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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


Tent Breaking gales!
Friday, July 14, 2006

OK, back at Torshavn library! So, on Tuesday we started paddling up the beautiful cliffs by VestManna and the wind was gradually picking up. High cirrus clouds had appeared in the morning and the pressure was starting to drop so we knew that something was happening with the weather. We decided to land at Saksun which is an amazing feature. Steep cliffs suddenly give way to a 200metre wide valley, which extends about a mile deep to a lake at the community of Saxsun. You can only paddle right to Saxun at high tide and it was low tide when we arrived. We half paddled, half dragged the kayaks about half way up the river until we saw a very flat patch of grass on the side of the valley that we could camp on. This was still about half a mile from Saxun itself, but it was easier than dragging the kayaks further and looked like a pretty place. It was an exposed spot, but so was everywhere in the valley. That evening we cooked 2 of our fish we'd caught and then tried to get an early night so we could paddle with the tide early the next day. But gradually the winds picked up and picked up and there was no way we could get to sleep. Alun kept getting up and anchoring the tent down and making sure that things were inside the tent or packed away. It was an incredible feeling because the air would be completely still and then suddenly an incredible gust would hit the tent and bend the poles and the fabric right over our heads. We´d have to shoot our hands out from the sleeping bag and hold the fabric back to protect the tent from breaking. Throughout the night, the pressure was dropping and the wind just kept on coming. At one point a gust picked up my kayak ( which is not light!) and dropped the back of it onto Alun's kayak, right on top of his precious Greenland paddle. Both boat and paddle were OK, but Alun brought the paddle into the tent after that and we tied the kayaks together. We later found out that the wind reached 29 meters per second and is not normal for a summer storm. (I've just looked this up on the internet and it is a force 11 wind, or 65 miles/hour. The Beaufort scale says "widespread damage to structures"!) The upshot of it was that at 11am the next morning, after over 12 hours of gale force winds, a huge gust hit the tent and we heard a pole snap. I was really impressed with the VE-25 North Face tent and don't think it is to blame for the breakage, it was just an incredibly violent and sudden wind. I have a metal tube designed to put over a breakage in the pole and I tried to put this on the break during the storm, but it was very difficult so we decided we better take the tent down to avoid more damage.

We took it in turns to hold the tent up while the other one packed everything away, then we walked up to Saxun and found some locals who would let us sleep in their sheep shed for the night, where we mended the pole and managed to finally get some sleep. we hitched to Torshavn the next day where we are enjoying being normal tourists for a while! We even stayed in a hotel for the night!

It's still windy but not nearly so bad so we hope to continue paddling to the northern islands tomorrow.

Thank you very much to 3 arin
for letting us upload all of our pictures on their shop computer for the last hour or so!! Come here for all your photo, music and dvd needs!!


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