Kayaking Norway’s Largest Fjords, Part 1

4-minute read

Aqua Bound Ambassador Joachim Larssen is no stranger to marathon sea kayak expeditions. He gives us a peek inside his Fjords of Norway trip of 2023 when he began his quest to kayak Norway’s ten longest fjords.

 Joachim Larssen kayaking in Norway in calm waters at dusk

Joachim Larssen in a Norwegian fjord

Aqua Bound: How did you get started kayaking?

JOACHIM: I bought my first kayak at 13, and stuck close to land along the coast of Nesodden, some of the most protected waters in Norway. No one knows why I wanted a kayak. I didn't know anyone that kayaked and I didn't have many friends at this time. That was actually going to change as I found my first group of friends.

I probably did around 10 trips before a friend borrowed it. I don’t remember what happened to my kayak after that.

Over the years I started spending less time in nature and the sea. I became a workaholic in Oslo. Nature was switched out with concrete. But then I had a dream that changed everything! It's around 14 years ago now since I had the dream that eventually took me to Thailand for my first long kayak excursion.

sea kayak on the shore of a fjord in Norway

Along shore in one of Norway's fjords

AB: Why did you decide to take on kayaking Norway's biggest fjords?

JOACHIM: I was a little homesick while I was kayaking the Swedish coast and I felt I had more to explore along Norway, especially in the north. Sweden is really nice to kayak but in this case, the Norwegian coast has so much more to offer with our fjords and sea life.

I started from the Swedish border on the first of March and stopped a little north of Stad on the 13th of July. I kayaked solo but got a little help from Aktiv.as, Norse, LevelSix, Aqua Bound and Nilz & Otto Grafisk AS with equipment.

Torgeir and Kjetil at Aktiv.as and Norse gave me help along the way with advice on places to see. When I had new problems with equipment Torgeir showed up to help.

The plan was to kayak the ten longest fjords of Norway. The first one is the Oslofjord but winds from the north slowed me down and the temperature dropped to -16 C in the fjord. So I decided to finish that one at a later time.

Map of Norway showing the first 5 fjords Joachim kayaked 

The next were Boknafjorden, Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord (see map above). I ended with Nordfjord before crossing to Stad where a kind kayaker named Sindre Slettestøl (whom I met in 2019 when I kayaked Norway up and down) had offered to store Ymir until the spring.

I didn't make it as far as I wanted on this trip but I made it past Stad. So I was happy with where I ended up.

See Joachim’s blog post: The Fjords of Norway: The 2023 Adventure!

Watch his drone video of Sognefjord, Norway’s longest fjord (226 kilometers). He kayaked its entire length in and out:

AB: What surprised you the most about your Fjords of Norway expedition?

JOACHIM: The 100 shades of blue you get when you kayak the fjords in the twilight. This is my favorite time to kayak and next year I will be far enough north to have the midnight sun with the whales, sharks and dolphins!

AB: What was the most challenging aspect of your trip?

JOACHIM: The cold. This is where I struggle the most and is part of the reason I wanted to start early—to challenge myself where I struggle the most. I had a snowstorm, -9 Celsius and I spent all my days outside with my Ticket to the Moon hammock.

I am really happy with my hammock setup—no problems at all. On all my other trips I have struggled with broken tent poles and zippers.

 hammock camp set-up

Joachim’s hammock camp set-up

This coming winter I am going to invest in a large tent I can live in and challenge myself some more!

AB: What are you looking forward to next?

JOACHIM: The north and wildlife are what I am looking forward to—my favorite part of Norway! It’s more remote and has less boat traffic. I want to explore every inch of the coast from Norkinn to Grense Jacobs River, in all the fjords and around all the islands.

Joachim Larssen in his sea kayak in one of Norway's fjords

Online, Joachim is known as Shibby Traveler. You can follow him on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. All photos courtesy of Joachim Larssen.

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