HAVSPADDLARNAS BLÅ BAND (The sea paddlers Blue Ribbon

In 1996 HBB was running for the fifth year. Nine paddlers had fulfilled certified tours along the entire Swedish coast from the Norwegian border to landmark 59 just south of Haparanda. Ove Emauelsson had in 1955 trimmed my record of 43 days by two down to 41 by paddling 2.304 kilometres with an average of 56.195 kilometres.

The story from my first paddling ends with the sentence " And inside me I know - I would like doing this again". And now it was the time. The whole winter I had been preparing myself. I would once more paddle the Swedish coast and I would aim at a new record. At last I pushed out my fully loaded kayak from the old ferry berth under the high bridge over Svinesund. It was 10 seconds past midnight May 28 and 29.

I was on my way again.

In the darkness of the night my old reinforced Icefloe ploughed deep in the water. Food, outfit and kayak weighed together 156.7 kilos. With my own bodyweight of 67 the total was 223.7 kilos this in the beginning of the tour before I have had time to eat myself into the kayak. I felt rich. With all that food on board I wouldn't need thinking of provisioning within the foreseeable future.

Along the rocky coast down towards Strömstad the waves bounced out from the steep cliffs, which only slightly were in sight in the spring night. At about six in the morning the head wind and sea increased. Soon the circumstances became so troublesome that I searched shelter in a bight at North Öddö, pitched my tent, had a bite and crept down into the sleeping bag. After six hours of paddling I was held back by the wind. Not exactly a good start for an attempt of a new record. But it pleased me to hear the first cuckoo calls this spring from inside the island.

After a few hours of sleep the flutter in the tent decreased, the breakers decreased and the sun came trough. A rapid "Clear ship" and off I went. Passed the notorious and legendary Tjurepannan and by that taking the lead in the run compared to my HBB-tour 1991, when I the first day pitched a camp already before this by seafarer feared passage. It became over all very inspiring to have the schedule from -91 to paddle on.

But then on my forth day I was forced by headwind at 12 kilometres per second (Beaufort 6) to pitch camp on the bare and flat Småbräkorna outside Särö. I blessed my new small tunnel tent that first was secured to the rocks and then raised without difficulties despite the strong wind. But I fell back in my schedule.

The following day I paddled with great effort 51 kilometres in good wind from southeast to Bondaholmen north of Varberg. While cooking, a crackling weather forecast promised slow wind for tomorrow and there after increasing. "A pity I haven't reached Laholmsbukten", I thought, "perfect weather for crossing." This was hardly thought before I got an idea that grew and became a ripe decision; with an early start I should try to reach Laholmsbukten and get a chance to make the crossing to Hallands Väderö before the weather got worse.

After about an hour in the sleeping bag I rapidly packed my things and at 01.40 prevailed "Ship clear". I calculated the distance to be just over 90 kilometres. 19 hours and a half later I disembarked at Hallands Väderö, Rested 4 hours, paddled straight across Skälderviken towards Kullen in increasing head wind in to Öresund and finished the seventh day at Borstahusen, one day earlier than in 1991.

This rush across wide waters came to be decisive to make this record try to turn out well. Under more normal daily distances I wouldn't have had the time to cross the large bights before the winds increased and had been stuck to wrong side.

With stubborn paddling I rounded the coast along Skåne and Blekinge with long days in the kayak and increased my daily average to 60 kilometres per day. I was now three days ahead of the scheme from 1991. During ten seconds every second day I kept contact with Gun at home by my mobile phone. The battery lasted the whole time without recharge.

On day 13 03.05 I left my camp at Dunsö south of Ronneby. It was that dark and foggy that I couldn't sight my on deck-mounted compass. I de-mounted it and held it in my left hand as I paddled and checked my course every time my hand with compass and watch swept by in eye-level. In this way I am navigating with accuracy until dawn when the fog was replaced by thunder and cloudburst in the archipelago at Karlskrona and afterwards rounded Torhamn's cape and entered Kalmar sound.

Now followed a serene tour where my body physically worked as an engine in the kayak whilst soul and sense were out on their own long tours forward and backward in time and enjoyed this way of travelling. As a simple unit in sea and nature my craft coursed constantly north. I thought the sea birds talked with me out there on the water, the trees whispered to me as I quietly pitched my camp. Naturalness in and the assurance of that all my tours will come to an end, seem to give me a wider capability to see and enjoy not only the nice sceneries around me, but also things beyond my field of sight. I seem to be encapsulated in an almost holy loneliness out here on the water. Towns, villages, human beings were there in on land. I didn't look them up, all they that have a meaning or importance to me are always within me. All other things I'd like escaping from. To me this is a major part of the residue in paddling alone.

In one long paddling-inebriation the archipelago of Stockholm was passed, the bight at Gävle, Hornslandet and on day 31 I pitched camp at Björkåsskäret south of Bjuröklubb and was now seven days ahead compared to -91. The body felt strong and the intention still running, but still some gales with head winds could cheat me in my record-try, which I undoubtedly eagerly would like to conquer. But at day 32 and 33 I managed to paddle 84 and 82 kilometres. Now 107 kilometres remain. Should I manage this in one day and get a record of 34 days? No, my strength didn't last, a strong northeasterly wind burned out my strength in 55 kilometres, I went into shielded area, had a big meal, closed my eyes and slept for two hours.

At 23.45, consequently a quarter before midnight to last paddling-day, I started to paddle the remaining 52 kilometres of this my second HBB-tour. The current in Torne river slows down my approach, but I soon landed at the familiar small sandy beach at Virtakari cape and walked the few steps up to the landmark 59 and placed my hand on the it. The time was 16.30 in day 35. I had reached my goals, the tour was ended.

My new record of 35 days (2252 kilometers daily average 64,343 kilometers) didn't last long. In 1997 Jan Andersson and Lars Brindt paddled the distance in 32 days (2.180 kilometres, daily average 68.125 kilometres). In 1998 I made three unsuccessfully tries to take back the record. (all were abandoned) In 1999 I started my third fulfilled HBB-paddling.

(a webmaster translation)

Other stories written by Jim Danielsson from his HBB-paddling in year — 1991, 1999, 2004, 2009 or 2014