Day 84 – We have never before paddled so slow on this trip – 24 May

Day 84. Shlissel’burg to Kobana. 49 km, 6.6 km/hr average speed.
A long day that makes for a short update.

We left the Yacht club at 0920, and headed for the Oreshek fortress/prison island that lies in the middle of Neva just west of Shlissel’burg. It was a short but tough paddle, 6 m/s winds and strong current against us, and at times quite confused waters. We have never before paddled so slow on this trip.

According to legend, Oreshek was where Swedish Vikings first attempted to make a permanent settlement. The island has a very strategic position controlling the traffic on the river. It has been fought over many times over the centuries. The swedes controlled the island from 1611 to 1702, when Peter the Great retook it. It has been Russian/Soviet ever since, and withstood a 500 day siege by the Germans during WW2.

All of this and more we learnt from Andrey, a guide who volunteered to take us around the fortress including a (very steep) VIP tour up into the tower of the Fortress.

During peaceful times, the fortress served as a prison for the Tsar regime until the Russian revolution. Quite a few political prisoners were named with short biographies. An uncanny number of them survived prison, revolution and civil war, only to lose their lives during Stalin’s purges in the late 1930ies.

About 12 o’clock we paddled on, back across the Neva and into the Ladoga Canal. We could hear the waves break on the outside of the barriers, but on the inside it was flat water. As we left Shlissel’burg behind we paddled between wall of lush green.

We chose the Canal over Ladoga itself. Ladoga is infamous for its unpredictable winds and shifting weather, as well as its short wavelength breakers towards the southern shores. From the Oreshek fortress, we could verify that the bad reputation was well deserved. The first Ladoga Canal dates back to Peter the Great, built by Hannibal his Ethiopian General and nobleman, and great grandfather of Alexandr Pushkin.


Today’s Canal follows a parallel route and can accommodate ships up to maybe 100 feet. At least it can easily accommodate two kayaks.

We had an uneventful paddle, until we started to look for a place to pitch the tent. First the places where it was easy to get the kayaks on shore, was often so densely strewn with litter as to be uninviting. Second, it was difficult to find even ground, at least we rejected a couple of sites on that basis. Third, we would like some wind to keep the mosquitoes away.

As we kept looking a couple approached in a small boat. A very limited conversation followed. They were Pavel and Nina. And we thought they might have tried to recommend to search for accommodation in Kobana, 7 km further along.

We double checked with Mr. Google, using Erling’s Sony Xperia which has survived in the pocket of his PFD for 84 days. Not bad.

We found a canalside hotel, and then we called to ask for a room. Erling used his extremely limited Russian and combined with similarly limited English on the other end, the issue was settled. The age of the smartphone!

We got in after a brisk paddle, and we managed to negotiate some food as well even though the restaurant was closed. Turned out they just made two more portions of what was being prepared for the staff. Perfect.

Tomorrow we will head toward Nova Ladoga, but it is too far and some lucky swarms of mosquitoes will have a feast. We hope to be inside the tent by sunset…

The blogg will be updated with more pictures tomorrow.
Sorry, not the best wifi but we’ll keep trying… UPDATED May 25, 1445, May 26, 1200 May 26, 1500.

2 Thoughts

  1. Dere padler på som bare den! Apropos Ganibal, Pushkins anfader, har jeg litt morsom tilleggsinfo fra Wikipedia, siden han beblandet seg med både svensker, nordmenn og dansker ….


    “”Gannibal married twice. His first wife was Evdokia Dioper, a Greek woman. The couple married in 1731. Dioper despised her husband, whom she was forced to marry. The marriage between Dioper and Gannibal was very volatile and he suspected her of infidelity early in their marriage.[11] Gannibal’s suspicions were confirmed when Dioper gave birth to a white daughter.[4] When Gannibal found out that she had been unfaithful to him, he had her arrested and thrown into prison, where she spent eleven years.

    Gannibal began living with another woman, Christina Regina Siöberg (1705–1781), daughter of Mattias Johan Siöberg and wife Christina Elisabeth d’Albedyll, and married her bigamously in Reval, in 1736, a year after the birth of their first child and while he was still lawfully married to his first wife. His divorce from Dioper did not become final until 1753, upon which a fine and a penance were imposed on Gannibal, and Dioper was sent to a convent for the rest of her life. Gannibal’s second marriage was nevertheless deemed lawful after his divorce. Gannibal’s second marriage to Christina was much happier and he appreciated her fidelity and affection towards him.[4]

    On her paternal side, Gannibal’s second wife was descended from noble families in Scandinavia and Germany: Siöberg (Sweden), Galtung (Norway) and von Grabow (Denmark and Brandenburg).[1][12] Her paternal grandfather was Gustaf Siöberg, Rittmester til Estrup, who died in 1694, whose wife Clara Maria Lauritzdatter Galtung (ca. 1651–1698) was the daughter of Lauritz Lauritzson Galtung (ca. 1615–1661) and of Barbara Grabow til Pederstrup (1631–1696).[13]

    Abram Gannibal and Christine Regina Siöberg had ten children, including a son, Osip. Osip in turn would have a daughter, Nadezhda, the mother of Alexander Pushkin. Gannibal’s oldest son, Ivan, became an accomplished naval officer who helped found the city of Kherson in 1779 and attained the rank of general-in-chief, the second-highest military rank in imperial Russia.

    Some British aristocrats descend from Gannibal, including Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster and her sister, Alexandra Hamilton, Duchess of Abercorn. George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, is also a direct descendant, as the grandson of Nadejda Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven.[14][15]””


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