what's around the headland.

I'll upload photos when we get WiFi.. Blogger doesn't seem to like my phone.

- Ashley

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Day one!

Today has been an excellent day.. Full of nerves excitement and anticipation.
We started out at Dun Laoghaire.
It was high water at 1500 so we decided to set off at around 1230 paddling against the rising tide before catching a ride with the ebb.
Meaning quite a slow start until lunch and then moving a bit quicker but still Into a head wind.
Having been told about the wildlife around Ireland I wasn't expecting to wait too long to see seals. After an hour or two of complaining they started popping their heads up to say hello. It was amazing.
We haven't had much practice together so finding a pace that suits everyone has been difficult but I am sure we will come closer together as the days go by.
Had our first challenges of surf landing. By the third one we were improving. But we have had an unattended boat in the water Mm..
We have put out tent up.. Fast and easy then dinner was served.. The sun is going down and soon ready for bed.
Landed in Wicklow.
- Ashley

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Tomorrow is the day we have been waiting for.

Tomorrow we will be setting off for our adventure around Ireland. Setting out from Dun Laoghaire harbour and heading south. Both teddies and ladies have butterflies in their bellies.. We can't wait. Follow our track by using the link.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Three weeks to go!!!

The next time we see each other it will be in Ireland on the 12th July ready to set off for our adventure around Ireland.

The last 8 months has been a long process of training, organising, preparing, getting ready and now time is closing in on us quickly.

The nervous, anticipation and excitement are all building up inside us. We are very grateful for all the help we have received. Friends and family, sponsors and businesses that have help us out this far thank you very much!

We will be starting our trip clockwise around Ireland from Dun Laoghaire on the morning of 14th July. Weather permitting of course.

We hope to continue raising money for Barnekreftforeningen throughout our trip.. it is possible to donate here:

We will be keeping blogger and facebook uptodate as often as possible so keep watching.

- Ashley

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Vibeke: First solo multi-day trip

First solo multi-day trip

This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but always found an excuse for not going. Whether it be not having transport, the weather not being right or not having the equipment I need. And of course being really spoiled and invited for trips with my friends in the most amazing areas would always be the preferred option. Then I could go safely out in more challenging conditions. And never have to worry about navigation or safety issues. The decisions were always taken for me, and I only ever had to think about paddling.

Lately however I have realized the importance of not only being able to navigate and be responsible for others as well as myself. I have been realizing the importance knowing the real limits of my abilities as a paddler, team-mate and what I need to work on. And really be a self sufficient and confident paddler in my own right. I never really have had the need to find out these things before. Now it seems quite crucial. I have been in a weird mental state paddling wise. Having had to go on land on a couple of trips, seeing my friends who are much better and more experienced paddlers continue. Feeling not good enough for certain conditions when my paddling partners are so fearless and confident and good at what they are doing. Not really knowing what the problem was, I kept finding myself in conditions my body handled good enough, but my head kept telling me «this is too much, you are not good enough for this». So instead of driving my surroundings crazy, I felt that I had to do something. My decision was I needed to go out on my own and be responsible for everything myself. So I did.....

Day 1:
I started late in the afternoon, after a day of shopping all the equipment I was lacking. Like a cooker and gas, drybags for a lot more equipment than I normally bring, powerbank for charging my electricals and little bits and bobs.
When I got to the boat house I was a bit stressed and really nervous. Had I remembered everything? Had I planned everything correctly? Had I missed anything important?
Packed my boat. It was the heaviest it's ever been. And finally set off. Made sure to let my on land support group know I was starting. And got all the «good luck» and motivation I needed to collect my nerves and paddle out into the busy shipping lanes. Managed the crossings safely, and slowly got used to the different unknown movements of my now heavy boat. I really started thinking about the balance and weight distribution of my packed load, and decided to change it the next day, as the boat kept reacting weird to wind and current. Knowing my boat is quite perfect, this had to be «a human error» somewhere.
Then the boat traffic became severe. The big tankers and ships are easy. You see them coming from far away and you stay out of their way. The leisure boats are a whole different scenario. It really can get quite dangerous. And this being one of the first really nice days weather-wise in Bergen, it was probably worse than normal. And I chose the worst possible time of day to go out. So it became a problem. At one point I was forced on a barnacle covered big rock by a smaller boat. Got stuck. And could hear people laughing in the background. I was sure i had put a hole in my boat, and was really quite frustrated. However my NDK Pilgrim Expedition is made of strong stuff and got away with just a few cuts and bruises. I did realise I couldn't continue like this, it just was too dangerous. So I went on land first useful camp spot I could find. 

Having only paddled 18 km I was disappointed and a little bit discouraged. I had planned quite a long trip, and this would make it hard to reach my imaginary end goal. But setting camp was fun. I had never done this on my own before. And found it quite rewarding. Unpacked in the lovely sun. Hanged my paddle gear for drying. And got ready to cook my evening dinner. Only......No matches...How will I light my cooker without matches??..aaaah sandwiches for dinner. Oh well...Let my support group know I was safe on land. Had a few supporting words and went to sleep in my tent.

Day 2:
Woke up and it was freezing cold. I hadn't slept much. I learned the importance of a good camp spot. This one wasn't completely flat. So I ended up sliding off my sleeping mat all the time. But I was excited. I was getting out of the shipping lanes and out to the sea and wilderness. So I got out of the tent. Running around trying to pack and eat whatever I had brought that didn't need cooking. Gathered my paddle gear which was neoprene for the occasion. Only to find it completely wet and frozen. As I saw it I had two options at this point. I could either just find the strength to slide the completely stiff shorts and socks onto my bare skin, or I could wait for the sun to rise and warm it up a bit. Having had such a bad first day, in the end I went for option number one. I had to get the day started. And what a day it would turn out be. The weather was amazing. Ocean was completely flat. And most of the area I paddled, I had never seen before.

I had the biggest smile on my face all day. I was quite nervous about this one part that people kept telling me about. Known for its rough conditions and no landing spots. But I got there and it was completely flat. Sparkling water. And I could use the whole day for sightseeing and practicing my navigation. I had promised myself a long lunch break when I got this area out of the way, and I found a fisherman who kindly donated his lighter so I could light my cooker.
Got on land. Packed out all my cooking equipment. Only to find that my brand new cooker self ignites. It's times like these you can either die of shame or laugh at yourself. I laughed as it was just too good a day to be ashamed of anything. So had a two hour break just having a quick snooze in the sun. Just enough to get quite the sunburn, and set off on my final leg of the day. My body was tired, so didn’t move in lightning speed. Hands started to get sore, and blisters started appearing on my fingers. 

But I did feel like in those scenarios it was kind of nice being a solo paddler as you can set your own pace. I was in no hurry. I was just getting to this one place on the map that marked a camp spot. Only..Turned out there was no camp spot. That was when I got really tired. How far did I need to go to find one?. And what was the best tactic now? Ended up paddling for another 5 km before I got lucky and found a perfect spot. 55 km done. Perfect day. Great paddling. My confidence grew!

Day 3:
Had a lovely night. It was not cold. And I could cook myself a lovely breakfast. I had decided the evening before that it was going to be an easy day, and I could sleep in as the winds would turn to a favourable direction around lunchtime. Had a lovely morning, and just as I was putting on my paddle gear i noticed something black in my belly button..So i brushed it out as one do..Only it was stuck. Brushed again, and I noticed it had legs. A TICK...Panic set in. I absolutely hate ticks. And this one was in my belly. I kept imagining it drilling itself in there. Time to call in the support system. What do I doooooooo????? Might seem like a minor issue for some people. This was a real thriller for me. So after 5 minutes of minor surgery with a big knife. I mutilated myself enough that the tick found it best to just release and go.
I got on the water really quickly after that. Would not spend another minute on that tick infested camp spot, did another crossing over to another island. Luckily it wasn't to busy to cross. I chose to cross over at a wider spot than I normally would. But felt it was best as I had a better overview from all directions. And then to this small island where I knew there was supposed to be a good camp spot. As I got closer this huge fishing trawler passed in front of me. I was wondering why it went so slowly. And thinking what would be the best direction for me to take to be out of its way. So I picked a side. And saw that it was turning after a while. So I took a breath of relief and paddled on. Only, after a while I heard it behind me. What was it doing? Going in a circle? That’s when I realized what it was doing. It was putting out a net in a circle around me. It must have not seen me. And I was smack in the middle. I'M ABOUT TO GET FISHED I thought to myself. And started waving my paddle around franticly. When nothing happened I figured a decision had to be made. So I put my skeg up and gunned on all I could. Jumping over the nets rather big floating device and into safe waters. Waved a fist in the air at the boat and paddled over to the island.
My back was really painful from the long paddle before, and hands really sore. So I felt a short day would be nice. 

But after about two hours of rest other people started to come to the island. Barbecuing, drinking beer and playing loud music. I started to get unhappy. This did not feel like the wilderness experience I was hoping for. So I decided I've come this far, might as well paddle all the way home. Once the decision was made. I packed my boat in a hurry, and set off. It was a slow paddle. But I kept imagining my shower and bed, so it kept me going. Another crossing of a shipping lane. But timing was perfect and I just managed to set foot on land before it got dark.
Trip done. 110 km done in 2 and a half day. On my own. And I survived. The plan changed a bit as I went along. But I didn't mind. What I needed to get done. I got done. I had a very good training session covering everything from planning, camping, paddling, navigation and decision making. Being able to change plans along the way is important I think. And I really feel like I'm not as bad a paddler as I convinced myself before I went. So the mental training for this is worth more than anything.

And I've learned that paddling on your own can be quite rewarding and beautiful!


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Askøy Rundt

Living far away from each other and with quite different schedules it isn’t easy to find time to train together. By chance we were all in Bergen at the same time. Weather is said to be beautiful. The question comes up.. How do we use our time wisely? What do we want to do? Skills, distance? How much time do we have?

With good weather planned we decided to give Askøy rundt a go. Get some km covered as a team. 58km in a day is just enough to put us under stress as a team. And let us know where our personal limits are with regards to distance and time spent in the kayak. The trip is longer than what we plan to do on an average day so it makes it possible to train those distances and a bit more.

Around Ireland our tactics will be slightly different. Instead of counting distance every day we will be counting hours paddling. And then have a weekly distance goal in the back of our minds. This way if we don't make the distances we hope for we are not going to be disappointed if we have used the time in the boat. We aim to paddle six hours a day for the first two weeks and eight hours a day for the last four weeks. Having an easy start will be important to get our bodies used to paddling everyday. We of course hope for things to go well and being ahead of schedule will gain us rest days.

Starting off for Askøy rundt, using the first crossing from the boat house over to Kleppestø as a warm up. It will be important that we have a steady pace and not too fast. So we used the exercise of counting our paddle strokes in five minutes to have an idea of the frequency we were paddling. Here we are looking to have between 135-145 strokes.

Rounding the first corner on the south west coat is the decision maker. No turning back now. And we continue. The winds being very kind so us and giving us a gentle push in the back to ease us on our way. One of the challenges around Ireland will be to paddle with the same conditions all day. Most of our training trip have been going around something, or a to b and back to a; where the wind direction is changing. Where six to eight hours of the same weather; will be a challenge and hard to train for.

The length of Askøy was an ease. We had planned to stop every three hours but as we were rounding the top of Askøy breaks became more frequent. Tiredness and fatigue were definitely kicking in. But we were over halfway and just the journey back to go.

This is where the real training started. After 5 hours of paddling the hands started to become sore and the body a little tired. But one hour more and that’s an average day around Ireland in the first two week. As we get to the six hour mark it was great to feel ok.. A bit tired but yes we could do this.

The last hours were definitely slower than the first so we will need to train more in the tired zone to improve our endurance for the trip. Training for such expeditions there is no better than multi day trips with fully loaded kayaks. We can train as much as we want with empty kayaks or in the gym but what will prepare us the most is those practice expeditions.

We returned back to the boat house after ten hours and thirty seven minutes. The wind had amazingly followed us all the way around. We were happy.

Monday, 13 March 2017

About the team: Frida Halvorsen

Photo: Eirin Myklebust
Hi! I'm Frida, a 23 year old student from Bergen, Norway. I am now living and studying in Volda. As a friluftsliv (outdoor education) student, I spend most of my time outdoors, either studying, working or just fooling around, in the mountains or on the sea. 

Kayaking has been a part of my life for some years now. Even though it started out with just a few trips a year in school when I was 16; already then I loved it. It probably has to do with all the different feelings I can experience when kayaking. You can go into rough conditions with the adrenaline pumping, or enjoy the calmest conditions where the mountains are mirrored in the fjord. To me, paddling is a great and different way to experience nature, and you can get to places you can't reach without a kayak. It has also given me the opportunity to meet so many great, funny and helpful people with a lot of knowledge. I have learned a lot, not only about kayaking, but also nature, leadership and life in general. 

Being hooked on longer trips, or expeditions, I am always looking for and planning new adventures. A few years back I visited Ireland, and seeing the amazing coastline surrounding this island I knew I had to return again with a kayak. Talking to friends, the idea of circumnavigate the whole island came up. So, when I realised that Ashley and Vibeke also was up for doing this it was no doubt. We just have to give it a shot. It is exiting and scary to see that every day we are getting closer to starting our adventure. Soon we will be facing the raw power of the sea everyday, and to think of all the distance we are going to cover makes my stomach hurt a bit. Because of this it is with great humbleness I am now trying to preparing myself the best I can, knowing I am part of a brilliant team, and hoping I will be able to keep up. 

Photo: Eirin Myklebust
My motivation for this trip is wide. Off course experiencing the nature is a big part of it. I can't wait to eat lots of chocolate and at the same time getting some big muscles (hopefully). I bet there will be quite some weird unexpected things happening when we spend so much time close together, and I am sure that we will all have a crazy and pretty cool trip no matter how things turns out. 

When going on a trip like this it is possible to get some attention and people involved. For me it feels good to be able to use this opportunity to collect money for something like Barnekreftforeningen. Perhaps we and you can contribute to making days just a little bit easier for someone having a hard time. At least I hope so. 

- Frida

Friday, 3 March 2017

Training.. In progress...

Training for an expedition is quite interesting! Especially such a challenging one.
Being three very different personalities, with three very different lives and challenges, even living in different locations, we all have to take responsibility for our own everyday training.
In doing this, we also make sure the time we can find to train together is as efficient as possible.

Wintertime in Norway can be very rough. Snow, rain, freezing temperatures, wind, darkness and cold waters means things doesn’t always go according to plan. The will and possibility to be flexible is pretty important this time of year. To be able to still work as a team, in the midst of everyday struggles of school, work and different cities and to make sure everyone feels included and motivated, we really have managed to create an “open forum”. We talk every day, let everyone know what we have been up to, air our frustrations, thoughts and ideas. We share our experiences and knowledge and help out whenever possible. This way we can always feed off each others energy, and get the things we need done.

I mentioned earlier we all have different personalities. This also means we all prefer different training methods. Training on our own like this, means we all get to do what we find most efficient and rewarding. Frida is a student, I am a flight attendant away from home regularly and Ashley works regular hours. It’s a clear given that finding something that will suit all of us timewise and also enjoyable for all is pretty close to impossible, and would only create frustration. However we have realized that instead of stressing about our diversity and differences and seeing difficulty in this, maybe this is what makes our team so strong? We all have such strong and different things to bring to the table - why try to change this?

Frida is very active through her studies in outdoors pursuits. She also fills up her spare time with all sorts of adventures. Surfing, skiing, ice climbing, rock climbing the list goes on. And of course paddling. All these extreme sports through her spare time and schoolwork means she also does quite a bit of mental training. Through pushing her limits, learning and working in groups. This is one part of training not to be underestimated when going on a group expedition. Conclusion is that Frida has a very practical approach to training. Through doing the things she wants and love, she keeps fit and happy.
Ashley is the one of us spending most time on the water. All sorts of paddling. Loading the boat with weights for training, gunning into strong headwinds, technical training and long distance paddling. In addition there is some running, strength training and swimming going on. Ashley has the mental strength of a true athlete. Maybe it comes from her gymnast and training days, or maybe some people are just born that headstrong. If she decides to do something it surely gets done. This is also a way to prepare and train for a trip. Set challenging but doable goals, and make sure to finish no matter how tired you get. Ashley has a mix of practical and scientific approach to her training.

For me, my main challenge is that work takes me away from home (and boat) a lot. So i try to paddle as much as possible when I am home. Mostly long distance paddling. I also have a passion for surfski. So if in a crunch for time it’s nice and easy to take the light boat out and do some flatwater intervals or technical training. 30 min walk from home, it’s effortless and quick to get on and off the water. Also i’m lucky to have the option of gyms, pools to swim in, new areas to run in different cities and all sorts of inspiration when at work. My mind works best when thinking in a scientific way about training. I find my motivation when I can measure specific results, when I can learn new theories and have a fixed program to work by. I guess this means I am more scientific in my approach. There is a lot of analyzing and calculating going on in my training.

Still, paddling is a little bit special in the sense that you could be the fittest person, but still struggle to paddle long distance. There is a reason for the term “paddlefit”.
This is why time spent on the water always will be the most important training we do before we go over seas. It’s hard to prepare your body for paddling a marathon every day - for 40 days.
This means that the work we put in now before we go, is mostly to make the beginning of our trip more easy on our bodies and minds. It will make injuries less likely to happen, and we might have that little bit of extra energy to actually enjoy the adventure we are on as well.
The paddle fitness needed to complete in the days we have available will improve as we paddle on, and the days will hopefully get easier eventually.

If the approach each of us have chosen will work for us, we will not know until we get started and are well into our trip. That is a scary thought, but at the same time very motivating and interesting in the point of our planning and training we are at currently at.

We will all be giving it our best……


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Training: 5 months to go...

Planning and preparing for an expedition takes time, effort and commitment. Through the winter it has been useful to use our time asking for sponsorships, planning and organising. But now spring is closing in it is time to hit the gym and get the boat on the water.

There are lots of elements to consider; strength, endurance, paddle fitness.. The list is endless, there is always something to work on. And it is hard to get expedition fit before the expedition starts but hopefully the more hours we put in now the better our bodies will adjust when we set off from Dublin.

Yesterday Vibeke and I decided to use the weekend to get some km under our belt. We are aiming to be paddling around eight hours a day on our trip so as part of our training it will be beneficial to stretch the days out.. Loads the boats and set off for the day.

As our first long distance trip of the year we decided to give Øygarden a go. 60km round trip, gentle Northerly breeze, air temperature around -2℃. Almost perfect. Starting at Vik going anti clockwise. Dress and ready to hop on the water at 8. Knowing in the back of our minds there is a rugby match to get to by 1750.

So just as I put my boat on the water I see something floating on the water.. Mmm.. took a few seconds to recognise it was my compass which I hadn’t tied on yet.. Ops what to do? Reach it with the hand.. Not quite.. Bit more and you are in the water. Just when you remembered you went for the pants and jacket option today. So yes I was flapping around in the water and I did rescue the compass. Luckily the kokatat bibs small men's are made for someone slightly taller that me. So it benefited me this time that the bibs come up to my armpits and keeping the cold water our. After we both stopped laughing we set off.
As we are paddling along I thought to myself how beautiful is this. Clear sky, sun coming up, how about a picture. So I reach for the camera and try to turn it on. Nothing.. Sometimes it helps to take the battery out of things and put it back maybe it will work. As I open the camera out pours the water. Usually I'm pretty good at fixing things in the field but this problem nothing much to do.

It is brilliant on long distance trip how such small things make you happy. Just being able to stand up, stretch your back and have a toilet break. These are all things we are looking forward to. Lunch spot ahead. We scramble up the slipway and have a stretch.. Breathe in the fresh sea air.. What is that smell. Oh yes it is a box full of rotten fish just up wind. Lovely. That made it a quick break and back on the water.

The sun in Bergen doesn't often come out but this weekend has been gorgeous. Coming around the northerly tip of Øygarden the sun is beaming in you face. Sunglasses? Yes they would have been useful. The sun being very low this time of year became quite problematic. It made it very hard to see where we were going.. Luckily I did save the compass so following a bearing became almost essential to navigate through the cluster of islands. Often sun can cause sea sickness and heat stroke but this trip we discovered sunburn. We notice when our skin is getting burnt, but it was a first for eye burns. After an hour or two paddling into the sun Vibeke had been quite affected by her eyes being exposed too much to the sun. Red eyes, painful and itchy. Always a scare when it is to do with the eyes.

So we changed our course to the nearest exit but it was still an hour before getting on land. Vibeke managed to shade her eyes from the sun and paddle in pain for a little bit longer before we could call it a day.  

Every trip we go on there is always something to take from it. This trip we definitely learnt sunglasses are a big must have in the kayak. Sun cream even if it is -2 in February. Tie your compass onto your kayak before putting it on the water and making sure everything is working before you set off.

Vebeke is making a speedy recovery and hopefully next weekend we will be ready to try again.


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

About the team: Vibeke Steinvåg

When we set off on our expedition, I will have been paddling for exactly 3 years.
Not being so long ago, I can still remember clearly how I felt the first time I sat in a sea kayak. Peaceful, excited – I felt completely in love. And the feeling just grows stronger every time I go out.
There is no easy way to describe it. But for me, after many years away from home on the coast of northern Norway, I felt completely at ease. In touch with my heritage from generations of fishermen and outdoorsmen (and women). I got reminded of who I really am as a person, and what I already know. This was the activity I was meant to do.

In the process I was extremely lucky to meet and be invited to join very skillful and experienced paddlers, who not only very generously shared their knowledge and skills, but loaned me equipment and used their spare time to make me a better paddler. I am filled with gratitude, and  humbleness and honour to have been given such a gift and opportunity.

Through paddling I have found love and my best friends. This is where I am reminded of selflessness and generosity. And most of all the beauty and power of nature. Paddling is definitely so much more than a spare time activity. To me it’s a lifestyle and a mentality.

After some time paddling what I found most interesting and giving was long distance paddling, preferably as fast as possible, both in sea kayak and surfski.
I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after pushing myself and my boundaries, and it suits my slightly competitive nature.
This is why when Ashley asked if I would be interested in joining this expedition I felt very excited and honoured.....And petrified.
But loosing my mother to cancer when she was still quite young, not even 50 years old, I made her a promise to always do my best to live life to the fullest and never take great opportunities for granted. I had no choice but to say YES!

For me it made sense to support a cancer related charity, and I am so proud to see people are already supporting our chosen charity: Barnekreftforeningen.

I am SO excited to join these incredible strong and skillful young ladies on this amazing adventure.


About the team: Ashley Williams

I fell in love with kayaking when I moved to Norway in 2010. My first encounter with kayaking was playing around on the fjords where I lived along with some friends who had a bit more experience. I was then asked if I'd like to join a paddle festival that same year to take a beginner course.
I went along to the festival where I met many experienced paddlers, this was an eye opener for me. Getting to know new people, learn all the amazing things they had done and even more to be able to learn from them. It was great. I was hitched.. And I still am.

Ireland Circumnavigation has been in the back of my mind for a while. Have talked about it with a few friends and then September Frida and I met for the storm gathering in Beaulandet and again the conversation came up. Ireland Circumnavigation? What do you think.. And we got to the point where you decide.. Let's stop talking about this and let's do it. So that's where it all began.

Having also talked about the Ireland dream with Vibeke a few times it was great to say come on we are doing this. And there we have it; team of three all committed to circumnavigating Ireland. This is where the planning began.

There are many motivations for the trip. Firstly I look forward to the challenge. I enjoy having a challenge and every now and then it is ok to push yourself that little bit further.. Mm.. So Ireland it is. It is motivating to be a team of three ladies. Men still dominate most sports so come on girls we can do this too. There has been inspiring women around Ireland and it would be honorable to be there on the list with them too.

What's great is that we can use this opportunity to raise money for Barnekreftforeningen. This is a big motivation to raise as much money as we can to support the children's cancer charity and raise awareness.

I am looking forward to fulfilling our goal. I am looking forward to every headland we will go around, the variety of conditions we will tackle and the challenges the trip will bring. This will be hard work but it is also my holiday so I'm looking forward to the laughs and the tent talks and of course the occasional Guinness.


Monday, 2 January 2017

Seakayaking for Barnekreftforeningen

Seakayaking for Barnekreftforeningen

Vi er et team bestående av 3 Teddybjørner og 3 kvinnelige havpadlere som planlegger en ekspedisjon sommeren 2017. Målet vårt er å padle 1500 kilometer rundt kysten av Irland, som første registrerte norske kvinner og norske team.

Vi var alle enige om at vi ville bruke denne anledningen til og samtidig forsøke på en innsamlingsaksjon for Barnekreftforeningen. Vi håper derfor at alle som vil følge oss gjennom planleggingen, treningen og turen, og som tenker at dette er et spennende prosjekt, gjerne vil støtte oss i vår sak gjennom å donere til Barnekreftforeningen. Vi gleder oss!

Sjekk for oppdateringer på vår facebookside og blog.

Det vil og bli mulig å følge oss via GPS gjennom hele turen i sommer.

Making plans..

Teddies on Tour will be a team of teddies circumnavigating Ireland. They will be escorted by a team of female Kayakers representing Norway.

We are a team of female sea kayakers planning an expedition circumnavigating Ireland summer 2017.

Motivations for our trip are to explore and discover the coastline of Ireland. Meet local people, discover local cultures and get close to the elements.
In connection with our trip we would like to raise money for a children’s cancer charity ‘Barnekreftforeningen’. We would like to promote women in sport and being active. We also hope to inspire new people to start kayaking and becoming active by sharing our motivation, determination and passion for the outdoors.

Team members:

Frida Halvorsen

Vibeke Steinvåg

Ashley Williams

Each of us will represent a mascot teddy. Hence "Teddies on Tour."