Day 60. 30th of April. Sandskär (Hanko) to Bjurs. 54.3 km, 6.0 km/hr average speed.
We knew it would be a long day. If we wanted a roof over our heads, we needed to go all the way to Bjurs. 54 km. We did really want a roof over our heads and the chance to dry up our things. We have been paddling six days since Stockholm so it is time for a rest day, and the weather forecast says it will be a wait on weather day anyway.
We decided to save the “go out in torrential rains in the middle of the night to secure the tent” exercise for later. It will come soon enough.
We started out in fog and reduced visibility. That makes navigation in an archipelago more difficult and slows us down. The low average speed of today is down to that, plus some current against us and some headwind for the last half of the day.
At one point we had to go through a steel pipe under a small road. Stein chose to send his kayak trough and walk over. Erling thought it was possible to follow the current through. It was, but it was no good idea. A kayak is best handled when one can use oars…. And following current reduces maneuverability further.
It was tight and Erling managed to get his right hand into a squeeze. It was almost limp when he got out. And remained so for the rest of the day.
A minor (and embarrassing) detail, but with interesting consequences: To keep paddling at reasonable speed, Erling corrected the weakness of the right arm by adjusting with his left. After 45 km of that, it was the left arm that was really hurting. Particularly the last 15 km.
This confirms two things we have learned:
First; with 7 hours and 40 plus km paddling per day, we are at about the intensity our bodies can support.
Second; it’s the last leg of the day when tired bodies struggle a little with smooth technique, that poses the main risk for injuries. (Plus thoughtless entries into tight steel pipes…)
Enough paddling trivia. It is not what we will remember the day for. Rather Stein’s thoughts this day were preoccupied with the loss of a respected friend and former colleague Bjørn Bjørnø, who lost his life in a parachuting accident on Sunday. He was 83 years old.
Stein has mentioned Bjørn Bjørnø to Erling many times, both as a brilliant soldier, and also as a role model of keeping active and young at heart into an old age. RIP.
Erling on his part had promised his father to paddle by Tostholm to pay respects to his father’s deceased friend Peter Flander. Peter and Erling’s father met relatively late in life. Still the friendship grew strong.
We found Tostholm and rested on our oars in silence for one minute, to pay respect to that good friendship.
We reflected a bit on this aspect of the day: When we are away for seven months, there will be times when we feel we are at the wrong place. Times when we feel the right place would be with our close ones. On the other hand, we also reflected on how lucky and privileged we are in that our closest family are in good health and in no immediate need of our support, so that we can paddle away on an adventure like this.
Long may this last.