Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A paddling week in Sweden

At the end of August I was invited by Mikael and Johan to hold courses on rescue and rolling in Sweden. Their Maremotu base is located in Billdal, a lovely small village south of Goteborg. Despite the season was at its end the weather was beautiful, with sunny days and agreable temperature. For me, coming from the 38°C of Sicily, it was a great relief to feel the 20°C of the Goteborg City airport.

The warm welcome of my guests' families was the one you can receive from old friends. I was like at home from the first instant and Mikael and Johan provided me fantastic paddling days despite a cold, a broken car (for the two of them), children at school and their own work as teachers.
The Billdal beach have a floating pier that is perfect for students to follow the explanation of the instructors in 1 meter deep water. Here, during the afternoon of the first day we did some exercise, to improve the greenland standard roll. Then a gorgeous dinner was ready at Mikael's home!

 In the following days we paddled around the lovely archipelago, rockhopping from an island to the other, crossing safely the short distances and leaded by Mikael and Johan that know this place like their own pockets.
The wildlife is wonderful, swans, sea gulls, herons, cormorants and seals were just some of our encounters. In some islands it is possible to camp and it was a shame that I did not have the time to stay longer.

 One day in the city and one morning bycicling around Billdal has been my only activity out of the water.
The last day we had a group of paddlers that followed a base course with rescues. It was a rainy day but we were into the water anyway, so nobody complained for the weather and all went well, including a delicious pasta cooked by Mikael under a large tree.
The last dinner, at Johan's home was nice and relaxing, and it was a bit heavy to say "ciao" and to leave on the next morning. 
We are now altogheter planning a paddling week around the archipelago for 2012, probably between June and July, so... stay tuned!