We are firm believers in the maxim, if its not frozen, then it can be paddled ! Here at PolarQuest, we are paddlers at heart and during the long Arctic Summers of 24 hour daylight we can be found exploring the literally thousands of stunning and wild islands that make up the Norwegian coastline, North of the Arctic Circle.
In 2007, missing our home waters of Alaska, we started paddling trips to several locations on our local shores in Norway, discovering some absolutely stunning kayaking locations and for almost all levels of kayaking skills.
After a hiatus of a few seasons, we are now back offering paddle expeditions & courses for 2019 both in our old haunts and also to add some new venues. We are also excited to be able to add our new 40ft aluminium sailboat to the program that can act as a safety and support vessel, transport kayaks & equipment while allowing us far greater flexibility to explore even wilder paddle destinations...not to mention being able to enjoy fresh baked bread from the galley in even the most wildest of places !
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Experienced paddle group or guide with your own clients ? We are happy to provide logistics to several Norwegian locations to independent guides & groups. We can provide a support vessel, kayaks, camping equipment, charts and of course local knowledge to many stunning locations. Please feel free to contact us for info or simply to share ideas !
Arctic Circle Sea Kayaking Expeditions 2019. Norway.
Join one of our 7 day Expeditions in Northern Norway. We are now in our tenth season guiding expeditions to the wildest locations here, each year finding and adding new and exciting places to paddle. Our expeditions are suitable for both novice and experienced paddlers. Expeditions are all shore based, wild camping, however we operate all expeditions form our 40ft expedition sailboat that acts as “mothership” to our trips and allows us to extend our paddling area as well as offering a huge additional safety & comfort factor to our operation.
This season, we will offer 5 expeditions. Two in the Helgeland Archipelago, region spanning the Arctic Circle and comprising of hundreds of wild and dramatic islands, deserted beaches and unlimited mountain hiking. Two trips in Lofoten, an area that even a cursory search on Google will give you an idea why we paddle there and one expedition in the deep, glacier fed fjords North of the Arctic Circle. Each expedition different, each one wild and dramatic and in our opinion, probably the best wilderness sea kayaking to be found in Europe, if not the World !
Depending on which expedition you choose, you will be able to join our expedition at a convenient air, rail or ferry hub from Oslo. Our sailboat carries all the kayaks when they are not paddled, and all our expedition food stores and serves to support our on water paddle groups. It also allows the small luxuries such as daily fresh bread and oven cooked meals direct to our on shore camps. It also gives us a great safety platform in the event of bad weather and a comfortable, safe haven for anyone who may find the daily paddling demands a little rough on the odd day. Our boat is equipped with all the latest safety equipment in addition to modern communications equipment an an internet capacity for up to date daily weather forecasts along with the ability to move expedition members & kit to new locations easily if weather should so determine. Our expeditions are very much sea kayaking expeditions, just supported by a fantastic floating resource !
All expeditions include the following:
Current season/model expedition sea kayak, equipped with skeg/rudder, paddle (choice of asymmetric or Greenland style) spare paddle, buoyancy jacket, spray deck, wetsuit or drysuit & paddle jacket, neoprene poggies, pump, sponge, map of each days route, safety flare kit, handheld VHF radio.
For camping we supply each individual or couple with a spacious expedition quality tent, sleeping mat (you will need to bring your own sleeping bag)
Our on shore tent camps also include a huge communal geo dome tent that we use as a cook tent, dining area and social gathering area.
All this kit is transported camp to camp on board the boat. Expedition members just paddle with a day kit and essential safety kit.
Paddle group sizes will be a maximum of five(5) persons including one guide along with two crew members on board the boat. Boat and paddle group maintain radio contact throughout each paddling day.
We provide two full meals per day and plenty food/snacks during each days paddling. Meals are largely prepared in the communal on shore tent but supplemented by some baked foods from the boat...we make it a priority to eat well !
About the expeditions:
We could write books on the merits of paddling here in North Norway ! Please take some time to Google the locations we describe below as there is a wealth of great images out there, far more than we have capacity for here. You can also use a great online map with stunning satellite imagery of almost all the coastal areas we paddle in, right down to individual beaches we camp on ( https://kart.finn.no/)
Again, Google this area. From a paddlers perspective, its an absolute gem. Hundreds of islands clustered in one archipelago, all with the backdrop of the big, alpine peaks of the Norwegian mainland. Here the nature of the paddling is mostly sheltered between narrow channels and shallow bays. Prolific bird life, porpoise on an almost daily basis and fresh fish on demand. The camps are all sheltered, beach top locations and easy hiking on each island. On this trip we visit a few of the small villages dotted on various islands including the dramatic and primordial offshore islands of Traena if the weather allows us to cross the Traenafjord. Days are mostly spent exploring and circumnavigating many islands, all very diverse in character and offering a variety of paddling types. We would recommend this as the expedition to join if you are a relative novice sea kayaker of a first time paddler to Norway or high latitude, cold water locations. Also (although they all are) great if you are into photography, bird and marine wildlife. We`ve been paddling here for a decade, still discovering awesome new beaches and islands and it never gets old ! As elswhere in Norway, we are blessed with a somewhat warm gulfstream, warm water current. For this reason we provide several options from lightweight wetsuits to paddle in to drysuits on cold days.
Google again is your friend !, then you`ll see why this is a favorite for the expedition paddler. Here we explore some truly wild and Arctic islands, all the time below the mighty Lofoten Wall...and endless array of picture perfect Alpine peaks. Arriving by plane from Oslo in Bodo, you will take a ferry across to meet with us and the boat in the South of Lofoten, from here, paddling approx 20km each day to a new wild camp. We split our paddling between the somewhat sheltered East shore and the rugged and very exposed, West shore. This is a truly expedition that whilst we have an overall paddle plan, we often have to adapt daily, even hourly, depending on the weather, weather that can range from picture perfect blue to full on Arctic gale in a matter of hours. Here you will value the expedition tents and proximity of our mothership ! This expedition, we would recommend more to the already experienced and confident sea paddler who wants to experience this unique and special place and/or who is aspirant to paddle even more remote and expeditionary locations or perhaps join one of our Greenland expeditions (this is a fantastic training/intro pre Greenland !) Water temps out here are generally a bit colder than Helgeland and its more usual to paddle in a drysuit here in all but exceptionally hot days.
Arctic Circle Fjords:
This expedition covers the mainland region of the Arctic Circle and offers some challenging crossings between various capes, all subject to very changing conditions influenced by the truly huge mountains and glaciers we paddle below. Daily paddle distances are generally in the 20km per day region, as Lofoten, but sea states can also influence those distances a lot and how easy any given day is. Like Lofoten, this trip would suit confident and experienced paddlers more than novice paddlers. Whilst we have the sail boat in support, much of the coastline we traverse, is wild and exposed between fjords. Inside the fjords, one can expect calm conditions, huge plunging waterfalls from cliffs tops above, abundant wildlife & marine life, whales, eagles etc and campsites in wild, alpine terrain. Also great for any paddler/climber combos, with everything from camp site granite bouldering & slabs to multi pitch walls on the best granite on the planet ! (we have an extensive selection of trad gear/ropes etc on board the boat !)
Skill level requirements:
The diversity of each of the locations described above is hard to fully describe. Please do your homework on these regions and consider both what it is you would like to experience and of course, your paddling abilities. We are happy to answer questions about all the locations and help you to best decide the expedition you will gain most from. We are committed paddlers and adventurers here and it is our singular goal to give everyone that joins one of our expedition, the very best experience possible and in a safe manner. If you are unsure of your paddling abilities, please to let us know and we can help you assess that. Generally, for our Helgeland Archipelago Expedition, we would expect you to have several weekends flat or ocean kayaking experience under your belt, and to be comfortable to paddle for up to four hours in a day, be confident on wet exits of a kayak and have a basic confidence in paddle support strokes. Prior to all expeditions, we do have an orientation session with each paddler to determine what level you are confident with and what areas we can work on during the expedition to improve your overall paddling effectiveness. Whilst we are not primarily offering an instruction course, we do want everyone to be safe, comfortable and confident in their paddling and we will endeavor as much as possible to assist you to refine paddle skills during your time with us.
Expedition dates 2019
Helgeland/Vega: June 2-9 / June 16 - 23 / June 30 - July 7
Lofoten Islands: July 14- 21 / July 17-24
Arctic Fjords: July 30- Aug 6 / Aug 11- 18
(please let us know if you have difficulty to meet on these specific dates as we do have a degree of flexibility on all expeditions and can often arrange pick up/drop off in between these dates)
Price per person: 1700 Euro
Duration: 7 days
Start points: Mo I Rana/Nesna (Helgeland/Vega) Stamsund – (Lofoten) Bodo/Mo I Rana (Arctic Fjords)
Expert guiding, all kayak related equipment, drysuit/wetsuits,safety equipment, all meals, tents & camping equipment, dry bags.
Travel costs to start point, travel insurance, sleeping bag.
All expeditions are limited to a maximum of five(5) paddlers. Our expeditions book up very quickly so please do contact us as soon as possible if you are interested in joining us and need more information. Booking and payment is straightforward and we will send you a booking form & payment details once you have made your choice and decision to join us. We request a 50% deposit on booking and a final payment 3 weeks prior to expedition dates. On receipt of booking/deposit, you will receive a PDF file that includes a comprehensive list of exactly what we provide and what you should bring, maps and other information about the paddling area, objectives and options ,along with a list of links you can explore that will help to familiarize you with our destination area and what to expect.
Booking: Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you payment details and our initial PDF fact pack. Questions are good, so please do not hesitate to ask them !