Day 44. 14th April. From Fågeludden to Em. 39.2 km, 6.2 km/hr average speed.
Even less wind today, we left Fågeludden in fair weather and set course for Timmernabben, where Google told us we would find a grocery store. We needed to stock up for the next four days, until the next rest day.
Using Google maps we could land at the spot with the shortest walking distance. This tool and even more the super accurate weather forecasts, makes life much easier for us than for long distance paddlers from the age before the smart phone. Thanks to Mr. Jobs.
After shopping and a first break of the day, we set out to navigate our way north. We took some chances on crossings, which looked plausible on Google Earth, but were not clearly mapped on our GPS maps. This time we were in luck (as opposed to Kristanopel). Although we had to do some paddling in very shallow waters, through walls of willows. At times we had to get out and pull the boats. This does not increase average speed, but it makes for a more interesting day’s paddle.
For the last two days we have paddled through a scenic landscape of willows, juniper, oak and pine trees, with grasslands in between. Apparently, EU has granted about 10 million euros to clear the shrubbery and restore the islands to grazing lands. The work is well underway, and we guess the grazing animals will soon be shipped out to the islands. So far we have seen none.
Most of the wildlife we see are birds. Tens of thousands of ducks is seems, and literally thousands of swans, gathered in huge flocks in shallow coves. And today yet another eagle. About 1730, we passed Mönsterås paper mill, clouds hid the sun, it got chilly and we started looking for a campsite for the night.
Eventually we came to Em, where a small river enters the sea. We found a nice place to land and went ashore to look for someone we could ask for permission. We first met Alexander and Angelica, and they explained that we must ask in the “big white house”. In our paddling gear we set out on the 500 m walk. We almost waded through flocks of half tame deer.
When we saw the house “big” was an apt description. We noticed numerous fishers along the river, with fly fishing rods twice the length of a kayak. We found the main entrance, but only echo when we stuck our head in and called. It was sort of a hotel, but apparently, everyone had gone fishing. Finally, we met two fishermen coming back to the lodgings. They advised us to speak to Mr. K about permission to tent, and pointed us to his house. We have to say one thing about Mr. K. He was short and to the point: “No. This is private land. Go find yourself a camping.”
On the way back we met Angelica and Alexander again, and explained the outcome. We got back into the kayaks, but just as we paddled out Angelica came running and said they had a room in the shed. It would be cold. We just asked; does the room have a floor? It had. With two beds to boot. Perfect. We were very happy to avoid another hours cold paddle.
And it is hereby reconfirmed, hospitality and generosity is not correlated with the size of the house or the wallet. It’s about an attitude of generosity. Which we have experienced many times the last 44 days, and again from Angelica and Alexander today.