Day 82. 22nd of May. Rybatskoye yacht club to Kuz’minka a couple of kilometers above the Ivanskoye rapids. 26.2 km 5.2 km/hr average speed.
We took our time this morning and did not bid farewell to Valentin and his staff and paddle off until 11 o’clock.
Stein in particular noticed that the stretches we paddled on peak intensity took their toll on his arms. Health first and easy does it.
Once we were on the water, we followed the same procedure as yesterday: Keep extremely close to the riverbanks. This resulted on some intense communication with some of the many fishermen along the river. But nothing unpleasant. (And yes fishermen, only one fisherwomen observer to more than a hundred men.)
The paddling tactic served us well. We made good speed to our first break at the site of the battle of the River Neva, won by Alexander Nevsky in 1240. A curious thing about that battle, is that it is only mentioned in Russian sources. Nothing from Sweden, the adversary. But no one on likes to describe a defeat.
When it and Alexander Nevsky got such a central position in Russian history, it may be because it was the first significant military victory by Russian forces since they were over run and conquered by the Mongol “Golden Horde” just a few years earlier.
While Alexander Nevsky was a great military leader and won significant battles against western adversaries, he knew better than take on the Mongols. Russia paid tax to the descendants of Djengis Khan for 240 more years.
A church has been built on the site, and it is still there, renovated or almost new built after it was in total ruins after the war and soviet neglect.
We walked around in the graveyard and met Irina and her school class. We struggled with language, but Svetlana’s small articles from Primorsk is a great asset we can show people on our phones. (Link to her second piece at the end of this update).
We paddled on and took one more break before the infamous Ivanskoye rapids. Where the Neva is at its shallowest and narrowest.
We had been giving these rapids quite a bit of thought. If the water flows faster than we can paddle, we have a problem. In the end it was really hard work, but we can handle a bit more if we must. Hopefully not though. And even here it may be easier at another time, since the water level above the apids is at least about 50 cm above normal. Erling had a nice theory that the rapids would slow the flow upstream, unfortunately that turned out to be nonsense.
We struggled a bit to find a place to pitch the tent. Too much money around here maybe? But at our third attempt, we found a group of ordinary datchas. And the hospitality we have become almost accustomed to was there, and we were welcome to pitch the tent.
Tomorrow the last 22 or so kilometers to Shlisselburg and the beginning of river Neva, which means the end of Neva for us.
A Svetlana’s second piece: