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My first expedition

By sea kayaker… Markus Wiggen

About the author… Markus is now seven-years old and lives at Senja, which is Norway’s second largest Island. This story is from two years ago with Markus is in his second season as a Sea Kayaker. He got his own sea kayak, named ‘Lightning’ (because it is fast as lightning) and he only uses a Greenland paddle.

This is the story of his first expedition…

At last the day has come – I am going on my first expedition!
We have been talking and planning this expedition for a year now. I have been on the water many times this year, so the expedition has been expanded in many ways since the first planning. Now we were up for a real challenge – we are going distance!

Last year I paddled my dad’s Ivalu, a Greenland kayak. A super awesome kayak, but it was way too long for me and almost impossible to turn left and right. I was in need of a kayak for my size plus a drysuit. The wetsuit I used was OK for an hour or so but not to for an expedition.

Wiggen Senja

If adult paddlers use top notch equipment, then me also being a sea kayaker – I wanted to have top notch gear as well! I had to have a talk to my friend Alf, who owns the local kayak shop Alfa Fritid in Tromsø. He was the right man to sort this out!

So off we went to Tromsø, and as usual I was welcomed by Alf with a ‘high five.’ He asked my dad and Wivian to do something else, while us boys found the gear I was in need of. Don’t let the grown ups pick your gear – you can do this by yourself!

So this is the gear ended up with: Prijon Seayak Junior, a kayak that is made for rough use – and kids need that! Yeah, we need to learn how to take care of our gear, but that must not be the main focus – paddling and fun is our number one priority! You don’t want to be afraid of paddling into a rock!

This kayak has a net for emergency gear in the bow (this means you can have candy in a waterproof bag located there) and you need some of that stuff on an expedition. It has one hatch in the stern, for my own gear such as sleeping bag, mat, candy and other things you need It also has safety ropes all around so you can do rescues. Doing a cowboy scramble with this kayak is no problem!

Wiggen Senja

Drysuit
Alf found a nice red drysuit for me – a Sandiline Pro and it’s always nice to have gear called ‘pro’. The suit has braces on the inside so it does not feel too big, is reinforced in several places for rough use and is a junior size, which means I can use it several years. I have been doing some rescues with it, swum with it and it’s a thumbs up from me – recommended gear!

Paddle
My dad and Wivian persuaded me to use a Greenland paddle, which I like a lot. It does not matter which way you hold it, just grab it and paddle – it’s smooth and it looks cool! The paddle is made by the famous Danish paddler living in Norway, Anders Thygesen. Hope to paddle and show him a trick or two someday as watching dad and Wivian, it seems like you can do some really cool stuff with it. You can even roll a kayak holding the paddle under the hull. Hey, I want to learn that stuff soon!

PFD
I chose a PFD from Baltic. It has a pocket in the front for my camera, and its comfy on my body. PS! Always wear a PFD!

IMG_5206

So I have the gear I need, let’s get on the water…
My dad picked me up from kindergarten on Friday afternoon, and ‘Lightning’ was on the roof – I couldn’t wait! We went home, had a quick meeting and a brief about the expedition. I had to be part of the planning process and write down what I had to bring. I packed my gear into my own waterproof bags, had a short stop to buy some food and was then go all the way.

We launched our kayaks from a friends, with the distance of the first paddle being 4km – and what a day! The sun was very low with no clouds and the water was completely flat! We just paddled slowly and enjoyed the moment – this is just the coolest thing to do – ever!

We had planned to go to an island, but as we were getting close we saw some people there, so we changed our plans and found another island and this one was even better. I mounted the tent with dad, while Wivian had her night bath. She asked us about doing the same, but we were busy… We were starving, so we had dinner early. Real Turmat (Real Meal) with pasta is my favourite and it’s ready in five minutes!

Wiggen Senja

So I crawled into my sleeping bag at the same time as dad and Wivian after enjoying the heat from the campfire and watching the sun go down.

Expedition rules:
You can stay up as long as you like. You can eat as much candy as you want (as long as you can paddle the next day).

Next day we woke up to the very same nice weather. Calm water, sun and no clouds. We had a planning meeting and decided to paddle to ‘Hamn’ to buy ice cream before we went home, however, before I could paddle we had to do ‘lesson of the day’.

First Wivian did a swimming exercise with me wearing a drysuit, then some fun stuff and finally Wivian showed me how to do a Cowboy scramble. When it was my turn to do the Cowboy scramble, my dad tried to explain how to do it, but that was not necessary. I had seen it once and that was enough for me. It’s cool to be able to get in the kayak by myself. It gives me more confidence and I feel safer.

Wiggen Senja

Let’s go get some ice cream
We paddled about 4km to ‘Hamn’ and it was cool eating ice cream sitting in the kayak. A lot of people were smiling at me and taking photos.

Now though, the expedition was almost over but there was still 4km to get to the car and I was getting pretty tired. My dad had to help me a little, but hey, I am only five years old! This is a long distance for me.

Getting back to the car I was pleased and very proud of what I had done. Seeing the faces of my dad and Wivian and I think they were even prouder.

If you ever paddle at Senja, and see a red Prijon kayak it’s probably me. Drop by and have a talk!

See you on the water.
Markus

Wiggen Senja

About thepaddlerezine (554 Articles)
Editor of The Paddler ezine and Publisher of Stand Up Paddle Mag UK and WindsurfingUK magazines

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