Right: Dave and I waring our "choobs"
The group started talking about finding a place to shore up so we could relax a bit and eat our lunch before finding a new island to set up camp. We found this quiet little cove, dotted with tiny islands. And on one of these islands sat a lone house. With a massive dock. It offered the perfect landing point. Before I knew it, we were moored and unpacking at the backdoor of some Swede's summer home. I didn't like it at all. I'm not a rule-breaker by nature. I dislike confrontation and follow the rules so as to not upset the invisible scales that will lead to some sort of conflict. Here we were basically tresspassing. But it was clear that this was what the group was going to do. So I just tried the best to shrink inside of myself while we ate lunch. Besides, it didn't look like anyone was home. Their dock was clear of any boats and most likely, the lucky bastards who owned this amazing property had gone for the summer, after only spending two weeks there. Not that I was jealous. We spread out on the dock and a few of the guys approached the house to see if anyone was home - it looked totally dark. The rest of us reached into our drybags to piece together a lunch. I tried to relax even though my chest tightened up a little every time a boat went whizzing past. After about a half an hour had passed I think the rest of the crew was feeling it too and we agreed to move on.
It was a sunny day and warm enough that some of us opted not to wear a rash vest or rain jacket under our life jackets. It was nearly a perfect day. But it was windy. And that made the water very turbulent. We found ourselves in very choppy water, but it happened quite subtlely - the waves getting a little stronger with each stroke. Kind of like heating up a frog in a frying pan. Before we knew it, we felt like we might as well be in the middle of the ocean, miles away from land. I was too scared to be sick. I've got to hand it to the designers of those sea kayaks, because despite the rough waters they remained pretty stable. It was almost too scary to process at the moment - all you know is that you have to keep paddling otherwise you may end up capsized and struggling. So we paddled. And paddled. Muscles burning. Feeling like you were going nowhere. It felt like we were stuck in some sort of vortex and would be there forever. But the islands seemed to be moving, so I knew we were making progress, albeit slow. Slowly I began to notice that there were people standing on top of the islands we were passing; they were gawking and pointing, talking to each other. I felt like we were on some sort of extreme sport show. It was pretty cool. I remember thinking how awesome that was, to be the subject of people's awe at they must have thought was stupidity. I've never been that sporty so this was a new feeling for me. And kind of gave me the gas to keep going. Finally, after what felt like hours, we found ourselves in the calm waters of a marina and paddling felt so easy and fluid. It was a gorgeous transition. We were back at the beach we'd visited just days before on the island of Lysekil. It was so nice to see some familiar terriroty. And then came one of those precious moments in life that give you a permanent grin. As we were unpacking our boats an older couple came up and were talking to Erica in Swedish. Turns out they'd been among the people watching us from the top of the island and they'd taken photos of us. Wicked! To be captured on camera by strangers while we were in the midst of our most terrifying paddle of the trip - acting the part of extreme kayakers - and photographic evidence to back it up. They took Erica's email address and promised to send her the pics when they got back from vacation. Mind you, I've yet to see the pics, but I know they're out there somewhere. And that's good enough.