THE SHETLAND BUS TEAM
The first kayak crossing from Shetland to Norway
Success at the second attempt
‘The Larsen’ with Patrick Winterton and Olly Hicks on board landed at 1930 Friday 19th July after 62 hours at sea. The North Sea has now been paddled. A big thank you to all of you who followed the trip and especially to those who kindly donated to the RNLI and ‘Make a Wish”. Thanks also to the weather Gods who gave us force 4-6 winds for the entire crossing, favourable ones. 140 Km in 18 hours on day one meant there was no possibility of returning but it also meant we only had to endure two nights out. A week down the line we’re recovered and contemplating the next move.
It takes more than two adventurous souls to achieve this sort of crossing and we are grateful to our sponsors for their support, enthusiasm and for seeing some value in these pursuits. We may be pushing the limits of sea kayaking unnecessarily but in doing so we’ve learnt how to make this sport safer and have developed systems that will enable people to survive an unexpected night out.
Our thanks to:
Williamson & Lifeboat Tea
Chris Reed and Julie Beattie : Reed Chillcheater
Lisa Kincaid : Kokatat
Liz Foreshaw : P&H
Rob Felloy : Kirton Kayaks
Dave Wheeler : Meteo expert, Fair Isle
Dave Philips : Shetland coastguard
The Out Skerries community
Jan Kara Andreassen : kayak repatriation
The Support crew. Cathy, Charles, Virginia, Knut, Tonja, Virginia, Arne
If anyone wants to hear about the trip Patrick and Ollie are more than happy to oblige
If it continues to raise funds for our charities. We note we still haven’t raised as much as when we failed to get across!! Work to do..
Contact : 07803264734
IN AID OF
Route: Shetland - Norway
Transport: Double Sea Kayak
Date: Mid Summer 2013
Weather permitting the paddlers will leave Lerwick in mid July 2013. They will go directly to Lunna Voe, the base for the Shetland Bus, and then start the unsupported crossing to Norway stopping only at the Out Skerries for a brief rest. The first section of the crossing will concentrate on making it into the oilfields, these will need to be negotiated with extreme care, not to mention the high numbers of supply ships in the area. With 44 Nautical miles to go the team will check their position and make a course for the 'Shetland Bus' commemorative statue in the centre of the city of Bergen. This is to signify the number of men lost and recognize the heroic efforts of so many of the Norwegian fishermen who survived despite the fact that their boats were sunk by enemy aircraft.
It is unlikely that our average speed will be in excess of 5.6 kph (3 knots) and therefore the team is preparing for a minimum of three nights out on the waves.
The Team is equipped with a slightly modified double Kirton/Inuk sea kayak carrying enough supplies of food and water for seven days. Sat phones, Yellowbrick atellite trackers, GPS, EPIRB, flares, dry suits, are compulsory. Throughout the crossing sat-phone contact will be made with base every 12 hours to pin point position & get weather reports. We expect to get between 2-4 hours rest in each 24 hour period.
As far as possible we will drink every 20 minutes, eat every hour and take a twenty minute cat nap every four hours. The best way to stay warm at night is to paddle but that is also the best way to make yourself seasick. We'll probably try to paddle through the darkest 2-3 hours provided it is calm enough to do so. Then we will sleep one at a time in the daytime when it is warmer - provided it is calm enough. Insulated cockpits, Blizzard Survival heat packs and Reed kayak canopies will provide the heat & shelter we need.
Taking on the North Sea is a serious undertaking in most boats. In a sea kayak it is a daunting prospect. Traveling at an average of less than 3 knots means that the two paddlers will take at least 84 hours. Four days and three nights. Squeezed into wet cockpits with little escape from the elements and no opportunity for good sleep this is as much a test of mental strength as it is physical. The North Sea is notoriously rough with a constant barrage of steep breaking waves and water that gets little warmer than 10 degrees. Staying upright will be hard enough but the major problems are the cold, injury, sea sickness and shipping. Perhaps the biggest concern is ensuring they both stay awake during the dreaded hours of darkness.
There are many cultural links between Shetland and Norway that find their roots in Viking times. One story that is relatively fresh in the minds of both Shetlanders and Norwegians is that of the 'Shetland Bus'.
After the German occupation of Norway in WW2 a small, essentially non military, operation was set up between Shetland and the West Coast of Norway to ferry agents, saboteurs and arms into Norway and to aid refugees in their escape. Norwegian fishing boats and fishermen were used to make repeated crossings of the notoriously inhospitable North Sea, with a mix of success and tragedy. Their actions were crucial in forcing Germany to base a quarter of a million troops in Norway but the cost of this success was high with many boats sunk and with the loss of the lives of 44 of the Shetland Bus Crews. Despite this there was never a lack of willingness to set out on a mission. Of all the dangers they faced they knew that the wild conditions of the North Sea was by far the greatest threat to their survival. We are celebrating and commemorating the courage, the seamanship and the remarkable ability of many like Leif Larson to survive again and again, against the odds.
Patrick Winterton © 2011
Contact Patrick on 07803 264734 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org