söndag 13 oktober 2013

Day trip Falkenberg - it's my old hometown!

My wife went to Palma with some friends and the kids wanted to go to my parents in Falkenberg, so what to do? Put some kayaks on the car, never know whether the kids would like to join or not. To Falkenberg it is 1-hour-drive.
Arrived on Friday evening, Sweden vs Austria in the qualification round to the World Cup in Rio 2014. Since I am interested in Footyball as well, I wanted to Watch the game. I called a friend, Håkan Ödéhn, and we watched the game while talking about times passed over a couple of glasses of wine. Great evening, not only for the fact that our saviour Zzzzzzlatan Ibraaaaahimovic scored a decisive goal, but more for the chatting.

On Saturday morning I enjoyed a breakfast with mom, dad, and kids. Decided that I would launch at Strandbaden and my father drove me there and they would later in the afternoon come to Långasand, some 8 km further south from Skrea Strand.
"Bring some coffee and apple pie, I guess I'll need that then."

Strandbaden Hotel created good memories. A lot of fun has taken place there, good food has been eaten, dancing and laughter..."Those were the Days..." I Heard my mind saying. but after having considered this for 30 sec, well, Life is still good, even better. Same, same, but different.

My idea was to go into the harbour and up to Tullbron to see if it was possible to have some fun in Ätran, a river/Creek/brook. I have only been on the waters in Falkenberg's harbour once, then with a friend who had a sailing boat. I was 19 years then, but the memory brought me back to that day directly.
I paddled up along the pier. Strong easterly winds made it possible to feel some surf on my way out.

There are plenty of Wind Power stations in Falkenberg. On this particular one it tells me that I am in my old hometown, which feels good. The harbour, which nowadays is pretty lively, is welcoming but really quiet this wonderful October morning.
I saw some thieves taking some metals from those heaps. Since there were surveillance cameras I didn't bother to report.

The ship is called Prospero and has its base in Donsö

Good to see that they are based here as well.
I continued paddling and memories popped up all the time. It's not that I haven't been in my hometown recently but sitting in a kayak makes it possible to begrudge things for a longer time than I usually do. Getting closer and closer to the famous Tullbron (Toll Bridge) I had to pass a newer one that works for the traffic, pedestrains and cyclists and also pass the old Railway bridge. The remains of that bridge now consists of only the pillars.
Old Railway Bridge on which you also could bike and walk.

I had the wind in my face and the current from Ätran against me. but the colours on the trees, the familiar buildings and the memories made the paddle an easy one. I didn't really know what to expect from this day. I had a plan A, but also a plan B and felt comfortable with that since I always look upon things as if you have got a frame, a goal, you're freer to deviate from that. Heading up to Tullbron I had hoped to go through it, but since it was low water and I had chosen to paddle my Tahe Greenland T Aramid/Carbon, that was not an option any more. There was a current so I could play around a bit. I put my helmet on and just for the hell of it - rolled. Well, you never know when you will come back to Toll Bridge in a kayak.
Through one of the passages you can read "Falkenberg". That's Grand Hotel.
Thumps up for the roll, Kokatat Watersports and Falkenberg

I noticed that some people stopped while crossing the bridge, it was probably not a common sight here, even if there's a great tradition in Rowing. Some people went closer to where I had rolled and looked into the water as if they were expecting to see something down there. A treasure? I reassured them by saying that I was only playing and they burst out laughing! Said good-bye in the typical accent. Always feels so good to hear.

Time to go out to the sea again. On my way back I chose to paddle closer to the North pier of the harbour. It would feel more spectacular to go close to the big boats and buildings and since it was Saturday and no one seemed to be very busy working here, I thought that would be safe and sound.
My Joe O´Paddle pointing out the Rescue Zone...

Famous landmark in Falkenberg. This is where the crops go and stored to be shipped, I guess...
With the wind and current with me it didn't take long until I was out on the sea again. I decided to move along Skrea Beach and land on its most Southern Point at Neta's Berg, to have some lunch.
Sandwich and Waterbottle on the Rocks, please!

Hiberries, beach, kayak, sea, horizon at Neta's Berg, Skrea Beach
 Having paddled exactly 10km it felt good to land and have some snack. The wind was southeasterly which meant that it had been a bit of a work-out, good. I now made the decision to go directly to Långasand, a leg of approximately 8km and the wind against. I had planned to go out to an Island called Marsten, but chose not to do it now since my kids, my father and mother would meet me in Långasand with, hopefully, coffee and apple-pie... I called them and said when they could expect me to arrive.
Marsten at a distance. Sorry for the leaning sea.
Rocks at Grimsholmen

A bit of Rock Gardening at Grimsholmen
After 8 km with struggling it was great to see my son's welcoming smile. He had been looking for me, wondering where I was. He used the binoculars in order to spot me.
Teodor is there to meet me at Långasand
"Where have you been?" he asked.
"Well, took some photos, bit longer than I had expected, and especially the strong wind delayed my arrival."
"Give me the camera, I can take some photos when you roll and paddle to the beach."
I gave him my Pentax and thought, well, if my son says so.
Balance Brace and Marsten at a distance
Sometimes Life is upside down.

I paddled around the peninsula and found a nice little beach to land at. Teodor continued to take photos and I let him go with it. I think he managed quite well, 8 years old, to found some angles and perspectives. I now waited eagerly for the expected coffee and home made Apple Pie.
There they are. My SAAB with two more kayaks in case I would like another one on the way back.

Nice Place to land, small nice beach
On my way to land

Långasand is a really beautiful place, actually we have been looking for a house in wonderful surroundings here where it would be possible to run a kayakbusiness and keep our Icelandic horses.

Dad, I, my daughter, mom

If SAAB had existed as a Company this could have been a commercial.
The Company, the coffee and the Apple Pie were great. Full of energy it was time to launch again. I told them that I would go back to where I launched this morning, but on my way back I would explore a brook called Suseån.
Tahe Greenland T in front of Fisherman Ander's Boathouse
 I had covered 18 km so far and knew that I would be paddling approximately the same distance on my way back, including some 5-6 km in the Creek.
 The mouth of the brook and the first 100mtrs were promising. Interesting area and very wild.

Interesting raft. Two canoes are the foundation.
...and another one. Greenhouse meant for relaxing and with two Electric Engines! Behind you can spot a Trapper Kayak!

Felt like a real Trapper in a Greenland T and Neil Young's "Pocahontas" came to my mind

...paddles cut the Waters, in a long and hurried flight

Well, couldn't go longer because of the difference in height.

Rowanberries (Rönnbär in Swedish)

Time to go out on the sea again. Short break after 6km in the river.
That was a really nice paddle. It was a long time ago I paddled in similar Waters. When I was Young I used to go out fishing with my dad and uncle in lakes and creeks. So the trip made me remember some good fishing moments with them.
Time had now passed and the wind started to calm down, but there was still a pretty strong southeasterly, but this time I would gain from it since my paddle back was towards North.
"The getting older and older Man and the Sea"

Nice rocks on my way back. Ringsegård
I started to feel the tough paddling against the wind and it was nice to see Strandbaden. I also passed another place, then called Cabaret, to which we used to pay visits to when out having fun in the young wild Days.
We´re close friends now, it passed the test for a long paddle as well.

Including playing, rolling, photos, breaks on the water, reflecting upon memories: 34.10km and on the sea for almost 6 hours. Garmin always tell you the truth.

I called Dad and was picked up. Loaded the kayak on the car and Went back to their home where the kids were a-waiting and a Lovely dinner consisting of Barbecued meat, poatatoes from their garden, fresh tomatoes, beans and lettuce from their greenhouse, and all this went down with a Beer made at the local brewery, Carlsberg (earlier, in the so called, those were the Days, Falcon).
A Day very well taken care of. Next time I go to Marsten and bring my family into the river, and perhaps I will paddle a PE kayak in order to dare paddling over rocks and stones. Arrivederci Falkenberg.
Text: Mikael Svalstrand, Sea Kayak Billdal, www.kajakkurser.se, www.facebook.com/SeaKayakBilldal, http://svalstrand.blogspot.com
Photos: Mikael and Teodor Svalstrand

söndag 9 december 2012

Santa Lucia paddling Dec 2012

Santa Lucia paddling Dec 2012

For the third time we were some paddlers who went out to honour Santa Lucia, the famous saint from Siracusa, Sicily. This year we had to undertake this paddling as early as 8 Dec due to different circumstances. It turned out to be a good idea since the weather was absolutely fantastic.
Myorcha on my Over-line Aretusa
Tahe and Over-line kayaks
  I had to take the trailer down to Killingsholmen this year where the participants were told to gather. There was no wind to talk about and even if the temperature was around 8 degrees below zero, I  assured everyone that they shouldn't be worried about getting cold today...

Grefab Marina, Killingsholmen

Martin about to launch
     Since there was ice at Billdalsbadet where I normally launch we had to go to Grefab Marina where they have hoses on the bottom which delays the ice.
We were now gathered and ready to go out. The plan was to paddle for approximately an hour, have a break for some coffee, glögg, ginger cookies, and singing!
Richard seems to enjoy it

Is this really true? Göran (Green kayak) is reflecting on Life when it is at its best?
               The snow that had fallen and managed to stay on the rocky islets, due to cold temperatures lately, created a rather surreal feeling for all of us. One of the paddlers had been in Svalbard this summer and got a dejà vú.  Now he was paddling outside Billdal with another Sval...Svalstrand :-)
Mats, Fredrik and Richard on their way
 After just a few minutes everyone felt nice and warm, even having thoughts about whether he shouldn't have out on that many layers of clothes. We aimed for Lilla Lövö.

After having paddled for a while, stopping now and then just in order to say that "this is great", "beauuuutiful", "fantastic", and using all kinds of expressions to explain or feelings.

Myorcha guides and protects us
We let our paddles into the waters and I would say that at those particular moments when nothing else matters than the PRESENT we experience nature and its magnificience in overwhelming magnitudes of pure fascination and feelings of being ONE. Everything is connected.
Three paddlers
The Svalbard Man
Martin and Peter coming out from the "lagoon" at Stora Lövö
Mats passing between rocks
It's easy to forget about time when having such a great time together, but one aim of this trip is to have some glögg and sing a song. So, let's go on with some more paddling...
Göran B
East side, the sun doesn't reach us here
Time to land. We chose a good spot for that. We wanted to stay in the sun, otherwise it would get a bit nippy. It was easy to land. Once I had landed I could pull the other kayaks up on the ice and thin surface of snow/ice on the rocks. A new drink perhaps, Kayak on the Rocks, please!
Thanks again, Giuseppe, for the Aretusa
We all want our pictures
Had to hold the kayaks, Slippery when ice.
Well, we'd better prepare for this year's performance. Assume your positions. Clean your throats with some glögg and ginger cookies. Time is about to come.
"The Glögg was good, the fudge too"

Yes, that's me. Dressed for success. Thumbs up, Like (nowadays)...
The story about the singing is that we did it last year too. Then it was recognised by one of the leading magazines so then we thought that it could be nice to repeat it. The song is performed in Italian (at least we hope it sounds a bit like it). We do apologise if our pronunciation of certain words isn't 100% correct. We also took the liberty to change the lyrics from "Napoli" to "Billdal" and I hope we're excused for that. The link is as follows: https://www.youtube.com/link_gplus?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmy_videos_upload
We have to admit that it might not win any awards...
Time to launch. It was possible to slide into the water
The sun is about to set
After a while without exercising too much you need to get warm again. We went for another hour of paddling before aiming back to the beginning. Some photos:
Martin in one of my Tahe Greenlands
Getting dark. Killingsholmen at 4PM
Göran and Fredrik have landed.
It had been a great time out there and for some of the paddlers this was a totally new experience. We all felt comfortable and happy with three hours out on the sea. This has now become a tradition.
"Natten går tunga.......Santa Lucia Saaaaaaantaaaaaaa Luuuuuucia".
Merry Christmas and do not complain about darkness, let there be light instead!
/Mikael, Sea Kayak Billdal