Day 75. 15th of May. Yacht Club Terijoki (Zelenogorsk) to St Petersburg. 45.2 km 6.3 km/hr average speed.
Since this update is written in an open air Cafe on the opposite bank of River Neva from the Winter Palace, it is safe to conclude that stage three of the trip has come to an end; we are in St Petersburg.
Another summer day, with hardly any wind. Sea like a mirror. People on the beaches all along the route. Our main challenge was to drink enough, as it gets quite warm inside the pfd (redningsvest). We had a good night’s sleep on the floor of a boat hangar. Where we felt in our element (as opposed to fish on land).
We paddled out at about 0920. We could see scattered black dots across the sea. It was mostly fishermen in small inflatable craft. When it was not fishermen, it was rapakivi boulders. We had to negotiate several shallows that stretched far offshore. The remains of moraine ridges. We learnt as a rule of thumb that when the sea birds appear to be standing on the water rather than floating, then it is too shallow even for a kayak. We painted some white on several boulders today as well and as usual.
Back to the fisheries. It appears to us that there are more fish and less birds here than in Finland and Sweden. We’ve seen and heard the splash from some sizeable fish. And it was just a couple of comorants today. A grand total of five swans in Russia, also today. We saw one seal. Dead and anchored to the bottom with hemp rope. We also saw some nets apparently floating with literally hundreds of plastic bottles to keep them up. Maybe there is a connection to the seal. We suspect that both the rules and practice in handling of wildlife is different here than in Scandinavia.
Anyway, the Paddling was fast in open waters but average speed slowed down by shallows and some mismatch between map and terrain.
Still we arrived at St Petersburg Central River Yacht Club at 1800, and Vladimir was waiting for us and showing us where to land.
It is a very well kept Yacht Club dating back to 1860, with a purpose of educating young people to sail. And a lot of small craft with kids at the helm were sailing around the club as we approached.
We get to store the kayaks in the boat hall, and a separate room to store our stuff. Excellent solution. Tomorrow we will go over the boats and check for “rapakivi” damage. And we will sit down with Vladimir to discuss our next stage through the interior waterways.
We got a taste of the Neva river as we paddled into the Yacht club. Speed came down from 7 km/hr to about 4.5 km/hr. So we plan for three days (hard) paddling to cover the 75 km length of the Neva. But first rest and tourism in St Petersburg.