Day 33, Kivik to Åhus, 34,7 km, average 5,2 km/hr.
Possibly, hopefully the last day of winter paddling. If so, the winter did not go gently. We got off to a planned late start at 1110. The wind was SE 6-7 m/s and expected to fall. Swell was quite heavy and we set off with about 1 m waves with frequent breakers. The wind was toward shore and we had to spend part of our effort to keep away from shore. None of this problematic, but very slow progress.
After about 2,5 hrs slow progress, the wind was not falling, maybe increasing. Occasionally there were brown murky waters indicating rip currents away from shore, this created even more confused seas and 1,5 m breakers were common. Nothing problematic, but exhausting. We decided to go to shore to try to wait out the weather.
There were no ports, harbors, or inlets. So we had to land to shore through the surf. Which is tricky. The kayak is easily tipped over when the water becomes vertical. Stein got in first in good style. Erling was not as adept, and suddenly found himself upside down. Just as the roll was righting the boat, his thigh slipped off the thigh brace. Back into the water one hand on oar, one on boat to get back into position. Sensing some drag in the water from the bottom. Better get out. Reed gloves a bit slippery, struggling to release spray deck. Let go of oar, use both hands. And there, wading the boat to shore in thigh deep water. All of this took less than 10 seconds (out of 2 min available). So no real stress, but some intense moments. Well onshore Stein went recognizing for some shelter, while Erling was emptying his boots and cringing water out of his cap.
Big success. Stein called at the door of Eva and Bo Andersson. They promptly invited us in, and served us bread, eggs, coffee. Luxury! And there was more to come, Eva put something to warm in the frying pan; meat balls, but no ordinary meat balls: They were made from wild boar, which Bo had hunted on their own farm a bit more inland. A memorable couple of hours, for the food, but foremost for the hospitality.
The clock was going on 16, so we hoped the wind had come down. Time to leave. Eva and Bo accompanied us to the launch. The wind had come down, if not by much. Waves were longer period, surf less brutal. We managed to paddle out through the surf through about seven breakers.
So far so good. But it soon became clear that progress was inadequate still spending too much effort staying away from shore.
Then Stein had his second super inspired moment of that day: Further up the shore there would be an inlet to what promised to be an interior waterway to Åhus. After a couple of hours the inlet appeared. Very inviting, except for one thing; the inlet acted as a funnel for the waves, and set up a series of breakers on the way in. Olly and Barrie if you read this: This was just like Wales, except the water was moving us forward. And it is down to your patient coaching, that we managed the two minute ride in without incident or even the hint of one. Great relief to be in calm waters! The clock was already nearly 1900 and more 15 km to go partly upstream. Sun would set in an hour. Just paddle on. Making a longish story short, we made it to Åhus at 2130. After a more than an hour of paddling in darkness. At one point the channel got so narrow and filled with obstacles like fallen trees, that we worried it would not be passable. But luckily we made it through. No bigger craft than our kayaks would have been able to pass.
Another night at a hotel. We passed out at about 2300. After a long and varied day. With some good learning.
Jeepers that was a little too much action for our liking!
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A rough day which also brought some nice experiences. It is a bad wind that does not bring something good for somebody. Very exciting to follow you day by day. Thank you, Erling and Stein!
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Wow, some dramatic incidences there…. The winter is holding its cold claws over the most of Scandinavia this spring, but hopefully the weather will change to the better. But if it was easy then it wasn’t that interesting for us distant viewers – sitting in our warm office/homes enjoying the tuff ride.
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